Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Our first liveaboard Christmas - a very noisy "quiet Christmas"

Our first Christmas on Ravensdale

In many ways, our first Christmas on Ravensdale was just the way I like Christmases to be – very quiet. But in others it was probably the noisiest festive season I have ever experienced...

Our star and Christmas tree are visible from outside

We had no real plans, except that we would have Christmas dinner at some stage on December 25. Beyond that, we decided to do what we wanted when we wanted and have a nice, quiet relaxing time.

But we hadn’t reckoned on Storm Barbara.

She began to make her presence known on Christmas Eve Eve (Friday December 23) and continued well into Christmas Day.

The gales wailing around the marina causing the yachts to sing in the wind provided an unusual musical accompaniment to the festive season and, at times, I was convinced I could hear the sound of Christmas bells playing in the background :-)

Some of our Christmas cards against the backdrop of the marina wall at low water

Our tiny 3ft tree

Ravensdale rocked as much as her mooring ropes would allow and at times the wind was so strong that marina staff were unable to come down onto the pontoons due to safety regulations. But Dex still had to go out for regular walks. These were very wet and windy outings, but still enjoyable when wrapped up against the weather.

So, other than the crazy noise outside the boat and the rocking we experienced while inside, Christmas went very much as we had hoped.

With a bit of careful planning beforehand, we managed to cook a full Christmas dinner with all the trimmings in our little gas oven, ate too much and generally chilled out in our new home.

Our Christmas lights proved to be a local attraction

The 800 colourful lights on the outside of the boat proved a big hit in the run up to Christmas – so much so that we were told one of the local taxi firms, which runs festive lights trips, included Ravensdale in its itinerary this year, which we found highly amusing J

Unsurprisingly, not too many people turned out to see the lights during the storm, but we took a trip over to Maryport beach on Christmas Eve, which is on the opposite side of the marina to our mooring and just around the headland, to see what it was doing to the sea.

Storm Barbara whipped up the waves on Maryport beach

Dex's first Christmas as a sea dog

And we were glad we did as the massive waves lashing the pier and the lighthouse were an impressive sight.

As I write this, the wind has gone, the sun is shining on the marina and, at 7.2C, it is pretty mild for the time of year, but I’m sure winter has plenty of cold, wet and wild weather in store for us before it is over.
One thing is for certain, Dex really doesn't seem to care what the weather is doing outside as long as he can curl up in the warm with a cushion or two - and he's not the only one :-)
However much the boat rocks and the wind wails, he sleeps through the night and doesn't make a sound until we get up, whatever time that might be.
We are really hoping that by the time we get to take Ravensdale out to sea next year, he will be so used to the motion of the boat that he will not be bothered by it at all.

Friday, 23 December 2016

A surprise Christmas present for Ravensdale

Our sitting room became a workshop

I really thought we’d got the boat all ready for Christmas, but it seems I was wrong...

Ever since we moved on board, we’ve been trying to get someone to service Ravensdale’s two 300hp Volvo Penta engines and, just when we thought there was no way it was going to happen before Christmas, the boat yard said they were coming down to carry out the work.

So, yesterday morning, we carried the unfitted furniture from the sitting room down into the main cabin, lifted the carpet and took up the section of floor we’d previously lifted for Phil to tackle the heating problem.

Two guys from MPM, the boat yard next to the marina at Maryport, then turned up with a trolley load of oil, filters, anti-freeze, and all the tools they needed to carry out the service.

It soon became obvious that the pair - rather confusingly both called John - would also need the other side of the floor lifted to reach the second engine.

Initially it seemed this could be difficult as the boarding we needed to remove disappeared under the seating. However, the relevant section of seating was easily removed so they could get down into the engine room.

In a matter of minutes, the room was totally transformed from its usual tidy state, with a few festive trimmings, to a workshop and I was on coffee-making duties for the next few hours.

One of the Johns in the tiny space between the heater and the port engine

Dex wasn’t too sure about strange people coming in and turning his home upside down.

