Friday, 28 December 2018

Our new canine crew member hijacks Christmas on Ravensdale 😊


Photo of me having a cuddle with Ruby by the Christmas tree on Ravensdale

Me having a cuddle with Ruby by the Christmas tree on Ravensdale


Our third Christmas on Ravensdale was a very quiet affair – or it would’ve been if it hadn’t been for our new crew member 😊

We collected Ruby, our beautiful Staffordshire bull terrier puppy, from the breeder just two days before Christmas.

And she’s definitely kept us busy and entertained over the festive period.

Other than that, the weather has been calm and our marina here at Maryport in Cumbria, UK, has been very quiet.

In fact, other than the one member of staff on duty on Christmas Day, I think we were the only people here.


Christmas on Ravensdale


Photo of Ravensdale's Christmas lights

Ravensdale's Christmas lights


Folk seem to have enjoyed seeing our 43ft Neptunus 133 motor cruiser all lit up for Christmas again this year.

And, on more than one occasion, people stopped by the boat during the day to ask what time we would be switching on the lights, so I can only assume they came back when it was dark to see them.


PHoto of colourful lights across Ravensdale's aft deck

Colourful lights across Ravensdale's aft deck

As there was only going to be the two of us for Christmas dinner this year and the shops are only actually closed for two days, we tried very hard not to go too silly with the amount of food we bought to eat over the festive period.

And we sort of managed to cut back a bit, but only where cake, biscuits and chocolates were concerned, and it wasn’t too difficult to reduce the quantity of sweet treats we bought given the way we’ve stockpiled them for previous Christmases.

But we certainly didn’t even attempt any form of restraint where our Christmas dinner was concerned.


Photo of Christmas dinner on Ravensdale

Christmas dinner on Ravensdale

Despite having to cook it all in our small boat stove, with a bit of help from the microwave, we still had turkey with all the trimmings followed by Christmas pudding with brandy butter and cream…and it was totally delicious.

I was determined to get a photograph of our meal before we ate it and remembered with the first course, but totally forgot when it came to dessert 😊

And, if you think you recognise the crackers, you would be correct.

That’s because I brought them home from our Christmas dinner at the Aquarium last week to make our dinner table on Ravensdale look a bit more festive on Christmas Day.

Well, as my Mum always taught me, waste not, want not 😊

Other than eating a hearty Christmas dinner and enjoying our festive booze and goodies, it was a very quiet day here in Maryport Marina.

I think we were the only people here, other than the sole member of staff on duty during the day.

Even the weather was quiet – dull, grey and fairly calm, which was certainly better than the storms we had here last Christmas.

And the highlight of our Christmas was playing with Ruby our new staffie pup.


Our new crew member  



Photo of me enjoying more cuddles with little Ruby

Me enjoying more cuddles with little Ruby


Photo of Ruby when we first saw her at five-weeks-old

Ruby when we first saw her at five-weeks-old

We’d been wanting to get a dog for months and had spent hours researching breeds in the hope of finding the perfect dog for us.

In the end, we settled on a Staffordshire bull terrier as they’re not too big and are fairly calm.

We really wanted a red and white female and asked friends with staffies to let us know if they heard of any pups available in this area.

No sooner had I asked, than I received a link to a litter of six that were fairly close to us and would be ready just before Christmas.

I contacted the breeder to discover that she only had one girl and only one of the litter was the colour we were after – thankfully they turned out to be the same puppy and she was still available, so we went to see her the very next day.

And that was it – I fell in love with her straight away.

We said we’d have her, paid the deposit and went back to visit her every week until she was eight weeks old and able to come home with us last Sunday.

Choosing a name for her was extremely difficult, but we eventually settled on Ruby and it seems to suit her really well.


Photo of Ruby at six weeks

Ruby at six weeks


Photo of Ruby sitting on Phil's lap on her first day aboard

Ruby sitting on Phil's lap on her first day aboard


Photo of Ruby asleep under a stool in Ravensdale's saloon

Ruby asleep under a stool in Ravensdale's saloon


Ruby is so, so cute and settling in really well.


