Ruby takes lookout watch on Ravensdale's aft deck
I’ve been trying to decide whether to write a blog this week or not and, as you’re reading this, you already know my decision 😊
It's been another windy week in which we couldn’t even consider taking Ravensdale out on the water due to the wind speed.
Although it's been considerably less windy than earlier this month when this part of the UK was hit by two named storms, it was still too windy for us to want to leave the marina.
Meanwhile, Phil has been busy replacing some of the jubilee clips on Ravensdale’s 300hp Volvo Penta engines.
And Ruby has enjoyed being able to spend more time out on deck watching everything going on at our marina here in Maryport, Cumbria, UK, thanks to less rain and slightly lower wind speeds.
Why I just can’t stop blogging
Ravensdale at Maryport Marina in Cumbria, UK, at sunset on Saturday
Some people find blogging a chore and there are definitely times when I would agree but I just can’t help myself.
It seems to be impossible for me to stop 😊
It’s been a really quiet week and I mean REALLY quiet.
We’ve done very little of interest to anyone other than us.
So, I was trying to decide whether I should write a blog post or leave it this week?
I’ve asked myself that question many times since I started writing a weekly blog when we moved on board Ravensdale - our 43ft Neptunus 133 motor cruiser - in November 2016.
The logical answer would probably be to leave it, after all, no-one’s going to read it…or so I thought.
However, I’ve since discovered that I often get more page views on the random blogs that I write on quiet weeks than on those written when we’ve actually done something that I feel should make for a more interesting read.
So, I carry on regardless of whether it’s been a quiet week or what passes for an action-packed week in our lives on Ravensdale 😊
But the real reason I write - whether I have anything to write about or not - is because I just can’t stop 😊
I like to have a record of our week for us whether it’s of interest to anyone else or not.
My blog performs the function of a journal and a photo album.
And, on many occasions, it has enabled me to look up when something happened that would otherwise have been lost in the sands of time.
Apologies if you find this week’s blog boring but every week is not going to be the most exciting week ever so, by including the quiet weeks as well as the more dramatic ones, I’m hopefully giving a more accurate picture of our life afloat.
Less windy but still too windy for us
Ravensdale returning from our last fishing trip on the Solway Firth on February 25
We’re still waiting for a chance to take Ravensdale out to play on the Solway Firth as we haven’t been able to go out fishing for almost a month.
We stick to a single-figure rule that means we don’t go if the wind speed is supposed to be more than 9mph but have frequently discovered that the forecast was wrong and found ourselves out on the water in higher winds.
But that doesn’t mean the rule doesn’t work as a bit of error on a single-figure forecast is hopefully going to result in lower wind speeds than a similar error on a double-figure forecast 😊
Over the past week, there hasn’t been a single day when the wind speed has been single-figure during the time the marina’s sea gate was open, which is around two and half hours either side of high tide.
Ruby in her life jacket on our most recent fishing trip
It’s a real shame as Ruby was getting used to the experience and it would’ve been good to carry on taking our floating home out on the water regularly so she would see it as normal (whatever that is!).
Hopefully it won’t be long before we can give her another reminder of what our life on Ravensdale is all about 😊
Shiny new jubilee clips
New jubilee clips on Ravensdale's port engine
So far, he's put new clips on the hoses from the water intake to her port engine, other hoses on that engine and as many of the starboard hoses as he could reach by entering the engine room by lifting the steps to the aft cabin.
However, some of the jubilee clips hoses on the starboard engine are more difficult to reach.
To change these will mean lifting the carpet and half the flooring in the saloon.
It also involves working in a small, cramped space, so that will be done on a day when we don’t have any visitors and we’re not trying to get anything else sorted.
The rusty jubilee clips that Phil replaced
Ruby keeping a lookout from Ravensdale
Ruby loves wandering around the decks when the weather has been nice enough to leave the door open for short periods.
She enjoys sitting on the foredeck watching people and their dogs walking past on the road above us and she likes keeping us company when we’re out on the aft deck.
Ruby peeping out from behind Ravensdale's dodgers
She also likes keeping a lookout from around the dodgers on the aft deck, including peeping through the gaps around the stern cleats.
We’ve been able to take her to the beach every day this week and the tide times have meant we could time her walks to coincide with low tide, which gives us so much more space.
It also makes her walks more interesting as she can explore the rock pools that are underwater when the tide comes in.
Ruby checking out one of the pools on the beach at Maryport
Ruby at another pool on the beach
And the crow that started following us along the beach in the hope we’d throw it some of Ruby’s treats now regularly accompanies us on our walks.