He seemed to think it was all a game – like everything else in his life – and was keen to join in so he had to be clipped to a long lead attached to the base of the dining room table.
This enabled him to get just far enough to see what was going on without getting in the way or falling down the holes into the engine room below.

All went to plan (except for a screw that sheared off and will have to be replaced before we can move the boat) and the two Johns finished in time to get to their work Christmas party.

The good news is that, as soon as we’re ready to head off on our travels next year, we will now be able to do so as our insurance company insisted the service was carried out before we took Ravensdale out to sea.

Meanwhile, the previous night, the sitting room was plunged into darkness (except for the Christmas lights) when the second 24V light bulb in the room blew and we had so far been unable to find any spares locally.

I wasn’t too worried about whether we got this problem sorted before Christmas as I was
going to put up more Christmas lights inside to provide a bit more light, but we managed to find an electrical supplier in Maryport with just three 24V bulbs, which fortunately turned out to be exactly the ones we needed - so we now have one spare J

And order has been restored ready for our first Christmas on board.

One of Phil’s jobs for the New Year will be to replace the crazy mixture of 12V, 24V and 240V lights on the boat with LED light fittings.

We have also put our names down for a radio operator’s course that the marina is hoping to organise here if enough people are interested.

And we are both going to do the Day Skipper course with Keith Morgans at Whitehaven Marina starting asap in January.

There are a few more things we want to get sorted on the boat, then we will be ready to set off on our nautical adventure next spring/summer...

Dex was very happy when the seating was replaced and he could get back to his favourite spot

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Looking forward to our first Christmas on Ravensdale

Ravensdale decked out for Christmas

This Christmas is definitely going to be different for us.

And if the weather forecasters are correct we are quite literally going to be rocking around the Christmas tree J

We considered booking into a hotel for the festive season, as we have done on a number of occasions in the past, but decided we really wanted to spend the first Christmas since moving onto Ravensdale on board.

Neither the prospect of cooking Christmas dinner in a tiny gas oven nor the forecast of 70mph winds on Christmas Day have managed to put us off.

We even decided to stay put when it looked as though we could have been without our heating system over the festive season.

However, we’re now hoping Phil has rectified the heating problem as it has been running fine since he went down into the engine room and straightened out the outlet pipe from the heater. So we should be lovely and warm for the celebrations.

The new name plates have been fixed on both sides of the boat

We have also put up the new name plates we had made for the boat once we had registered her on the Small Ships Register and received our registration number.

Choosing a name for our new home proved incredibly difficult as it would also be our address.

After compiling a list of around 50 possible names, a neighbour suggested Ravensdale as we were then living in Ravensdale Court, Corpach, and it was the first name we both liked so Ravensdale seemed the obvious choice.

And, at long last, we have got around to putting up the Christmas lights on the outside of the boat.

We have previously only put up warm white lights at Christmas, but decided a white (OK, whitish) boat called for something a bit more colourful so we went to B&Q and bought two sets of 400 flashing, multi-coloured lights.

Armed with a pack of cable ties, we attached one set to the rail around the bow and port and starboard sides. The other set creates a canopy of lights over the aft deck.

I was like a kid in a sweetshop when we turned the lights on and I totally love being able to see the boat flashing like a beacon to welcome us home when I take Dex out for a walk in the dark.

They also seem to be attracting the attention of passers-by who stop to take photos and some have brought their children along to see the lights.

I tried to take some photos of the lights in the dark. They haven’t come out very well, but thought I would share them anyway as they may be poor quality, but they still make me smile J

Finding room for more decorations inside the boat was more difficult as the main cabin is surrounded by windows.

The end of a tiring day!

I got out the boxes of decorations from previous years, but most have had to be repacked due to lack of space and we have had to settle for a three-foot fibre optic Christmas tree, a lighted rattan star, our Christmas cards, a few baubles and a table decoration.
I also swapped some of the pale grey cushions in the main cabin for large red ones to give it a more festive feel.