Photo of Ruby settling in on Christmas Eve

Ruby settling in on Christmas Eve


Photo of Ruby taking a rest on the seating in the dinette

Ruby taking a rest on the seating in the dinette


Photo of another view of Ruby sunggling in between the cushions in the dinette

Another view of Ruby sunggling in between the cushions in the dinette


She seems very happy here on the boat with us and enjoys going out for little walks on the pontoons.

Fortunately, we’ve had very calm conditions ever since we brought her home, so she’s had a chance to get a bit used to living on board before the boat starts rocking around in wild weather.

I thought house training her could be difficult on a boat, but it seems to be working out quite well.

We put a puppy training pad down for her indoors, but she didn’t seem very interested in using it.

We’ve had much more success with taking her out for little walks on the pontoons every couple of hours, especially after food or when she wakes up, and, most of the time, she’s now doing what she needs to do outside.


Photo of Ruby playing with her squeaky chicken pirate toy

Ruby playing with her squeaky chicken pirate toy


Ruby has little periods of playing with us and her toys, including a nautical-themed toy we gave here for Christmas – a squeaky chicken dressed as a pirate.

She loves cuddles and spends a good bit of her time sleeping.

She hasn’t objected to having her claws trimmed or when Phil gave her a bath in the washbasin in the en-suite heads for the aft cabin.


Photo of Ruby getting her claws trimmed

Ruby getting her claws trimmed


Photo of Phil drying Ruby after her first bath

Phil drying Ruby after her first bath


The only time she’s seemed less happy is when we put her in her cage at night.

We got it to keep her safe, to stop her falling and hurting herself, but also to stop her causing any damage on the boat when we’re asleep or out for short periods.

Her bed is in the crate and we left the door open during the day in the hope she would go in there of her own accord, but she never did.

And she really didn’t want to go in there at night.


Photo of Ruby's cage in the saloon

Ruby's cage in the saloon with one of her toys peeping out


The first night she cried a lot and Phil went up and spent most of the night on the sofa with her in the saloon, where he got very little sleep.

I felt really guilty knowing he was still feeling unwell due to the cold that I’d given him, so I offered to look after her the second night, which was Christmas Eve.

She slept much better and I managed to get a reasonable night’s sleep too cuddled up with her on the sofa.

I’ve done the same thing on subsequent nights, leaving her a little longer each night before I go up to the saloon to spend the rest of the night with her.

We’re certainly not going to keep this up forever – just until she’s got over being taken away from her parents and siblings.


Photo of Ruby snoozing on the sofa in the saloon during the day on Boxing Day

Ruby snoozing on the sofa in the saloon during the day on Boxing Day


Photo of a closer view of Ruby fast asleep under her blanket on the sofa

A closer view of Ruby fast asleep under her blanket on the sofa

Photo of Ruby looking alert and super cute between naps

Ruby looking alert and super cute between naps

And, as she slept from about 11.30pm last night (Thursday) until almost 4.30am this morning (Friday), I don’t think it will be long before she is fine in her cage all night.

We're also putting her in the cage for short periods in the daytime and she seems to be becoming happier with going in there already.

I really thought having a puppy on a boat was going to be more difficult than in a house, but I’m not so sure now.

The advantages are that she’s never very far away from us and it’s easier to keep an eye on what she’s up to in a smaller space.

The only downside we've come across so far is not being able to just open the back door and let her out in the garden, but she seems very happy with her little walks on the pontoons and is already getting used to being on a lead.

Photo of Phil taking Ruby for a walk on the pontoons today (Friday)

Phil taking Ruby for a walk on the pontoons today (Friday)


I purposely haven't put any photos of Ruby on Facebook yet because I wanted to save them for my blog but local photographer Eileen Hewitt snapped this photo of me while I was out on the pontoons with the puppy and posted it on a local Facebook group. Many thanks to Eileen for allowing me to use her photo here.


