Tuesday, February 17, 2009

winter life at harbor

How nice it is to wake up with the sound of ice gently crushing against the hull and the salute of the geese in their daily commute to their feeding grounds. The snow and now the sharp crisp weather is a nice change from the blistery north wind we had those last days. It made the going in and out of the boat a challenge for me somethimes as Röde Orm lays perpendicular to the dock and we have to step on the bow pulprit.  

Though it is cold.... minus 5 to 6 centigrades at night, and barely above zero during the day. The diesel heater keeps us warm at head level... since the floor is so cold despite the rugs. It is also a daily fight with condensation, which occurs mostly under the waterline level. Those are the inconvenients of a winter in cold climate. We are at the stage where we dream of opening up the boat, let a warm draft sweeps away  the good old boat smells ! But patience, there is still a few weeks of winter ahead. Meanwhile, I will try to enjoy some of the few moments when Mother Nature is at her best.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Portsmouth and the heart of England

Our young friends, Dave and Jennifer invited us to spend 2 days where Jenny lives in Whalybridge, 400 kms north of Portmouth, close to Manchester. This trip gives us a good glimpse at the ever traditional and tamed British countryside. It is lovely and very green with rolling smooth hills and winding countryroads lined with stone walls. The villages are tidy with flowery gardens and well kept houses which reveal the love of cosy indoor life the British have.

An evening stroll under the moon to the local country pub was the finale after a nic

e barbecue dinner with our friends. They took us along a wooded path which like in the best novels followed an old cemetery lighted by a bright moon. The air was heavy with the smell of wet grass after the afternoon heavy showers. The 30 minutes stroll put us in a perfect mood for some good ale at the Shady Oak, the old traditional country pub. At 1 o'clock, when we left the still busy place, it was pitch dark. No flashlights, who needs any when our guide has a superb night vision and leaded us hand in hand through a short cut of the already short cut... crossing fences , down a creek, following a muddy path. Completely blind, we staggered down the path admiring stars and feeling exhalirated by this little adventurous episode in the tame Britain.

We returned to Portsmouth via Stonehenge, this magic place, cousin of the Carnac standing stones field in Brittany which I know very well. Although, as the latest, we cannot approach the stones, I felt the same power and mystery of a unknown past when those same hills were still wild. I would have loved to touch those big erected stones for ever witnesses of century of mankind who across time have always adm

ire and worship them.