All the decorating proved a tiring business and Phil and Dex fell asleep in front of the TV.
Talking of sleeping, I don’t know whether it’s the sea air or not going to work, but I seem to be sleeping much better now than I have in years – especially since the arrival of the new mattress J

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Greetings from Ravensdale! – at long last we have wifi on the boat

Dex helping me write my blog

Some of our main bugbears since we moved onto the boat six weeks ago have been the lack of wifi on board, problems with the TV reception and a very hard and uncomfortable bed - all of which have been resolved in the last few days.

So for the first time, I am able to write my blog on Ravensdale with Dex by my side. He’s being a big help, as you can see J

The marina has put in a new wifi system and it seems to be working, even at low water when we disappear down behind the wall to the marina basin.

Phil has also put in a new co-ax cable for the TV and we can now get all the channels on Freeview regardless of the water level, even though at low tide the TV aerial points straight into the wall. We have no idea how we're getting such good TV reception at low water, but we're very happy that we are J

Dex was unimpressed by both these improvements.

However, he seemed a lot more interested when our new mattress from arrived on Friday -

The hard, old mattress

It is made of CoolBlue Memory Foam, which is supposed to overcome the overheating problems normally associated with memory foam.

The foam was cut to size using a template we supplied of our island bed, which is the width of a standard double bed at the top but tapers away on both sides to a narrower curve at the bottom end. The foam was then encased in a custom-made zip-off quilted cover.

The thick, new mattress that is oh so comfy

It came rolled up in a box, which enabled us to get it on the boat and down into the master cabin.

When it was released, we were amazed to discover it was a perfect fit and it quickly swelled up to the eight inch thickness we had ordered.
The old mattress was very thin (no more than about four inches) and very hard so the new one is pure luxury.

Dex would love to try it out, but he is not going to get the chance. The bedroom is the one part of the boat from which he is banned.

Meanwhile, we have been experiencing intermittent problems with our Eberspacher heating system. Most of the time it worked fine and kept the boat lovely and warm, but it suddenly started cutting out and refusing to go.

Phil inspected the heater, which is behind one of the two 300hp engines in the engine room, and we made a few inquiries about the likely cause of this problem. Those who know more about these things than we do thought it could be caused by one of the concertina heat outlet pipes having been squashed at some stage.

Phil repairing the heating system

There was insufficient room to get around the engine to reach the heater so Phil lifted the carpet and floor in the main cabin and went in from above. He disconnected the relevant pipe, pushed his arm into it to open it up and reconnected it.

It has been working fine ever since, so fingers crossed that was the problem and the heating won’t cut out on us again - especially over Christmas.

So all in all, there have been some massive improvements on the boat this week.

However, with all these things going on, together with regular dog walks, etc., we have not yet had time to put up the rest of the Christmas decorations so that’s my plan for tomorrow...

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Happiness is a warm, dry bed!

Water definitely belongs on the outside of a boat

Much as I like living on the water, I really don’t want to sleep in it.

One of the main problems we discovered soon after moving on-board Ravensdale was a damp bed (not what you’re thinking J – unless you’ve spent any time on a boat, in which case it’s probably exactly what you’re thinking)

We found that the cold water tank beneath the bed was causing terrible condensation under the mattress, which was getting soaking wet so we had to strip the bed, tip the mattress on its side and put the dehumidifier on full power every day to dry it. This also meant we were using more electricity than planned.

An off-cut of the Dry-Mat that is now under the mattress

Fiona at Maiden Marine chandlery in Whitehaven recommended a product called Dry-Mat. We were told that this anti-condensation underlay, which is only about 1cm thick, allows air to circulate under the mattress, thus preventing damp, mould and mildew.

We ordered some, cut it to fit and the result has been amazing – so much so that we checked it every day for the first few days expecting to find it hadn’t worked. Thankfully it has worked brilliantly.

