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Third Time Lucky

March 4, 2010

The reason for the title for this piece will emerge as you read it………

Seeing as J wrote the last blog, she has, in her imperious way, detailed me to write this entry.  Our last update was made just before we returned to UK for a few days, so I’ll tell the tale of our visit to the frozen north and subsequent goings on.

Well, firstly, just why did we have to go back to the UK for a few days just before we’re going to be going back for the arrival of Naomi and Ken’s latest addition (or should that be edition?).  It’s pretty simple really.  Our travel insurance has a limit of 62 days out of UK before it becomes invalid.  Normally, we wouldn’t bother too much about insurance, as we tend to be away too long at a time anyway.  Then we were parted from our bags by the evil forces which inhabit Terminal 5 at Heathrow and became convinced that we’d never see them again.  We therefore went on line and found the cheapest flights back to UK that we could and booked them, so as to remain within the limits imposed by the insurers.

All well and good and we felt quite happy with the idea.  Then BA actually found our bags and returned them to us, so we didn’t need to replace all the contents of the cases (with all the yachtie stuff we’d picked up over Christmas, this represented a small fortune).  The next amazing thing was that when we sent BA our claim for emergency replacement kit, they meekly paid up without any argument!  Result – we had a trip to make back to UK with no real reason to do so anymore.

Never mind; we decided to stick with the plan, as you can’t get a refund out of Easyjet.  The flight home was OK, slightly delayed by our Gallic friends having an Air Traffic Control strike. (What is it with the French these days?  They seem to have taken over as the European champions of pointless strikes, especially ones intended to make life miserable for the maximum number of people.  Ah well, perhaps that’s why we haven’t built in any visits to the French mainland for this summer – can’t stand the thought of getting caught up in some fisherman’s blockade.)

My sister-in-law, Jane, met us at Liverpool and took us back to their place where we stayed for most of the time we were back in UK.  J had arranged to spend Thursday in a series of pubs meeting all her mates from M&S Money, a truly excellent plan of action and one that I shall try to replicate next time I’m allowed off the leash in UK.  I went into Chester to try and pick up her engagement ring but failed, as the jewellers were in chaos as the shop next door had started to collapse and they’d had to evacuate at short notice.  Perhaps it’ll be ready when we go back at the end of this month.

Friday was spent in Shrewsbury, visiting the storage unit where we moved from a 75 sq ft unit to a 50 sq ft unit because Jonno and Lucy have taken a lot of stuff away for their new house.  This entailed removing everything from the store, filling the corridors of the place with stuff (just why did we keep some of it?) and then restacking it all in the new room.  By dint of a degree of hard work and very high stacks of things, we fitted all our remaining stuff into the smaller unit, apart from one easy chair which has gone to Mike and Jane.  In fact the stacking went better this time, as all of the stuff was there to start with rather than arriving in a random order in a series of van loads; this meant that we could put all the similar sized boxes into stacks taking up the smallest amount of room.  Just don’t ask for anything that went in to the place, as getting anything out represents a significant challenge.

Saturday and Sunday were fairly relaxed, doing a bit of shopping in Chester and walking the dog.  J and I then went to my parents for Sunday night.  The four of us went out for a meal to celebrate (slightly belatedly) my birthday and Dad’s, both of which occur in February.    We’d been intending to catch the train and bus to the airport for the flight back to Barcelona on Monday but my sister Jinny turned up at Mum & Dad’s halfway through the morning and decided she would take us to the airport by car – magic! 

J doing the painful stuff - working out where all the money's gone!

The flight back was totally uneventful and on time.  The temperature in UK had been 3 or 4oC, so we were delighted to find that it was about 16oC when we arrived back here.

On Tuesday, we had intended not to do too much, as we had Spanish lessons to go to and then a Joan Baez concert.  Things, however, did not work out quite like that.  Firstly, we’d had a very noisy night on Monday, with much fender squeaking and rope creaking.  This was because the berth we were on was very tight, with only just enough room to fit into next to a catamaran, so any movement of the boat resulted in movement against the fenders, hence the noise.  If the ropes were tight enough to prevent movement, then the fenders didn’t make too much noise but the ropes creaked instead – can’t win.

Rampage on berth number 3 (Third time lucky?) Room to breathe at last

So, on Tuesday, J stumped off to the marina office to ask if we could move to one of the vacant berths on D Dock and was gob-smacked to be given the OK, move to D43!  This was on the other side of the pontoon a few down from the old berth. 

We decided to move once we’d put done the washing and shopping, so off we set to Barceloneta looking a little bit like extras looking for a part in a Chinese laundry.  That took until middle day, so we set about moving the boat to her new berth without further delay, as we couldn’t hang out the washing until we’d moved (can’t see to drive if the washing’s out!)

This is not a simple performance, as it was when we were cruising.  ‘Rampage’ is very definitely in marina mode at the moment: water, electricity and TV hook ups; anchor chain sitting in the water to give access to a leaking chain locker; no steering wheel and a splendid selection of ropes to keep her moored.  It took about an hour to get everything ready to move and another 40 minutes to get everything hooked up again once we’d moved (that only took about 10 minutes!). 

A wet day in Barcelona - stuff drip drying in the cockpit

Then we hung out the washing and tramped up to the Palau de Musica to pick up the tickets for the concert, only to be told that they were only available one hour before the concert begins!  Ah well, the walk did us good.  Once we got back to the boat, we thought we could relax and get ready for Spanish. 

View from the stern at the new berth

Ah no!  J suddenly remembered that her passport needs renewing and that we should take it up to the consulate for processing.  The FCO website was down but we knew where the place was so off we set.  A short metro ride and a longish walk later we found the place, only to discover that it was shut.  By now it was too late to go to Spanish so we made and ate supper and took a deep breath before setting off to walk back to the Palau de Musica.  J has raved on about this place before, so I won’t bore you with it other than to say that it is completely over the top.

We last saw Joan Baez in concert in Dusseldorf in about 1991 in the Tonhalle, a similar sized venue to the Palau de Musica.  She doesn’t seem have changed a bit since then; she still has the ability to hold an audience in the palm of her hand.  Terrific concert and the walk back to the marina passed very quickly.

View down the pontoon - note taken today, which is sunny not yesterday when the blog was written!

Today is, not to put too fine a point on it, horrible.  Whilst the temperature is not too bad, there’s a brisk wind blowing and it’s persisting down, so we’ve been doing inside jobs today.  Writing the blog, doing the accounts, changing over toilet pumps.  What we’ve not been doing is wandering round this lovely city ‘cos it’s too wet and horrid.  Can’t always have it our own way I suppose.  Right, that’s enough for the time being.  I’ll take a couple of photos to show you all the new berth and then get on and post this for you all to enjoy.

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