Ah me. After a halcyon summer which we felt would go on forever, the days have started to get shorter, and the rain has reappeared. Many of the geese and small birds from the hedgerows have flown, and the coots, aggressively territorial over the summer, seem to have declared a winter truce.
An early design of Eva Luna’s livery.
With any boat, the onset of winter is the testing time: have any seals rotted and need replacing? Does the heating still work? It’s a bit like turning the boiler back on in a house. 99% of the time it’s fine, but there’s always that one…… We’re with the 99 this time (hurrah!).
Thinking back to our first winter on the boat, coming on for three years ago now, it makes me shudder. No-one had been living on her and the winter came in hard and fast – the coldest for years. Her systems, no longer accustomed to being used, managed by us, completely novice boaters, all fell over at once in the middle of a cold spell.
At least whoever takes her on from here will be taking on a boat that’s been lived on, and whilst systems do eventually of course wear out, at least we’ll hand her over in full working order.
We’ve put the double glazing back up over the skylight in the main cabin, and we have put the heating on twice over the past week. It, thankfully, still works a treat, although some of the radiators need bleeding – a small and easily resolved problem, thank goodness. (Hope I’m not tempting fate by saying that – we’ll be bleeding them on Sunday afternoon.) The torrential rain earlier this week tested the boat for being watertight, and she’s passed muster. One way and another – woot!!!
Even in the rain, though, the river manages to look beautiful.
I managed to get the boats’ rails touched up (with paint) before the rain started, so no chance of rust there and looking prettier – all in all, warm and watertight and ready for the winter. It seems ironic that now she’s running like a dream, we’ll be moving on. It fills me with sadness.
If I’ve learned anything from our adventure, it’s that if you don’t use a boat and it’s equipment regularly, expect problems. So whilst we’ll move off in the next month or so, making it easier for the sales team to take people on board for viewings, there’s no way we’ll let our hard work getting her in tip top living condition go to waste. We’ll only be a short way from her current moorings, and a small part of me is relishing the thought that we may actually get to use her as a pleasure boat rather than a home for for a while before she goes to new owners.
Against this bitter sweet backdrop, excited about a new future, sad to be leaving this boat behind, I’ve started re-reading the Tales of Eva Luna (Isabelle Allende). It seems forever ago that we sat down as a family and decided her name….
Eva Luna is now for sale: call 0118 946 1320 and ask for Claire.