On Wednesday morning we awoke to find a good 1/2 inch of snow covering the boats, docks and park lands and any vehicle which was left outside. It was of excitement to Rhonda who had never experienced anything like this so for the first time she was up and dressed ready to accompany Harry and I on our walk through the park land opposite. Unfortunately, within an hour it had rained and so the snow disappeared but we are assured there will be more as it is colder than usual for this time of the year apparently but the bookies aren't buying into this and in fact have dropped the odds of us having a white Christmas from 8 to 1 to 6 to 1 so we will see who is right.
Rhonda's Comments: Sign of the Month
I think I will get this sign made up for Ken for the boat as a Christmas present. What do you think - very appropriate?
On Saturday we awoke very aware that the final All Blacks versus home unions was to take place just down the road really at Twickenham against England so as it was to be only shown on Sky unlike the three previous games against Scotland, Wales and Ireland which were on BBC TV, we needed to find a pub which would be showing it, so off we set on a mini pub crawl to our nearest main suburb and eventually went into a run down establishment. The publican said yes, I will put it on for you so we settled down in the "lounge" with a pint of Fosters shandy and a glass of Lindemans" no Kiwi beer or wine was available. He pulled down a large screen from the ceiling and away we went cheering and shouting as the Poms got dealt to. The publican only showed an interest for about the first 20 mins then retired to read his paper over at the bar.
We sure enjoyed the result and hi-fived and celebrated a clean sweep but felt a little let down when the lights went up. We had been the only two in the whole pub. Nobody else was even a bit interested to call in so I suppose the 20 pounds we spent on food and drink for the afternoon was better for him than nothing. It was a great effort on the AB's part and we were very proud of them for sure and then for Wales to deal to Australia just added to the great feeling of the weekend because as you know I only support two teams, New Zealand and anybody playing Australia.
Rhonda's Comments: Ken and the old owner Ross taking Somewhere up to Shepperton Marina.
As we have mentioned earlier in our blog, we have been unhappy with some of the way the boat has been wired and the capacity of the batteries so it was decided that the simplest way to get the work completed would be to take the boat down the Thames some 3 hours to Shepperton Marina (this suburb was famous as being one of the UK's great movie making centres, Shepperton Studios, for many years after WW2 making some of the great English classics until the mid 70s). So on Tuesday morning with the guidance of the old owner we set off down the river including 2 locks to complete the journey without incident to the marina base where the engineers have been working to get things changed so we can be worry free when we are away from shore power for long periods of time etc. It has almost been completed but the change of venue has sure been interesting and on top of that as usual at this time of the year, I got some bug or other so have been laid pretty low for about 7 days and only today have been out for a drive around the local area etc.
As the days are still drawing in, so lights are on at 3.30pm each afternoon the nights have got colder particularly over the last two days which have been crystal clear and sunny with no breeze but temps only reaching 7 or 8 degrees and the nights dropping to -2 to -7 so as a result the lagoons which link on to the main marina here have become completely iced over so to watch sea gulls and ducks trying to land and or take off is fascinating. We have had to stop Harry from chasing out onto the ice after them as well. To give you an idea of the thickness, today I threw a rock about the size of a golf ball up into the air expecting it to break the ice but it only skidded away to a stop. Amazing for us to see, however, I am sure the kiwis living in the south like Maureen and Stephen Stock who live and work in the Lake Te Anau area are pretty familiar with this sort of condition.
Even Harry is feeling the cold but of an evening he snuggles into his sleeping bag and cuddles up to "Pinky".
While here at Shepperton we met up with a couple from Sydney who had their Dutch Barge of around 18 m arrive on a transporter ready to be lifted onto the water for their adventures after having it built up north so they were pretty excited as they had actually lived on it while it was being finished for the last 5 weeks as their builders were behind schedule. If you think that is reasonable, how about this. The husband, Stewart is confined to a wheel chair as he suffers from that dreaded disease MS so they actually worked around him. He could not get off the boat apparently as the hydraulic lifting ramps were not hooked up so his chair could only be moved around in the cabin. I tell you we will moan and complain about our own lot from time to time but we don't have a problem when compared to Stewart and the amazing efforts that Lesley, his wife have to make to overcome all the difficulties of boating/barging both here and in Europe which is what they are off to do like ourselves over the next few years.
Their barge is designed beautifully to be as user friendly for disabled folk as is possible but as you can imagine they have to be able to berth at ideal locations to get Stewart off in his wheel chair and then without car or other travel assistance they must make their way around and if you think they see this as being difficult, not so, they are looking forward to it and already tackled many obstacles which would stop fully abled folk from doing things. We hope that we can keep in contact with them as we both make our way around Europe next year.
At this time we will say cheerio and send special thanks to those of you who have responded with your comments about the blog page. Particularly to those who have added their photo to "Our Followers" above as we get quite excited to see another photo added.
Kind wishes to all.