Friday, July 25, 2014

A patch of blue

We both woke up this morning.  That is always a good thing.

Then, without even waiting for coffee I checked the Royal Mail tracker and it said the package was in Paris and they’d get around to delivering it sooner or later.  That was not quite so good, but rather than dwell on it we made plans fill in the day by cruising with Dave and Ria to Montherm√© and riding our bikes back.

So we got all excited and one of us hurriedly cut lunches while the other jogged to the post office “just in case”.

If we’ve ever been as disappointed to receive a package that we’d been desperately awaiting, we can’t remember when it was.   We couldn’t bring ourselves to entirely abandon our cruise aboard Max so hitched a lift as far as the first lock, bade our sad farewells and walked back the couple of kilometres to where the greasy mess awaited.  Max had not disappointed, although having to leave him did.  For just a moment, without a tinge of jealousy, we found our gratitude for our own lot wavering ever so slightly, but we soon recovered.

Of course mid-waver, as if to throw fuel onto some smouldering ember, there was one nut in our repair process that wouldn’t come undone without a special tool.  There always is.  Despite the best effort of the gardener in the park next door, who threw his mower repair shed to our mercy, we couldn’t find a Perkins injector undoer for love or money.   He didn’t even have a bigger hammer than the one I already had hit it with.

So we called for help from the guy in Charleville with the special tool (and perhaps a bigger hammer) and now we wait once more in Revin, until the dawn of a new day, full of hope and promise, although with no need to check the Royal Mail tracker.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Twiddling our thumbs.

Royal Mail parcel tracking, says our part “has arrived in ROISSY CTCI IMP RAP and is being processed for delivery.”  

We are just a few hours from Roissy by fast train, but we have no idea how long a postal van will take.   “Perhaps tomorrow”, said the nice man at the Post Office, without having to say, in the way of these things, “or perhaps not”.

So we’ll walk and explore and read and hang around under the shade for at least another day, presuming all the while that the part in the post is the one we need, and that when it arrives installing it is within our collective skill set.  

It doesn’t seem possible that tomorrow we will have been here a week, but we have, and we know that while we are completely content to sit and wait, the moment we are able to move, the switch in our head will fire and the need to move will hit with some urgency.

We can’t explain that, it is just the way it is.   

In the meantime, we’ll settle in and wait for another sunset.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Gather round for a photo

Mr Perkins part, according to Royal Mail parcel tracking, “has been passed to the overseas postal service for delivery in FRANCE.”   I am not quite sure, but I think that’s a good thing on balance, although there might just well be a hint in there somewhere that we aren’t going to see it tomorrow.

So we are forced to sit here for a bit longer with our friends, doing not much but not having time to do anything more, wondering how Dave doesn’t get fed up with having nothing to repair on his boat, while Ian and I seem to be up to our elbows in tools for one reason or another.   We mustn’t overdo it though, the evenings together are not conducive to retiring early.

They all swam today, the other five, in water that judging by the way my toes went blue when they were dipped in it, must have been barely above freezing.   

 I managed as is my custom, not to be “refreshed” as they describe it, being firmly of the belief that if there is nothing wrong with the boat, there can be no reason to go overboard, noting with some satisfaction their squeals of what sounded like vaguely like pain and definitely not ecstasy on entering the water.  

Dave assured me that according to his on-board sensors the water temperature was a balmy twenty-one degrees.   Perhaps there is something he can fix after all.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Silver Lining

It began like a Sunday kind of Monday and then we realised that it was Tuesday and thought hard about going back to bed until we’d sorted things out. 

The cloud cover and misty rain did nothing to alleviate that feeling either.  If one had squinted hard enough the glistening slate roofs across the river could have been ice or even snow perhaps with a bit of imagination.    

We wondered for a time if long pants were going to be the order of the day but half the news the part for Mr P had arrived at the distributors in the UK and would be despatched this afternoon seemed to combine with the first coffee to put a bit of a rosy hue back into things, and that was even before we’d received Ria’s message that they would be with us by lunch.

