Yacht Pipit


Ice, snow and no water, 4th December 2010

So it snows in France too! But more on that story later... Since our last update, autumn has changed to winter, although we have still been able to enjoy some walks. We have recently met Tim & Karen who are over-wintering on their boat at Arzal and have enjoyed their company on a number of occasions, meeting up in LRB. They have their car with them (not just any car, but a Freelander so Andy has been able to get his LR fix by proxy) and have been kind enough to invite us along on a couple of outings.

A victim of the recent strong winds, on the path to the Morbihan Bridge.

The water pump mentioned in our last update was replaced quite easily, in fact for a change it was a job that went remarkably well! Our bilge pumps were tested (seems wrong to intentionally pour buckets of water into the bilge!) and we had a veritable Niagara out the back.

Andy finally found time to get his instrument out, and even managed to make a not too unpleasant noise on it. And here he is playing his mandolin...

Rock 'n roll...

And so to the weather... Last Friday one of the marina staff came to tell us that due to the imminent cold snap, they would be turning off the water supply. As we had literally just re-filled our tanks, we thought this would be no problem assuming that, like other marinas, they would switch the water back on as soon as the risk of freezing passed. At the time, it was well above freezing, but snow and colder temperatures were forecast for the weekend. Unfortunately, when we checked with Helene in the office, she dropped the bombshell that the water may be off for a week, two weeks, but quite possibly, as last year, for all of December and January, regardless of the weather! This left us with quite a dilemma - we could take the boat down to the marina at Arzal or find somewhere to live ashore, possibly just for a couple of weeks, but potentially for two months. Tim & Karen managed to confirm with the Arzal marina that the water would only be switched off in extreme weather when there was the risk of the pipes freezing and bursting. We could therefore move the boat to Arzal, either once or twice a week to re-fill our water tanks, or until the marina here could confirm that they would switch the water back on. There are absolutely no shops at Arzal marina, nor any within walking distance, so if we lived aboard Pipit there we would also have to hire a car.

The weather indeed turned much colder on Saturday with a dismal grey sky dumping snow through icy northerly winds. Sunday dawned bright and practically windless, and if it wasn't for trying to resolve our predicament, would have been a lovely day to enjoy a walk in the winter wonderland as the snow hadn't melted. Instead, we kept below in the warmth whilst getting information to help us decide what to do about our living situation.

The prospect of going back and forth to Arzal through the depths of winter held little appeal and the temptation of hot showers (the ones at LRB marina are, at best, barely lukewarm, unless someone flushes a khazi, in which case you get a 'hot flush' for perhaps 30 seconds) won out. Dave & Iris, who we met when we first arrived here, have a daughter who is a friend of the owners of a lovely cottage in LRB, so after a few emails and phone calls a deal was done to be able to use their house. We are extremely lucky and grateful, in the first instance, to Dave & Iris for putting us in contact, and secondly to Phil and Jo for letting us use their home - thank you all for helping us out. It's times like these that you remember how close and helpful the boating community is, and similarly a small community like La Roche-Bernard.

Whilst we were perfectly happy and warm living on Pipit, and it was never our intention to spend any time living ashore this winter, there is no denying that piping hot showers and a roaring log fire do have a certain appeal...

So here are some winter scenes from LRB:

The frozen 'Old Port'.

So now we just hope that Gatport Airwick and the motorways stay open so that Andy's mother can get here next week...