Photo of me holding Ruby on the pontoon by Ravensdale. Photo by Eileen Hewitt

Me holding Ruby on the pontoon next to Ravensdale. Photo by Eileen Hewitt


Dreaded lurgy

My cold started to improve on Wednesday of last week and Phil started to develop one the following day.

He was feeling really unwell on Friday and Saturday.

He was a bit better on Sunday and much better by Christmas Day but, as happened with my cold, it has left him feeling a bit tired and lacking in energy at the moment.

I still feel very guilty for giving him such a horrible Christmas present


Photography


Unsurprisingly, I’ve taken loads of photos of Ruby over the past week.


Yet another photo of Ruby 😊

Yet another photo of Ruby 😊


But I’ve still managed to get out for little walks with my camera.

I went around to the beach here in Maryport for the sunset on Friday evening. It wasn't up to much but I still took a few photos of the Solway Firth and Maryport Basin at dusk.

Photo of the shore at Maryport at dusk

The shore at Maryport at dusk


Photo of Maryport's old lighthouse just after sunset

Maryport's old lighthouse just after sunset


Photo of Maryport pier around sunset

Maryport pier around sunset


I also caught some lovely reflections in the still water in Maryport harbour on Christmas Eve when we had a particularly high tide at 8.9m (29ft 2ins).


Photo of colourful fishing boats refelected in the still water at Maryport Harbour

Colourful fishing boats refelected in the still water at Maryport Harbour


Photo of boats and buildings refelcted in Maryport Harbour

Boats and buildings refelcted in Maryport Harbour


Photo of near perfect reflections in the still water in the harbour

Near perfect reflections in the still water in the harbour


Another photo of the harbour on Christmas Eve

Another photo of the harbour on Christmas Eve


And I went around to the harbour with my camera at high tide on Boxing Day.


Photo of boats in Maryport Harbour on Boxing Day

Boats in Maryport Harbour on Boxing Day


Photo of a fishing net spread out to dry in Maryport Harbour

A fishing net spread out to dry in Maryport Harbour


Photo of Silver Fern - one of the fishing boats in the harbour

Silver Fern - one of the fishing boats in the harbour


Photo of more fishing boats in the harbour

More fishing boats in the harbour



Weather watch

The weather over the past week has been mainly grey, damp, calm and very mild for the time of year.

The only real exception was a beautiful cold and sunny day on Christmas Eve.

Saturday started wet then cleared up to give a mainly cloudy day with sunny intervals. The top temperature was 8.1C (47F) and the top average wind speed was 21mph, gusting 31mph.


Photo of cloudy with sunny intervals at Maryport Marina on Saturday

Cloudy with sunny intervals at Maryport Marina on Saturday


Sunday was wet and miserable but very calm from first thing and it stayed that way for most of the day. The highest temperature recorded locally was 6.3C (43F) and the average wind speed reached just 6mph.

Overnight Sunday into Monday the temperature dropped to 1.8C (35F) and the pontoons were covered in frost and very slippery when we first got up. Phil salted our pontoon and the marina staff salted the ramp up to the marina facilities.


Photo of a frosty start to the day on Monday at Maryport Marina

A frosty start to the day on Monday at Maryport Marina


Christmas Eve (Monday) started bright, sunny and calm. It stayed bright and sunny throughout the day, but the wind got up a bit as the day went on. The top temperature was 5.7C (42F) and the top average wind speed was 16mph.


Photo of sunshine in Maryport Harbour on Christmas Eve

Sunshine in Maryport Harbour on Christmas Eve


Christmas Day (Tuesday) was cloudy, grey and damp all day with a top temperature of 8.3C (47F) and an average wind speed of up to 14mph.


Photo of grey skies at Maryport Marina on Christmas Day

Grey skies at Maryport Marina on Christmas Day


Boxing Day (Wednesday) was cloudy, grey and breezy but at least it didn’t rain, and it was very mild with the daytime temperature reaching 9.1C (48F). The average wind speed peaked at 19mph.