Sure enough, just on lunch o’clock when Dave and Ria arrived aboard their Max in a blaze of triumph and glory, that perhaps only they and we could see, bringing with them warmth and sunshine, as though they were couriers of climate.

We have shared their dream and stuck our noses in their boating business for years, planning with them and enjoying their boat building adventure as it unfolded, it seems only fair that now we can enjoy the results with them.

If they can bring the weather with them as they did today, we may never leave their sides.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Living by numbers

The day dawned full of optimism and prospect.   We were hardly out of bed when the first message arrived confirming what I had already discovered; the quest for the replacement part wasn’t going to be straight forward.   For some reason, out of all the parts in all the engines in the world, due to some sort of administrative error, or perhaps a misalignment of certain planets, this one little part, which has a reputation for breaking occasionally apparently, was never given a number.

Numbers mostly just hang around unnoticed, on walls, on doors, on sewer grates and telegraph poles and even banknotes.  We take them for granted, and it is only when some sort of emergency arises, such as when one is trying to order a machinery component to exactly replace another, that they become terribly important.    Eventually though, after a morning on computer and phone, we found a chap who knew a bloke who could get to someone in a far away land who would order the part for us, and all being well something will turn up in the mail by the end of the week.  Or the next.

Meanwhile in the port the numbers of Australians are steadily growing as well.   Richard and Gloria turned up out of the blue, and not unexpectedly we finally caught up with Ian and Lynda, or actually it was they who caught up with us two months and two countries later than we had planned.   

It was not a quiet evening, and for the second in succession the numbers of the clock were quite small when the lights finally went out aboard.

Sunday, July 20, 2014


It would be fair to say that Mr Perkins' state of health is at top of mind if not causing stress, so a detailed search of the internet seemed like a reasonable way of filling in time until hopefully the answers to all the emailed cries for help start rolling in.

But after a couple of cups of coffee, having made only one confirmed sighting thus far part to match our broken one, and concluding that Michigan where the said part is currently located is a long way from Revin, and since no-one in Michigan seems to be prepared to answer their phone in the dead of night on a Sunday there seemed little point in doing anything further in that regard today.

Instead, we looked out the window and cleaned things, and wondered how the people in all those old houses looked out their own windows as they never actually seem to open the shutters.

During one of those looks out the window we couldn’t help but notice Tracy and Martin arriving in their narrow boat, and while it was mid afternoon when they did, suddenly, in the nicest possible way, all our plans for the afternoon and evening were suddenly in more disarray than those houses. 

Mr Perkins chose to ignore the ruckus and slept quietly in his box.

Saturday, July 19, 2014


I was eating breakfast a few days ago when for the second time in as many years a corner of a tooth sheared off.   I guess that means my annual trip to the dentist will end in another crown job, but at least it can wait till we get back.

I found that Mr Perkins had the equivalent this morning while trying to discover the source of the fuel leak and his general crankiness of late. One of the flanges holding an injector into his head has cracked, after years of abuse.   “They” say it’s not something he ate, but that it can happen through being overtightened to fix a leak instead of spending thirty cents on a new washer - I suspect that a lot of thirty cents have been saved over the years on our Mr P.   and that they are going to add up to quite a lot of extra expenditure for the people at the end of the line.   If it wasn’t us left holding the baby, I’d rub my chin and try to look wise and tell them I would have told them so.

It is a bit disappointing at first being stranded forty kilometres from where we’ve paid a week’s rent in advance, but I suppose that if we have to be stuck anywhere, being stuck in a beautifully cared for Port with security, and Supermarkets, hardware stores and bakery a stone’s throw away is no terrible thing. 

It also means that we’ll be here on Monday so we be able to visit our friend Mary in the Tourist Office after all, and Monday is when the real logistical problem begins, when half a dozen parts suppliers return to work to put the weekends enquiries into their systems.   

Two I have spoken to today don’t know where to begin, but what happens if all the others send me one? 

it doesn’t matter, one replacement and five spares won’t come close to matching the cost of fixing the tooth.