Yesterday as planned Keith and I went out in the snow to The Wharf Inn for our Sunday lunch,we only had to walk about 50 paces and then we were in the pub with a roaring log fire and not another customer to be seen, having got a pint each we sat down to lunch, Keith had roast beef and I had honey roast ham both were very scrummy, we even managed a pudding each, Keith had his all time favourite sticky toffee pudding and I went for the chocolate fudge cake with cream mmmmmm. We were booked in for lunch at 12.30pm and did not actually leave the pub until 3.45pm, having got nattering to other boaters and locals. We spent a very pleasant time talking about all things boaty and in general. The snow fell all day and into the evening, even when I opened the back cabin door to empty the ash pan at 8pm it was still snowing and we had gained a rather smashed up vehicle at the rubbish bins.
The lady driving the 4 wheel drive had lost control up the road, hit a tree and a 30mph sign, thankfully she was unhurt but shaken up. Makes me thankful that we no longer have a car and I cannot drive.
This morning we were awake early and the usual cuppa was had in bed whilst we chatted about what we planned to do for the day. I wanted to get coal in, Keith was going to monitor the batteries again and if I could I wanted to top the water tank up.
With the snow we had yesterday, we now have several inches laying on the ground and whilst it looks stunning, it is making life difficult for those trying to get around in it. We on the other hand are well prepared for this weather, we have a full diesel tank, we have plenty of coal on board, we have emergency food rations, should we run out after our Tesco delivery, although here there is a very good village store. So often we hear of people being stranded in the middle of no where with very little on board ie: diesel, food, coal, wood and water and struggling with the conditions. To liveaboard and continuously cruise you do have to forward plan, by keeping an eye on the forecast, making sure supplies on board are kept topped up and if possible be close to somewhere so you can empty the toilet, get water etc, otherwise the sort of conditions we are experiencing right now can be very hard. Emptying the toilet does not have to be a major chore if stuck, if you have a porta-loo, you just need to carry a shovel. If you have a pump-out then have a spare porta-loo for back up and a shovel. So many pump-out boats get caught out and there is no need. We have known people abandoning their boats because they cannot cope with the conditions and so head off to family or hotels etc. It is easy to rely on the coal and diesel boats which travel around the system, but if the conditions are so bad like now, they cannot be expected to venture out. I know a couple of them do go out in 4 wheel drive vehicles to supply some of their customers, but we should all remember they are putting their own lives in danger to keep boaters warm and topped up. When in need it is so easy to take others safety for granted. Already this morning we have offered assistance to a fellow boater and his wife, who are running short on water and cannot get to the taps due to the canal being frozen, we carry two large water canisters for such a situation and will be filling them up and wheeling them to the couples boat, so they have water. Boating is all about taking the rough with the smooth, sunshine with the snow and I would not have it any other way.
Having walked Paddy, eaten breakfast and donned warm clothing, Keith cleared the snow off the sheeting and the gunwale so I could climb into the hold to get coal and wood for both fires. I then got the hosepipe out, but having left it in the hold, it was frozen so no chance of using it for a while, so I stood it in the shower to defrost, Imanaged to fill the water tank before lunch, but note to self keep the hosepipe in the engine room for the time being. I normally keep it inside when the weather is freezing, but for some reason I forgot, it must be my age ha ha ha. We were not desperate for water, we had another weeks worth of water, but whilst their is a lull in the weather it is worth topping up. Keith got on with monitoring the batteries with the generator on. It is all a little over my head so I am leaving it to him. But something tells me that either the new batteries are struggling due to the cold or we have an issue with our inverter charger. Oh well just another thing to work through as you do when on a boat. After lunch, I chopped up some of the wood for kindling, so I have it ready for tomorrow morning and the relighting of the back cabin stove, I then turned my attention to making a curry for dinner, which spent the afternoon simmering slowly in the back cabin oven, the smell was devine. As the day wears on there has been a steady stream of boaters walking to the water point to fill vessels with water, just in case the taps freeze again tonight with the temperature expected to be below –6 c.
Well time to put my feet up and watch a movie before it is time to feed mog, dog and ourselves.
Remember to stay safe out there.