Photo of a cloudy sky over Ravensdale on Boxing Day

A cloudy sky over Ravensdale on Boxing Day


Yesterday (Thursday) was cloudy, grey and calm. The top temperature was 8.3C (47F) and the top average wind speed was just 6mph.


Photo of a cloudy sky over Maryport Marina this morning (Friday)

Cloudy sky over Maryport Marina this morning (Friday)


And, today (Friday) the weather was grey and damp first thing with the sun coming out early afternoon taking the temperature up to 9C (48F). The top wind speed was 15mph.

Friday, 21 December 2018

Ravensdale is still out of commission but at least she’s looking festive 😊


Photo of Ravensdale decked out ready for Christmas at Maryport Marina. Photo by Jan Fialkowski

Ravensdale decked out ready for Christmas at Maryport Marina. Photo by Jan Fialkowski


The engine problem that developed as we tried to move Ravensdale when our marina was drained down last week is going to take a while to fix.

Meanwhile, she’s unable to leave her mooring at Maryport Marina in Cumbria, UK.

Photo of Ravensdale's Christmas tree

Ravensdale's Christmas tree

This left me wondering whether she should currently be called a houseboat, but Phil assured me this is definitely not the case 😊

She's just a motor cruiser with a temporary problem that will be fixed asap, and she will soon be heading out of the marina’s sea gate and onto the water, which is where I’m convinced she’s at her happiest.

Last weekend, this area was battered by Storm Deirdre, which brought torrential rain and winds gusting to around 60mph giving us some rocky conditions on board. It was also pretty chilly.

I spent the early part of the week suffering from a really bad cold, which meant I didn’t feel like doing very much, but I was determined to finish putting up the decorations inside our boat to make her feel more festive.

We finished our Christmas shopping yesterday (Thursday) so we’re all sorted and ready for the big day.

And I'm very grateful to photographer friend Jan Fialkowski for the lovely photo of Ravensdale's Christmas lights that I've posted above to wish you all a very happy Christmas 😊



Exhaust problems

Work is now underway on fixing the engine problem that stopped Ravensdale from moving last week.

Photo of the exhaust elbow that had broken free from Ravensdale's port engine

The exhaust elbow that had broken free from Ravensdale's port engine


Last Thursday, Phil discovered the exhaust elbow on her port engine had become detached from the flange, which is bolted to the turbocharger.

The first indication of this was that the engine was really noisy when he started it up to move our 43ft cruiser to a slightly deeper area of our marina before it was drained down for mud and silt to be cleared from the bottom of the slipway.

He then noticed that there was no water coming out of the exhaust pipe so switched the engine off and went down into the engine room to discover it was full of smoke.

Having discovered the problem, we realised we’d have to stay put and hope Ravensdale wouldn’t mind sitting in the mud when the water level dropped.

We found a local engineer who was willing to weld the exhaust for us and Phil removed it on Sunday.

He thought it was going to be a real pain to get off because it went into a rubber pipe that seemed to be really tight.


Photo of Phil using a steel bar to remove the exhaust pipe

Phil using a steel bar to remove the exhaust pipe


However, he inserted a steel bar into the end that had become detached and was able to twist it around until it came loose.

Photo of another view of Phil removing the exhaust elbow

Another view of Phil removing the exhaust elbow


Looking at how badly rusted the end of the pipe had become, the most surprising part is that it didn’t come away sooner, and it made us very grateful that it happened while we were in the marina rather than out on the water.


Photo of the rusty end of the exhaust pipe

The rusty end of the exhaust pipe


Phil then removed the flange that was still attached to the turbocharger and we dropped both parts off with the engineer who is hopefully going to fix it for us.


Photo of the flange to which the exhaust pipe had been attached

The flange to which the exhaust pipe had been attached


As it's so close to Christmas, we told him we were in no mad rush for it as we wouldn’t be going anywhere until after New Year.

We’re just hoping it will be easy enough to repair.

Phil then plans to remove the same pipe on the starboard engine and, if necessary, take that to him for welding too.