The bed in the main cabin

And putting the dehumidifier on in the bedroom for an hour or so each day seems to keep the rest of the moisture at bay.

Our Christmas present to ourselves is going to be a new mattress. The one on the boat is probably as old as the boat itself and is so hard that it’s like sleeping on the floor. Anyone who has ever slept on a cheap sofa bed, marked “for occasional use only” will know what I mean here.

Anyway, we made a template of the bed, which is double bed width at the top and slopes away on each side making it narrower at the bottom, and we have now ordered a custom-made mattress.

The company has said it will pull out all the stops to get it to us before December 25 so we will have it in time for our first Christmas on the boat.

And if that’s all I get for Christmas this year I will be very happy (Just hope Phil doesn’t read this bit J)

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Blogging blues fail to dampen the Christmas spirit

The Christmas tree in the customer lounge at Maryport Marina

I had intended to post much more regularly, but the wifi problem in the marina has not yet been resolved so we still have to go to the customer lounge to get an internet connection. This is very frustrating as everything else about the marina here at Maryport is brilliant.
However, there is now a Christmas tree in the customer lounge, which is making me feel really Christmassy, so much so that I've already put up a small fibre optic Christmas tree on Ravensdale, much earlier than I would have put up any decorations in previous years. Must dig out the rest of the decorations and get them up asap. 

A really bad pic of Ravensdale taken on my mobile phone in the dark, but at least it shows our little Christmas tree

Anyway, we're settling in well. The boat already feels like home and Dex seems more at home here than he ever was in our house in Corpach.
He is getting much better on the lead, especially when meeting people and other dogs, and loves running on the beach and playing in the sea.

Dex's first trip to Maryport beach

Dex is also very relaxed on board. Even the rocking caused by high winds and the sea swell doesn’t seem to bother him at all so I guess he’s becoming a real “sea dog” now :-)

Dex resting after his run on the beach

I enjoy the rocking motion too, especially while we were watching an old naval war film the other day. It was rather like watching TV in 4D :-)
It’s also very comforting being rocked to sleep in a nice, warm bed while listening to the weather raging outside.
A new electric blanket and a good heating system mean we are every bit as warm here as in any of the houses we have owned – and a lot warmer than in some of them!

Sunset over Maryport Marina

On the whole, the weather has been fabulous since we moved in just over a month ago – wall-to-wall sunshine and some really beautiful sunsets.
However, it’s been pretty cold at times. The coldest temperature we’ve recorded so far was -6C one morning last week.
Until the last couple of days, we had a few windy days, but it has been mostly dry and sunny, with only the odd wet day – very different to what we were used to in Fort William.
However, we’ve had a bit of rain this week, but I now have a new jacket from the Maiden Marine chandlery at Whitehaven Marina that keeps me dry and cosy so I’m still happy doing things on the boat and taking Dex out for walks whatever the weather – it certainly beats working for a living :-)
And it's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas...

Monday, 21 November 2016

Wet and windy outside - warm and dry inside

A different view of our new home before the weather changed

It’s been freezing cold the last couple of mornings. Yesterday morning the pontoons were really slippery first thing, but the marina staff kindly salted them to make them safe to use and they had done it before we even got up this morning.

It was so cold this morning that the water in the marina froze over in places, so I was very thankful that the thermal base layer I bought for the mountains in Lochaber was in the last lot of stuff we retrieved from storage.

The thermal undies, two further layers, a woolly hat and a waterproof jacket have kept me warm and dry while out and about today. In fact, the only part of me that was cold was my hands when we swapped old worn ropes for the new ones we collected from the chandlery at Whitehaven at the weekend and doubled up some of the ropes ready for the strong winds expected overnight and into tomorrow.

And the best bit is that the boat is always cosy and warm. The heating system is incredibly efficient so once tucked up inside, it really doesn’t matter what the weather is doing outside, except for the crazy rocking in high winds, but that’s all part of the fun.