Clyde the crow with one of Ruby's treats
I decided that, if he was going to walk with us on a regular basis, he should have a name and so he’s now called Clyde - not that he actually walks that much, it’s more a mixture of hopping along or flying a few feet before landing nearby😊
But Clyde doesn’t join us for our whole walk. He only comes a certain distance along the beach then stops and joins us again at that point on our way back.
Unsurprisingly, Ruby still doesn’t approve of us giving her treats to him and, when we throw them to Clyde, Ruby races over and tries to get to them first. So far, they seem to get about half each 😊
Phil and Ruby on the wet sand at Maryport beach
She’s getting better at crossing water now and will walk through slightly deeper water without insisting on being picked up and carried, although she does expect a treat for being a “brave girl” when she gets to the other side 😊
And, as the sand is often very wet, she's paddling much of the time and frequently has to be towel dried when we get back.
Phil drying Ruby after a walk on the beach
Ruby fast asleep in her bed
Ruby cuddled up under Phil's arm
Chew Stopper spray
Meanwhile, we’ve bought some spray from the pet shop that’s supposed to stop her chewing the carpet.
It’s called “Chew Stopper” and claims to be “foul tasting” without causing her any harm.
I sprayed it on all the areas she’s attempted to chew and, so far, it seems to be working.
Writing this has just reminded me that I didn’t check how often it needs to be reapplied so will have to check that out and do it again before it wears off.
Since Ruby has been with us, she’d had no contact with children until this week when she met a little lad with his grandad while I was walking her around the harbour.
The toddler started to approach Ruby and I warned his grandad that she was likely to jump up at him.
He insisted it was OK as the little one was used to dogs.
I told his grandad that I didn’t know how she would be with children as she didn’t have any contact with them, but I was sure she wouldn’t intentionally hurt him as she’d never shown any sign of aggression towards people or other dogs.
The boy, who I later discovered to be just two years old, put his arms around Ruby’s neck and gave her a hug then picked up her front paws to dance with her.
Ruby gets a hug from a toddler
I was so pleased with the way Ruby behaved. She’s a strong little dog and tends to jump up at people, but she was really gentle with him and never even stretched up to her full height until they were “dancing” together.
It was so sweet and lovely to watch 😊
Ruby trying to knock the camera out of my hand during a selfie
She was less keen on letting me take a selfie with her though. After several failed attempts, I had to ask Phil to take a new photo of me with her so I could send it to my Mum for Mother’s Day.
Phil's photo of me and Ruby on Ravensdale
Hoping the power cuts are over 😊
The electricity bollard by Ravensdale
And we really thought the problem would be sorted after the marina had an electrical contractor checking the entire system last Friday.
But the shore power went off sometime between 8am and 9.15am on Saturday morning as we didn't discover the outage until we went to use the microwave.
The member of staff on duty at the marina switched it back on but it went off again about half an hour later.
I started keeping a note of the times we lost the supply the weekend before last in the hope it might reveal the cause if it kept happening at a certain time of day, but that didn’t work, so I’m now recording the weather conditions at the time as well.
When the power went off on Saturday, it was raining and very windy, but that definitely wasn’t always the case for the previous week’s cuts, and we had plenty of wet and windy weather when the power didn’t go off.
The electrical contractor has been at the marina working on the supply to the pontoons again this week and we were told that they'd found a fault in a cable on one of the other pontoons.
The lights on the ramp up to the marina facilities had also been flickering so the marina turned them off for a couple of days and there were no cuts during that time so we’re hoping one of these things was what was causing all the problems.
Fingers crossed that we won't get any more cuts.
Dealing with storm damage
The damaged sail that was flapping for almost a week after Storm Gareth
The flapping sail on a nearby yacht that had been driving us mad since it unfurled and was damaged during Storm Gareth was taken down by the owner on Monday morning.
The noise it made was much louder than any other sound in the marina, including clanging halyards and the wind whistling in the rigging.
To say we were glad to see (or rather hear) the back of it would be an understatement 😊
Work underway to take down the damaged bike shelter
Meanwhile, the marina has dealt with the damaged bike shelter, but not in the way we’d expected.
Instead of repairing the damaged roof, staff dismantled the whole structure so all we have now is a bike rack that is totally open to the weather ☹
The rack that is all that is left of the marina's bike shelter
All five members of the swan family have visited the marina this week, but we’re seeing the adult swans less often now so I’m wondering if they’ve started nesting ready for the arrival of this year’s brood.