Christmas is coming…



Photo of Ravensdale all lit up for Christmas

Ravensdale all lit up for Christmas


Over the past week, we’ve put up the rest of the decorations inside the boat.

The Christmas tree we've had in the boat for the last two Christmas fell victim to a storm just before we took the decorations down at the start of this year.

It was a small fibre optic tree leftover from the days when we lived in a house.

It was just three-foot-high and the perfect size for Ravensdale, so I was very sad when it fell over and stopped working, never to work again

We were going to buy a new tree when I remembered that we had a four-foot artificial tree in storage.

Our seven-foot tree from the days when we had a large sitting room was given away to charity along with all the trimmings when we sold our house, but we kept the smaller one just in case…

I was convinced we didn’t have room for a four-foot tree as it wouldn’t fit where we've put our tree in previous years.


Photo of Ravensdale's Christmas tree in the corner of the saloon seating

Ravensdale's Christmas tree in the corner of the saloon seating


However, Phil came up with the idea of removing the seat and back cushions of the corner seat in the saloon and the tree fits there perfectly.

I was really pleased that it would save us buying a new tree but less so about having to admit he’d come up with a good idea 😊

And, despite being taller, this tree appears to be sturdier so will hopefully not meet the same fate as the last one.

Well, it survived some pretty severe rocking during Storm Deirdre so I'm hoping that means it will survive whatever else the weather gods throw at us over the festive season.

We’ve also hung a rattan star with lights on it inside one of the windows on the starboard side, a candle bridge and flashing icicle lights on the inside of the port window and some of our Christmas cards are strung across the windscreen above the helm.


Photo of lights at the window and Christmas cards across the helm

Lights at the window and Christmas cards across the helm


Photo of the candlebridge and icicle lights standing out agains the dark sky

The candlebridge and icicle lights stand out agains the dark sky


There’s a Christmas table decoration on the dining table - although the candles in it will not be lit as I don’t think lighting candles on a boat is a great idea - and I’ve placed a few other ornaments in various places around the boat.

So, that’s it, Ravensdale is now ready for Christmas 😊


Dreaded lurgy

I hate it when I think I’m going down with something and I fight it like crazy but, despite my best efforts, it gets me anyway.

During Saturday afternoon I started to feel like I might be getting a cold.

I tried to convince myself I could fight it off, but it quickly took hold. By Sunday morning, I was in no doubt at all and, by Sunday, evening I was feeling really rough

Photo of festive lights across Ravensdale's aft deck

Festive lights across Ravensdale's aft deck


Photo of me smiling again now I'm feeling better

Me smiling again now I'm feeling better

At least it was just a cold and nothing like the horrible flu bug I had earlier in the year, but it still made me feel pretty miserable, which is not what you want in the run up to Christmas. However, being able to look out at the lovely Christmas lights helped to cheer me up.

Monday and Tuesday were definitely my worst days and I did very little other than taking paracetamol four times a day and relaxing.

I even went back to bed for a sleep on Tuesday afternoon and it must have helped because, I woke up on Wednesday morning feeling I’d turned the corner.

Thankfully, I was feeling considerably better by lunchtime, just in time for our Christmas dinner at the Lake District Coast Aquarium.

I’m still feeling a bit weak and feeble but should be fully recovered by Christmas.

The trouble is that Phil has now got it so I'm not very popular.

But at least he can't say I didn't give him anything for Christmas 😊



Aquarium Christmas dinner 


Photo of Phil enjoying Christmas dinner at the Aquarium

Phil enjoying Christmas dinner at the Aquarium

Photo of the Aquarium Christmas menu

The Aquarium Christmas menu


This is our third Christmas in Maryport.

The last two years we’ve said we should book for Christmas dinner at the Aquarium, next to the harbour in Maryport.


And, this year, we actually got around to doing it.


They offered an amazingly good deal – a full three-course traditional Christmas dinner plus a mince pie, coffee and a mint all for £14.95 per head.


