Living aboard at Belon

Sat 30 Jun 2012 16:55
We are moving on again, just as soon as the tide is high enough to see us safely across the bar out into the sea, away from this sheltered little river we've been calling home for a few days.

We feel like we've got to know it. There's over 4m tidal change here so simply finding places where we can get ashore and know we won't come back to find the dinghy high and dry has been an adventure. At low tide the river looks as if it almost disappears just around the bend above us, it's not even navigable in the dinghy, and all the little creeks and bays dry completely. Which is when the locals appear with buckets and spades collecting.. well anything that squirms really, some for the cooking pots, some for bait. I've eaten things here that I've never eaten before - black periwinkles pulled out with a pin, spiralling up in a soft imitation of the shell they just left, surprisingly tasty!

The mornings we spent doing odd jobs around the boat. We topped up the water tank before setting off again for Spain, six 20l jerry cans: into the dinghy, across the river, onto the slip way, up to the tap, filled, back to the dinghy, then the tricky bit: up from the swaying dinghy onto the deck before being carefully emptied into the tank. When you carry two cans (about 42Kg) down the slip way to be transferred into the dinghy, you feel it pull down, not just through your arms, but through your whole body, your shoulders, your back. And when you put them down, your arms want to rise up all on their own, and your step feels lighter as if your whole body is floating a little. It made me mindful of all the people of the world who don't have fresh water, who have to carry it for miles. It also made me even more careful of our water: getting the worst off in sea water first, using the last lot of washing up water to pre-rinse the next lot and so on.

The afternoons we spent walking. It's feels rather like a lush warm Scotland here. Red granite bubbling up through the hills, heather, gorse and broom brightening the landscape. But it's been in the mid seventies (what's that? 25 or so in 'new money'?) so a warmer Scotland. We've really enjoyed exploring: first following footpaths along the river out and round the headlands, then cutting back using the lanes to find our way back again. We made an expedition to find a shop (just the fish market and cafés in the port)and found one after a couple of miles walking inland. We were very glad to be offered a lift most of the way back with our full shopping bags by a fellow boat owner. They had seen us on the river, the only British boat there, and guessed we'd be glad of a ride.

The only thing rather Scotland like that I haven't enjoyed have been the bites. I guess it's because we're on a river, but some little buzzy things have been biting me - ignoring Phil however. Horrid itchy lumps, they start as, but develop into a blister surrounded by red.. well, out came the Avon 'Skin so Soft' spray, reputed to be the most amazing insect repellant known to woman kind (barring DEET!). Now was the time to test it... and it seemed to work, no more bites last night, but then again the 'Thursday Front' (Yep, another one..) passed over last night and it rained, so maybe that was why.

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