27th March 2011
No (fresh) G&Ts or olives here...
And so, almost unbelievably, it is time to leave La Roche Bernard. After 6 months of considering it 'home', tomorrow we are off to Arzal, ready for lift-out on
Tuesday. In some ways, it has seemed a very long winter yet, in others, remarkably short. The fact that it was at times unusually cold has probably contributed to
the former perception, particularly as, whilst we have stayed perfectly warm aboard, every task such as shopping, laundry and showering involves a lengthy walk ashore
in the cold, not hopping from a warm house to a warm car! We have, however, had some great days out with Tim and Karen of Saradan (not forgetting Boline, their
lovely springer spaniel) - good company and conversation, a bit of grocery, DIY store or chandlery shopping and a spot of lunch - thank you, and we hope to enjoy some
sailing in company heading south.
All of a sudden winter has turned to spring and it has been a pleasure to be able to be outside doing jobs. We've been busy elsewhere too - in the last 10 days
or so we've changed a faulty pressure switch on the fresh-water pump, re-plumbed the heads with new outlet hose and 'Twist n' Lock' pump with remarkable success and
lack of the unmentionable mess that reportedly can accompany this job (must have been the good 'toilet training' we received from
Liberty Yachts last year...), installed a new engine hours counter (and typically the original Volvo
Penta one has burst back into life...), stripped the cockpit table ready for re-varnishing and bought a helicopter...
Andy has also completed his first full engine service; changed oil and replaced oil filter, replaced both fuel filters, alternator belt and impeller. Despite
having messed about with engines 'since he were a lad', it was a slightly daunting undertaking, much more so in a boat compared with in a car - no pulling over to the
side of the road to phone the AA if you've done something incorrectly! Thanks though to Tim's (Saradan) encouragement and advice, plus that of John
from SMS (who also supplied the parts - spares and much else seem very expensive here), all went smoothly. We've
saved a substantial amount of money in doing it ourselves, not to mention gaining more confidence and knowledge about the engine. Ann has re-organised the pantry, so
now Andy doesn't know where anything is - not that he did before, despite things having been in the same place for nearly 12 months...
Incidentally, for those sailors and potential liveaboards amongst you, the 'pantry' includes the lockers in the aft cabin, one of which was already shelved out. We
shelved out the other one, which had been a hanging locker, before we left Plymouth. This has vastly increased our usable storage space.
As the warmer days arrived, so did a number of 'Brits', returning to open up their boats for the season, and we have enjoyed a number of very sociable evenings in
their company. Last night, we enjoyed a meal and live music at Le Sarah B with Tim & Karen. We
also chatted to Danni & Ricky who own the B&B where Andy's mother stayed in December, so all in
all it was a fitting end to our stay at LRB. We are a bit sad at the prospect of leaving (so many people have found this place and have decided to go no further),
but also excited about getting Pipit ready for new adventures, and new countries, this year. Having said that, we may be back for a short while after we go
back in the water, so we probably haven't seen the last of LRB just yet...
So here is a pictorial record of our recent activities:
Spot the difference competition...
The meths was not for me...
This little Fokker (actually it was some kind of micro-seaplane) flew under both bridges - not sure that is legal! Unfortunately we didn't get to the
camera in time to catch that, but he did return much higher shortly afterwards.
Occasional escapees to the marina!
The black sheep of the family...
And rest #2 - well it was a warm day...
The beautiful Gimcrack gliding under the bridge.
Well the Land Rover and the Alfa had to go, so I thought I'd try one of these...
So until next time, when hopefully we will have shiny topsides and a clean bottom...