We thoroughly enjoyed our meal and I joked that we didn’t need to cook a Christmas dinner on Ravensdale on Christmas Day now, but we definitely will.


Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without turkey and all the trimmings 😊



Photography

I’ve probably taken fewer photos this week than during any week in the last two years, partly due to bad weather, but mainly due to feeling so unwell.

I took my camera out for a short walk along the shore, out along the pier and back along the side of the marina on Friday afternoon.


Photo looking back at Maryport from south pier

Looking back at Maryport from south pier


Photo of Maryport from the far side of the basin at low tide

Maryport from the far side of the basin at low tide


Photo of Maryport Marina gate from the basin at low tide

Maryport Marina gate from the basin at low tide


Photo of Maryport Marina looking empty now many of the boats are out on the hard standing

Maryport Marina looking empty now many of the boats are out on the hard standing


A black and white conversion of one of my photos taken along the pier

A black and white conversion of one of my photos taken along the pier


A mono version of one of my photos of Maryport

A mono version of one of my photos of Maryport


Since then, I’ve really not felt up to going out very much, but will hopefully be back out there snapping away very soon 😊



Swan family


Photo of feeding time for the swan family

Feeding time for the swan family


The swans continue to pay regular visits to Ravensdale for food and usually let us know when they arrive.

Sometimes, I can hear them crying outside the boat before I can see them and go out to find them just arriving.

Other times, they attract our attention by tapping on the boat.

Occasionally, I look out of the window to see them all lined up, waiting patiently on the opposite of the hammerhead to our boat.


Photo of the swans trying to peck food out of the cup

The swans trying to peck food out of the cup


And, I love the way the cygnets always call out to me as I step off the boat and approach their food container.

Yes, I know, I must be a very sad person to get so much pleasure out of feeding a family of swans 😊


Stormy weather

Storm Deirdre – the fourth named storm of the UK season – battered much of the UK on Saturday and Sunday bringing snow, freezing rain, black ice, gale force wind and torrential rain.

We were warned to expect gusts of up to 75mph but, thankfully, it wasn’t as bad as that here.

Overnight Friday into Saturday was a pretty chilly night with the temperature falling to 2.4C (36F).

Saturday started dry but overcast with a cool wind and Storm Dierdre arrived during the afternoon.


Photo of heavy rain on Saturday afternoon

Heavy rain on Saturday afternoon


The wind strengthened as the day went on and it started raining heavily soon after lunch.

The temperature only reached 1.9C (35F) and the highest average wind speed recorded at St Bees Head, which is the nearest weather station to us, was 45mph, gusting 63mph.

Sunday was cloudy but dry with the sun breaking through the clouds at times. The temperature peaked at 6.1C (43F) and the top average wind speed was 19mph.

It rained overnight but it was dry and sunny from first thing on Monday morning. It stayed fairly bright during the morning with the cloud cover increasing as the day went on.

The top temperature was 7.3C (45F) and the top average wind speed was 25mph, gusting 36mph.

Overnight Monday into Tuesday was another very windy night with the average wind speed reaching 44mph and gusts of up to 57mph.


Photo of wet and windy Tuesday at Maryport Marina

Wet and windy Tuesday at Maryport Marina


Tuesday was a very wet and windy day with the wind speed reducing as the day went on. The top daytime average wind speed was 43mph, gusting 62mph, at 10am.

We had a fine and dry start to the day on Wednesday, but it started to rain just after lunch. It then cleared up for a while before raining again during the evening.

The top temperature was 6.9C (44F) with the average wind speed reaching 24mph, gusting 33mph.

And yesterday (Thursday) started dry and cloudy with rain and a rainbow late morning. We then had heavy showers for the rest of the day.


Photo of a rainbow near the Aquarium while we were eating Christmas dinner on Wednesday

A rainbow appeared near the Aquarium while we were eating Christmas dinner on Wednesday


The top temperature was 7.6C (46F) and the average wind speed peaked at 23mph with gusts of up to 30mph.

And, so far, today (Friday) the weather has been grey and damp.