The weather, over the last few days, has been unseasonably perfect, for boating in the UK and northern France. Most boat owners are off work or at least Furloughed, and I am sure will have been staring out at the blue skies and the great golden orb in the sky, that has been warming the gentle southerly breeze, and wishing that they were on their way to their patiently waiting, idle (or should it be idol?) vessel.
Visiting your vessel is probably not an option in these days of ‘lockdown’. I visited Sindur on Friday morning to check the batteries and the bilge pumps, and whilst there, I started mopping the decks. Cleaning is apparently not essential maintenance and I was asked to stop. So, I poked around inside the boat, and made a mental list of jobs to do, when we the ban is lifted. I could do little else, as Sindur is very much a bare boat at the moment, and has no gear, books or a kettle aboard. So, on a perfectly warm, sunny day, I locked up the boat and headed home, with a heavy, frustrated heart.
The journey home takes about an hour and forty minutes. The road was empty, and I was in no rush for a change, so bimbled along at 60mph, thinking of my adventures to come.
Some of you know of my vague plans to ‘do’ the west coast of Scotland and also eventually get to Sweden to navigate the Gota canal. But what before then?
‘The devil makes work for idle hands’ is a great expression – and one that rings so true. You only have to see how creative people are being during this time of enforced isolation, to realise what can be achieved. Whatsapp is full of ‘inappropriate’ material and videos of people doing crazy things. I have even given myself a buzz cut, out of boredom and slight necessity.
Rather than making work for my hands, I have started putting my idle mind to use, by planning and researching destinations, the marinas on route, the canals and the ‘must see’ attractions in each area. And by crikey, there are a hell of a lot of them. The internet is a powerful and dangerous tool, that can sap hours of your life, whilst fueling your aspirations and dreams. This is an example of how one thing leads to another:-
So I DEFINITELY want to go to the Gota Canal that traverses Sweden. I know, roughly in my mind how to get there. I will go through Holland, across the tip of Germany, through the Kiel canal, skirt Copenhagen and Malmo -i have to see the bridge – and then up to the Gota. But the devil is in the detail, so you start to explore the rules for transiting the Kiel canal, and then you find yourself on Youtube watching a video of someone else’s experience of going through the canal. Then you research marinas and their costs, in Denmark, for you will be passing through. Next, you read an on-line guide to boating in the Baltic and watch another video of someone else’s experience at said marina. Two hours have now passed, surfing the net, dodging from one site to another, someones blog, Youtube, a marina website, another blog, videos, photos….And 6 hours later – I may go to the Gota canal….. but before that, I really want to go up the west coast of Norway, see Pulpit Rock, enter the Arctic circle and end up in Tromso, like two lads from Newhaven have done in a converted lifeboat- as I found out, by watching their mesmerising video and reading their blog. Sindur is capable of it and so am I…..but how much time have I got to do this momentous journey? Well if I added up all the time I spent ‘researching’ such trips, I could probably manage the journey over a 12 month period. However, the Corona lockdown will end, work will re-start, and my dreams will be put on hold. But no harm done – I know a little more about the world now, I have whiled away some otherwise dull time – I have done some virtual boating and i do have some new destinations that I WILL get to, when work / retirement allows. Anyone want to come? You can do your own research……you have got time!
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