Thought you might like to see the inside of our new home so I've pasted a selection of interior shots below. 

The previous owners had obviously taken good care of Ravensdale (or Candlelight as she was then called) and that was a big part of our decision to buy her.

However, the pale grey colour scheme is a bit cold-looking for my liking now we’re living on board so I’m planning to introduce a bit of colour very soon...


The main cabin looking towards the entrance and master cabin


The galley with gas cooker, microwave, fridge and freezer

Circular dining table with semi-circular seating area that turns into a double bed

Another view of the galley

Dexter looking guilty at the foot of the steps from the galley to the main cabin

Dog-free zone - the master cabin with ensuite bathroom and separate shower

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Mad or what?

Photo of Candlelight with her "for sale" board

Candlelight with her "for sale" board when we first saw her in August

I still can’t decide whether this is the most exciting or craziest thing we’ve ever done – no doubt time will tell...

I’ll let you know if and when I find out.

The hardest part was making the initial decision to give up my job as a journalist, sell our house in Fort William in the Scottish Highlands and move onto a boat.

Once, the decision was made and we reached the point of no return – locked into the house sale, working my notice and boat deposit paid - it became plain sailing, well, almost...
Our new home

Our new home

The decision

One rainy day, my husband Phil and I were sat in our nice, warm house at Corpach, which is at the southern end of the Caledonian Canal, discussing the number of homes we had owned in the almost 18 years we had been together.

After a quick count up, we realised we’d had seven houses, plus three rented homes and a couple of months staying at my parents after an aborted plan to move to Spain in 2004. And we decided it was no surprise that one old friend describes us as “nomads”.

Phil jokingly – at least I think it was meant as a joke - said we’d moved so many times that we might as well get a house with an engine on it next time.

Over the next few weeks, we started talking over the possibilities, including me joining him in retirement as our age difference meant he would be 78 before I reached state pension age and we wanted to enjoy our retirement while still fit enough to do so.

We considered staying in the Highlands and moving to another house or bungalow that would be affordable without my income, but neither of us could really envisage finding our forever home so we started looking at other options that would enable us to move around.

Four wheels didn’t really appeal to either of us so a boat seemed the obvious choice, especially as we’d both enjoyed boating holidays and Phil had owned boats before – albeit much smaller than what we were now considering.

The next choice was whether we wanted to be on the inland waterways or the sea and we decided the sea would give us more options and be more of an adventure.

Initially the idea was to move to Wales, where my boys and grandchildren and Phil’s identical twin brother live, so I took a fortnight’s leave in early August of this year and we went to look at boats all around the principality.

On our way down the M6, we saw a camper van with a slogan on the back – “Adventure before dementia” – and we decided to adopt it as our motto.

We saw a couple of possibles and made provisional arrangements for a mooring in Aberystwyth, but there was one boat – a 43ft Neptunus 133 cruiser - we particularly liked the look of that we hadn’t managed to view yet. It turned out that she was at Maryport in Cumbria – wherever that was (Maryport, I mean, not Cumbria – my geography is bad, but not that bad J)

We called in at Maryport to see her on the way back up to Scotland and immediately fell in love with both the boat and the location.

Maryport Marina

She supposedly sleeps seven so was plenty big enough for us and our 18-month-old Hungarian Vizsla Dexter.
We started making plans to move her to Aberystwyth, then decided we liked Maryport Marina and it would be good to be close to the Lake District as we would still have access to mountains, which was the reason we moved to the Fort William area in January 2014.

Maryport Lighthouse

We decided to go ahead with the move, but I couldn’t hand in my notice until I was sure the house sale was going ahead and there were a few hiccups along the way that caused minor delays.

That was the worst time for me...

All sorts of doubts were going through my head and I couldn’t speak to anyone about it. I didn’t want my employers to find out I was planning to leave until everything was in place and I didn’t want Phil to think I was chickening out on our dream.

