After a few days back in Derbyshire at the end of April, we return to Suffolk despite the bad weather forecast for the May Day Bank Holiday weekend. We bring all the sails from winter storage, fitting them easily into the Adria with plenty of space to spare for tools, wood, varnished panels, sole boards, the partly finished summer cover and Bev’s sewing machine.
Arriving in Woodbridge late, at the wrong state of the tide, but keen to wander into town to see what’s going on despite the wind and rain, we manage to sleep in the van with all the sails stacked in the cab. Next morning we carry them across the pontoon and find room to store all the sails under the winter cover. It’s still really stormy though, and not a very pleasant weekend compared with last year when we basked in sunshine! The modified sole board and step, taken home for some more work, are re-fitted and looking good in the cabin.
On Tuesday, 23 April, Mike and Steve bring ‘Cachalot’ back round to her berth on the North Arm.
We move the van back to where there’s been a lot of landscaping over the winter and park up near where the tent used to be, looking upriver towards Melton again.
There’s only a couple more days of fine weather, and we need more plywood to finish the forepeak so once the boat’s in her berth, there’s a trip to Ridgeon’s at Martlesham Heath where the Adria once again comes into her own. Being based on a panel van, the two 10′ x 4′ boards fit neatly and easily in through the double doors on the back with the bed lifted up out of the way!
After our early start in February, March was pretty busy . . . but Steve did find time to work on the sole boards while we were home in Derbyshire, ready for fitting on our return to Woodbridge at Easter.
After sending the OGA Gaffers Log to press on 12 March, we drove the new van to Arnside, Cumbria for an excellent conference about boats built there by Crossfields and fitted in a short tour in the Lakes, including the narrow road along Wastwater.
A couple of days later we set off for Val Thorens, in a newly-acquired Mini [but that’s another story], calling to see Kate & family in Southampton before catching the night boat from Portsmouth, meeting Simon and Ricarda off the train from Paris at Gare de Moutieurs and enjoying a brilliant week ski-ing with them, before returning via Southampton on 31 March.
2 April found us with Mike & Dee of ‘Bonita’, sipping champagne and nibbling canapes at the Classic Boat Awards ceremony, Royal Thames Yacht Club, Kensington. Neither ‘Bonita’ nor ‘Cachalot’ was a winner but we enjoyed the event and felt honoured to have been nominated.
Thankyou to everyone who voted for us!
It’s generally too cold to start work this early in the year, but we’ve taken the plunge, and ‘upgraded’ the trusty Bongo for a 6 metre Fiat Adria motorhome! After 12 years, the Bongo was still a good van and, having passed the MOT (with a little bit of welding), we decided to sell and buy a van with insulation, heating and separate sleeping/sitting areas.
It was sad to see the Bongo driven off by her new owner last week, but lovely and cosy to cook, eat and sleep in the Adria, without having to change the layout of the van.
‘Cachalot’ is still in her temporary berth on the South Arm while the Harbour staff finish dredging and winter maintenance so we park just above the boat meaning Steve can get started with planning how to fit out the forepeak while Bev makes the new van our winter ‘home from home’. We’re still discovering all the options which include hot & cold running water, fridge, cooker and a great heating system powered by LPG or mains hook-up!
The great news is that the bilge pump only seems to have been tripped once, since November . . . and the cover has kept her snug against all the winter weather, and showing no signs of wear apart from bird droppings!