The Coronavirus Diaries, 18th September 2020

There were watermelons at the organic farm today so I bought one. I haven’t cut into it. It’s in the boot of the car and I shall take it home intact. The fridge on das Boot is not much bigger than a sheet of A3 paper, and I already have quite a lot of fresh food in it. Making sure it doesn’t go off means I have been eating very well, though having established that the pub at Reach is now properly open for business I am tempted to go there for lunch tomorrow before I start my sloe and blackberry picking in the afternoon.

I had a short stroll around the marina, admiring some boats and noting the absence of others who have either been sold or moved to new moorings elsewhere.

Jolly yellow boat

The countryside around is flat. It’s one of the things the fens are famous for.

Flat as far as the eye can see

Bare fields

MasterB has had two walks ashore. The first this morning as the day warmed up, the second this evening. Given that the weather is gorgeous though autumnal, I expected lots of people to arrive this evening. They didn’t. So tonight’s walk was an unexpected bonus, and achieved just in time as, having had a very long pee (yes!!) and spent almost as long covering it up, MasterB looked about, evidently considering his options and a car turned into the marina. I watched it drive the length of the track and guessed correctly it was our neighbours who have the boat the other side of the pontoon.

Boats

MasterB has been gradually become braver about people and cars at the marina, but the likelihood of him having a panic when he saw people walking towards him was high, so I made the choice for him, lifted him up and popped him through the window of das Boot. He was quite calm while I took his harness off, but when the footsteps crunched on the shingle close by and the pontoon began to rock he displayed his disquiet by growling and sinking his belly to the floor. He didn’t rush to hide though, and that in itself is progress. The light was already fading while we were ashore, so there has been no socialising between our two vessels, and I am guessing they will set off somewhere early in the morning. I needed to cook my supper,* so I drew curtains, popped a CD into the player and poured a glass of wine. MasterB remained crouched on the floor until I lifted him onto the bed. He looks pretty relaxed now. Maybe he’ll join me in the fore cabin in a while.

Stuart came over at lunchtime to do the two minor repairs to the boat covers. When he called to say he was on his way I was enjoying a walk around Reach.

No prizes for guessing what this house used to be

We reached the marina within minutes of each other. It was so windy last winter my front cover was ripped away at one corner. I have been anxious for this repair as one very evident result of climate crisis are these increasingly strong winds. I do have another cover, one that goes over the entire boat which I have never used. The marina owners agreed to store it in their barn more than decade ago. The first years of boat ownership when I used it as a base to stay so I could visit Mother in her very sheltered housing and later the care home, I would stay here all year round. Since her death I have stopped doing this. It was often scary with pontoons slippery with ice and often very, very cold.

These days the boat is winterised by early November and I sleep and eat in warmer places. Now might be the year to put the winter cover into play. Of course strong winds might also rip it off and send it flying over Cambridgeshire, but I think that’s a risk I need to take. I was interested to hear Stuart say that as so many boat owners have had so little use of their vessels this season quite a few of them are planning to use their boats over the winter. Brrr is all I can say. I hope they have onboard heating.

*I can confirm chickpea scramble is as delicious afloat as it is on land.

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