Every “What if...?” question imaginable went through my head, but, by the time the day came to sign the final contract that committed us to the house sale and we put down a 10% deposit on the boat, I was sure it was what I wanted.

We then faced the huge task of planning the move, which included getting rid of almost everything we owned as most of it would either not be needed or not fit on a boat.

Although we’ve moved house many times and thought we had the process down to a fine art, this proved to be the most difficult one yet.

This time, it wasn’t simply a case of packing everything up in boxes, numbering the boxes, keeping a list of the contents of every box and arranging a removal company to come along and take them away on the relevant day.

The first step was to make lists of stuff we definitely wanted to take, stuff we would like to take if possible, stuff to sell, stuff to give away to charity shops and stuff to take to the tip – and there was an awful lot of stuff to deal with J

We arranged storage as close as possible to Maryport and booked a rental van for a few days before the move. However, when we started loading it, we discovered that we should have gone for a larger van so decided we would have to make two trips.


We were due to move out on Thursday October 20 and made our first trip down to Cumbria with a van load on the Tuesday of that week. We had planned to get there before the storage facility closed at 5pm and travel back the same day, but arrived at 5.05pm, so had to stay overnight and unload the following morning, which put us back a day on the packing at the house.

The reason for our late arrival at the storage facility was because we ended up travelling via Buttermere on a narrow, windy, hilly road with a fully loaded van due to satnav problems – or possibly my inability to use it properly, but I’m sticking with blaming the satnav J

We worked flat out when we got back to the house and managed to get away soon after midday on Thursday with another van load and a car packed to the gunnels.

We knew we wouldn’t be able to move onto the boat straight away as we wanted a holding tank fitted so we could use the loo in the marina so booked holiday accommodation for the first week.

By the Wednesday, the holding tank still hadn’t arrived and there were concerns that high winds may prevent us from putting the boat back in the water on the Friday when we were planning to move in, so I booked a holiday cottage for another week.

As it happened, the tank arrived on the Thursday and the boat yard pulled out all the stops to get the work done in time to get her in the water on Friday as planned. This gave us a week to sort out the boat ready for us to move in the following Friday (November 4).

Putting Ravensdale back in the water

First impressions of our new home 

“Candlelight”, as she was called when we bought her, proved to be everything we had hoped and the marina is a great place to be, except for unexpected problems with the wifi.

Ravensdale at high tide

The previous owner told us he watched live TV on a laptop, but we can’t get wifi at all. Initially, I got it briefly at high tide, but it has now gone altogether so the only way to get online is to take our laptops up to the customers' lounge, which is OK for a while, but will prove annoying if it doesn’t get sorted soon.

Dexter – AKA Dex, Dexie, Dexie Dog and Baby (really must stop calling him that J) - seems to be adapting well to life on board.

Initially, he found the noises in the marina a bit scary, especially when windy, but he seems quite at ease with it all now and is totally oblivious of the rocking motion of the boat. He is also enjoying meeting more people in and around the marina.

Dex on lookout watch

Meanwhile, the new, quiet-flush electric loo we had fitted when we had the new holding tank installed proved a bit of a problem. It was so high off the ground that only someone over 6ft (probably more) would be able to reach the floor. Imagine a small child sitting on a big chair with their feet dangling and you will have some idea how awkward it was.

So Phil set about raising the floor. He managed to bring it up about 4ins, which has helped a lot, but the toilet is still rather higher than it should be. The downside (quite literally) being the reduced headroom, which isn’t so bad for me at 5ft 6ins, but is not so good for Phil, who is 4ins taller, and of course a man – think about it J

I found it totally hilarious when I wanted to buy a mat to put in the bathroom and discovered the total floor space was smaller than a regular bathmat! I’ve put one in there for now with a couple of edges folded under, but will have to cut it to fit properly at some point.

