Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Moving to a boat in a far off land

We were out of our flat by the end of the month, so that meant some rapid planning and execution. There was furniture to store and two closets worth of clothing. Fortunately for me, I had a little pickup truck to haul this gear.

There are no "pickup trucks" in the UK. Funny looking Japanese and Italian Bob-Tails, but no proper pickup trucks. A family might own an "estate car", which is similar to the old station wagons, only smaller.

My other challenge was to find a Storage Facility. In the land of the PX, these places are everywhere. Too much crap in your house? No problem, mon. Drop it off here for a hundred bucks a month and we will make your problem disappear!

Of course, these storage joints have 24 hour access.

Not in the UK. Open Monday through Friday, 0800 to 1800. Saturday from 0800-1300.

That's right, we close on Saturday at one o'clock. Because we would like time with our families, too.


The good thing about those insane hours? I had to be done by 1300 on Saturday, leaving me plenty of time to sit at a Pub (The Old Monk) and whine about the injustice, like a little girl.

Can't be helped!

SO, I get as much of our trash stowed as possible, packed half of our clothing onboard an unheated boat and commence to living aboard.

The Cats were the last to arrive, they whined, cried and growled as we dragged them on the boat.

They really took to the close quarters, never thinking of leaving, but I think they really dug people watching and sitting outside. And they really liked the close proximity to their favorite human, the "Bringer of Food".

They were also useful for warming, especially since the temperatures soon dropped to freezing. We finally got some power cords, I had to take a train to Lymington, which is on the western side of the Solent, near the Isle of Wight. We made a night of it and stayed in a hotel and partied up in one of the local pubs. We met a very interesting character there, who said he had a Pub/Inn that we should come back and visit. I don't have the name, although I know we made a log entry with his info. This person will return to my story in three years.

One thing about being a foreign boat owner; We really met many people who were interested in being friends and would give tips on how to overcome Shop-Owner caused obstacles. Plus, many of our new friends wanted to go sailing with us.

Our first problem was resolved with power cords. this meant we could put in a transformer (220 to 110) to run our battery charger and we could plug in a heater.

This is why we needed a heater. These photos show the ice in the water, I used to throw coins onto the ice and hear the "Ting Ting" of metal on hard ice.

To stay warm on weekends, we would visit "Fran", a 60 foot wooden boat owned by an Expatriate American. They had a coal stove onboard. Toasty! They were very good friends who enjoyed a cup of cheap wine and having guests.

The next challenge happened when the propane (for the stove) ran out. The local propane dealer refused to help us in any way. They wanted us to spend 400 pounds to redo our system to meet British standards. When I asked to buy parts to match they threw us out of the store, saying they can't help us unless we complied with the law!
"Please leave, we have regular customers to serve."

The Spousal Unit was near tears, and I was threatening the shop keeper with violent actions.

We were sick and tired of freezing, there was ice on the water and we wanted to be back in Florida in the worse way. Fortunately, there was a boat a couple of berths down called "Mad River".

These were proper cruisers who had some solutions for our cooking dilemma; Decant Propane from one tank to another!

You take a length of propane hose with two male ends and take a full tank, connect it with an empty tank. Turn the full one upside down, place the receiving tank on the ground or hold it lower than the full one. Open the receiver tank and then the full tank. The compressed gas liquid will flow to the empty one. The drawback is that you can't really get the receiving tank quite as full, no matter. You can rehook the tank and begin cooking, again.

Months later, I finally went to a camping shop in West Ruislip, a couple doors from the pub and train station. They were very helpful with my situation, sold me a couple tanks and I used teflon tape to connect them to my existing system.

Like I mentioned a couple days ago; There are shopkeepers in the UK who are happy to help anyone out. Don't count on it in London.

Next up: Our First Frostbite Rally!


Buck said...

Not in the UK. Open Monday through Friday, 0800 to 1800. Saturday from 0800-1300.

And that ain't just storage facilities. The hardest part about making the transition for TSMP and I was getting used to the "hours" for every-damned-thing... shops, tube/trains, so on and so forth. But home-delivered milk was a great good change we immediately embraced.

We were never in any danger of freezing, though.

Great story, yet again.

Barco Sin Vela II said...

Yes, Buck; home delivered milk is a nice return to yesteryear, but the main reason they still deliver milk is that most people either have no refrigeration or they have a family fridge the size of a dorm room ice box.

I had to learn that the average British Citizen likes his situation and does not want to have change. The British have never had happier memories than when they were enduring the War years and had to ration food. They are proud survivors!