Tuesday 31 March 2020

Goin' Nowhere!

Not on a canal

About time to update - when we left the boat at the marina we fully expected to be back in just over two weeks but it was not to be.

We returned home a couple of days earlier than originally planned as Mike had a date at the annual St Piran's Awards in Perranzabuloe Church. These awards, in the form of a small cross made from Cornish tin, are made by the bishop to lay people who have been nominated locally for their contribution to church life, often over long periods. The idea was that of the previous bishop, Tim, and I was part of the initial occasion. I have been involved several times - the Chair of the Diocesan Synod House of Laity**  reads each citation and formally presents each recipient to the bishop. It is a wonderful occasion and people who receive a cross are able to bring a number of personal guests who are then encouraged to be vocal in acclaiming the person they have come with after the cross has been presented.

We also asked Steve, the marine engineer that stays on the boat next to Alchemy, to take a look at our chimney. For a while we have had a leak down the side of the flue after heavy rain. Recently, we took a closer look - previously we have simply renewed the mastic around the junction between the flue and the roof - and spotted that when the chimney moves from side to side - in the wind or when being removed for cruising - the sealant can be seen to open up a very tiny gap.

A few days after we returned home we had a message to say that he had taken a detailed look, removing the ceiling cover inside and he could see that there was an issue with the roof insulation and also how the flue inside the roof is secured. He told us that after several days of testing it is now fully waterproof once more!

As soon as we returned home we were warned by our daughter - in the strongest possible terms - that a prolonged stay at home was most likely and, indeed, it was not long before we were having to practice something unheard of before: social distancing. With further restrictions on the cards, we made sure that our larder, fridge and freezer were able to withstand at least a week at a time! By now, supermarket shelves were starting to thin out.

However, by 24th March Boris had 'spoken to the nation' and we are all now under severe limitations on what we can do outside our own homes. Fortunately we have a couple of fields very close to our house that were provided by the developer of the estate for amenity purposes so we can take a short walk each day for exercise, but it does not feel the same as navigating a set of locks!

Last Friday we did go to Tesco for a 'weekly' shop in the hour's slot reserved for those 70+ or vulnerable. We had about a 45 minute queue, all marked out with the necessary social distances, before we were allowed in. No flour but we obtained most of what we wanted. The downside was having to accept that we are now labelled 'elderly'. Before this we were most definitely not elderly! The rest of the day was a bit of a downer as a result. It is also strange to realise how we have all succumbed to the 'just in time' way of life, topping up with small shopping lists every day or do. How much milk do we need for a week?

Our marina, along with all the others, is now shut other than for those living on board. Leisure boaters are not allowed even to visit. We have been assured that they will check the electricity meter and top up if necessary. Our main problem is that we left the Webasto heater on frost which we usually do during the winter. However, we are no getting a little concerned about how much diesel there is in the tank and when it might run out. We may have to ask for further help ere long! Not sure what will happen with the heater if it comes on with no fuel.

To think, when we left the boat we had never heard of social distancing or Zoom, now both regular parts of our necessary vocabulary. At least one good thing - it seems likely that there will be a massive re-think about the way the NHS has been treated and funded over the past decade now that everyone has discovered that we have no other agency to look after us when it really matters.

0 Miles - 0 Locks (!!)

** (Yes, that's still Mike for a little while longer - his planned resignation at Easter has been put on hold along with all elected office holders in many organisations)

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