In fact, just about everything we buy for the boat has to be tiny. It’s a bit like buying things for a kiddies’ playhouse J

Not quite so hilarious is the fact that the holding tank doesn’t seem to hold enough. The first time it was full in less than a week, which means we are having to use it more sparingly. The plan now is to only use it at night and in emergencies. Other than that we are walking up to the excellent marina facilities. Although we have a shower on board, we are also choosing to use the marina showers, which are lovely and warm with plenty of hot water

Emptying the holding tank means moving the boat a few hundred yards to the pump out facilities so Phil drove it for the first time on Wednesday November 9. This involved manoeuvring it around the pontoons and all the other boats then reversing it back into our mooring and he did a great job.

The marina manager later played the CCTV footage back for us so we could watch his first attempt and it was all jumpy which made it look really funny. I would've loved to have been able to include the video clip here but sadly it was not possible.

Phil also removed the name “Candlelight” from the stern that day and she is now called “Ravensdale”. We have registered her on the Small Ships Register and we are in the process of getting a new nameplate made.

Phil removing the old name

Other than the loo situation, I’m totally loving being here. The weather has been pretty kind to us so far given that it’s November, but I still enjoy getting out on the cold, wet and windy days and the boat is lovely and warm and dry, especially since we bought a really good dehumidifier.

Storage wars

We had no problem fitting the stuff we had with us in the holiday accommodation into the boat.

Then came the daunting task of bringing the stuff from storage aboard and working out where to put it.

For a boat, Ravensdale has quite a lot of cupboard space, including three full-length wardrobes and there is lots of space under the seating in the main cabin and dining areas and under the beds.

Watching the yacht owner at the far left of this image climbing his mast made me very glad we went for a cruiser!

However, it quickly became clear that we had brought way too much stuff, despite thinking we had got rid of almost everything we owned.

It seems the van was the correct size for the move after all. If only we had jettisoned more of our stuff before the move.

We decided to make regular trips to the 75 sq ft storage unit that we took for a month almost a month ago now.

Opening it up is always scary, but bringing another pile of stuff back to the boat knowing there is nowhere to put it is even scarier.

The new goal is to downsize to a smaller storage unit within the next month... or so, hopefully, maybe J

Each time we visit the store, we bring back a car full of boxes, bags and other items and we have set ourselves a rule that these have to be stowed or disposed of before we can get any more.

This is proving very difficult as we don’t know whether we will have room for items we want to keep until we have stored everything we really need or want and some of these things are still buried in the store.

Initially, we discovered that lots of things we needed were in storage, so we’ve had to buy cheap basics until our own turn up.

The first day we had to cut the bread with steak knives as the bread knife hadn’t surfaced yet – it still hasn’t so we’re using a cheap one from Asda until we find it. I can’t really work out why the steak knives were so readily available, but we were very glad they were so we went out and bought some steaks for dinner :-)

At long last, we seem to be making a bit of an impact on the contents of the store and if we keep doing what we’re doing we will eventually clear it – and hopefully find all the important things we really need to find asap.

Week two

Still enjoying life aboard despite the minor inconveniences, such as the loo situation and the storage puzzle.

I decided against asking the holiday question again at the end of week two. It was only a joke the first time, but, if I say it too often, Phil might think I mean it and that definitely isn't the case.

It's a very different life, but I'm loving every minute of it, OK, almost every minute of it :-)

Dex seems very happy with his new life too. So far, all his walks have been local, but we are planning to take him further afield and start exploring Cumbria once we have finished sorting ourselves out on the boat.

Meanwhile, Dexie gets really excited when the seagulls put on aeronautical displays around the boat and he has a new friend that comes to visit most days.

Dex watching his new friend on the aft deck

He also enjoys cuddling up with Phil or I while watching TV in the evenings. 

Dex watching TV with Phil

And he (Dex, not Phil :-)) has started singing along to some TV show theme tunes. I will try to get a video of this to post asap.
PS. This is my first attempt at blogging and the software seems to have a life of its own. It keeps inserting random spaces between lines that I don't want, but I can't get rid of them. Hopefully I will learn how to use it better as time goes on...