The last time I saw the adult pair in the marina was during some very wet and windy weather last Saturday morning.
The lone cygnet visiting Ravensdale yesterday (Thursday)
Since then, the pair of cygnets that seem to have teamed up were here on one day and the other cygnet, which always seems to be alone, has turned up at Ravensdale looking for food every day since last Sunday.
This week’s photos have all been taken while walking Ruby and, thankfully, she’s getting a lot better at stopping and waiting for me to get the shot I want.
Most of my photos were taken while walking her on the beach, with a few from around the harbour here at Maryport.
Oystercatchers in flight over the Solway Firth
Looking across the Solway Firth to the Scottish hills
Reflections in the wet sand on the shore at Maryport
The clouds reflected in the wet sand at low tide
Patterns in the sand looking towards Maryport Pier
An attractive pool on the shore at Maryport at low tide
A heavy sky over the Solway Firth with rain in the distance
Cottages on the shore at Flimby
Another property on the shore at Flimby
The same property on a sunny day
A stormy sky on the shore at Maryport looking towards Iggesund paperboard mill at Workington
Maryport Harbour shorly before sunset
A closer view of the harbour
The beach looks completely different at low tide, when there’s a wide expanse of wet sand that provides some lovely reflections and lots of little rock pools that just cry out to be explored.
And we had two colourful sunsets and a rainbow over the marina this week.
Sunset over Maryport Marina on Saturday
The following day's sunset over the marina
Another view of Sunday evening's sunset
Rainbow over Maryport Marina
The abstracts and close-ups below were all taken on the beach.
A lump of rusty metal I found on the beach and laid on a large rock
Sand ripples and a small pool on the beach at Maryport
Two limpets clinging to a rock
Another pair of limpets on a rock
Seaweed uncovered at low tide
Patterns in the sand left by the falling tide
I also took a few close-ups of boat names while walking Ruby around the harbour.
Jacinth in Maryport Harbour
Sincerity in Maryport Harbour
Emerald Star in Maryport Harbour
Hasna 1 in Maryport Harbour
Winsome in Maryport Harbour
The very windy weather we've had here in Maryport for the last couple of weeks continued last weekend.
It then dropped a bit to give us a quieter week, which made a nice change, but not quiet enough for us to be able to take Ravensdale out on the water.
Less rainfall was also very welcome.
A yellow “be aware” severe weather warning for snow was issued for an area near us on Saturday, but we didn’t get any here.
Instead, we awoke to wind and rain, but it cleared during the morning.
Wind and rain at Maryport Marina on Saturday
More rain arrived around lunchtime and early afternoon. The weather then dried up and the clouds started to clear just before sunset.
The temperature reached 8.6C (47F) and the highest average wind speed recorded locally was 34mph, gusting 46mph.
Overnight Saturday/Sunday was another windy night with an average wind speed of up to 28mph, gusting 43mph.
It rained overnight and first thing Sunday morning before becoming dry and fairly bright but breezy.
The top daytime temperature was 7.9C (46F) and the average wind speed reached 29mph, gusting 37mph.
We awoke to drizzle on Monday morning. It then dried up around lunchtime, with a little light rain early afternoon before it cleared again.
Blue sky and light cloud over the beach at Maryport on Monday afternoon
The top temperature was 6.7C (44F) and the top average wind speed was 17mph, getting calmer as the day went on.
I was interested to see that we had exactly 12 hours of daylight on Monday with sunrise at 6.23am and sunset at 6.23pm.
Tuesday started cloudy but fairly bright. This was followed by grey cloud and drizzle from around lunchtime. The top temperature was 8.1C (47F) and the top average wind speed was 15mph.
It was dry and fairly bright during the day on Wednesday after an early morning mist with a bit of drizzle in the early evening.
A misty start to the day at Maryport Marina on Wednesday
The temperature reached 7.7C (46F) and the top average wind speed was 19mph.
Yesterday (Thursday) started dry and bright with a tiny bit of very light drizzle around lunchtime.
The top temperature was 9.8C (50F) and the top average wind speed was 13mph.
The wind speed while the marina gate was open was 9-13mph, which was lower than had been forecast but still too windy for us to want to take Ravensdale out on the water.
Me on Ravensdale's aft deck this morning (Friday) - yet another windy day at Maryport Marina
And this morning (Friday) the weather was dry, overcast and windy, with a top temperature of 8.3C (43F) and a top average wind speed of 24mph, gusting 36mph.
It started to rain around lunctime with the rain becoming heavier during the afternoon.