Boatwif Blog

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Jeep jiggling

            “Look, we’re travelling on water, reason for another blog,” proclaimed the Captain from the rear of Joe’s yellow jeep.             We had made a return trip into the Anza-Borrego Desert and were on the first of two days exploration of the region with Joe of California Overland Desert Tours.             It was Tuesday 10th December. In the desert, travelling on water?  Well, this was a drive up...

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Night life in Borrego Springs

            It takes about two hours to drive from San Marcos, through Escondido, inland, uphill, up about four thousand feet, to crest the mountains and then descend down, down, down to a small, flat settlement.            Borrego Springs isn’t “at the end of the world but it is AT the end of the road”.  So writes the President of the Borrego Springs Chamber of Commerce.  This tiny town (regular population 3,000) is down on the flat desert plain (in deep...

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Out and about in San Diego County

            Preferred option for travel for Boatwif and the Captain is by boat (and that is the sole reference to boating in this post). Getting around here is done mainly by car or by train.             Travellers from the UK intending to drive face certain challenges. Rental (hire) cars are inevitably automatics rather than having manual gearboxes. Driving is done from the left hand side of the car but on the right hand side of the road. Local roads are...

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Afloat amid routines

           A trip to Southern California to stay with the Cal Clan involves routines:  there are the domestic routines of family life, seasonal routines and the routines that the Californian Three remember and anticipate.           At this point of the trip (a Monday morning) domestic routines dominate. It’s a ‘back to school’ day after the Thanksgiving break. Bodies out of beds at 0700; don’t dawdle over breakfast; get dressed, clean teeth, find shoes… just as in millions of school age...

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Sensory overload

           The Cal Clan’s home is about 30 miles north east of San Diego. Many times there has been a landing well after dusk, a shuffle through Immigration, Baggage Reclaim and Customs, followed by a courtesy bus trip to a car rental company and delays while paperwork and car allocation is made… This year the agony of fatigue and driving an unfamiliar vehicle at night was avoided.           “Eleventh floor,” said the hotel receptionist. “Your room overlooks the city but...

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It’s Thanksgiving season

Let us be thankful for – engines.       Overnight on Sunday had come a message from Cal Son: The children are very excited that you are coming, it said, they have been de-toying your room.       Courtesy of a friend, the Academic, the Captain and Boatwif were sped round the motorway towards Heathrow, there to catch a flight to San Diego.  The engine of the Academic’s car purred sweetly, protesting not one jot when the M25...

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Friends and Cleddaus revisited

What a difference between two Fridays!           Last Friday (25th October) good friend Les Biggs was still a patient at Watford General Hospital. There had been a very major operation, as regular readers of his and Jaq’s blog will know.  Last Friday he was attached to all sorts of medical paraphernalia – and I was witness to Matron’s deep discomfort.   A storm of protest had erupted overnight after Jaq had recounted to friends and family the terrible saga of Les’s...

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Duly delivered

           From Westport Lake to Longport Wharf involves only a very short cruise. The canal is wide, and being Stoke-on-Trent, features a bottle kiln.              Instructions were given to pass the Wharf (and the slipway),  then wind shortly afterwards to turn back to bring the bow onto the slipway.             The turnaround was all but completed when nb Smine hove into view (a further contraction from It’s...

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Briefly (3)

          It’s been Delivery Day minus 1… Ramsdell Hall railings to Westport Lake.           The dog walkers had walked the dogs and the farmer fed his cattle by the time Cleddau pulled away from the black and white railings on Friday morning. First pause was at the watering point just before Hall Green lock. This sign must have been displayed for a while (issued in the days of British Waterways) but the wording is apt.             Down then (by a...

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Briefly (2)…

          It was a good decision to start early(ish) so as to be boating ahead of the promised rain…            Away from the southern outskirts of Macclesfield by 0930, first stop the Oakgrove Swing Bridge.  The Captain lurked in mid canal while Boatwif, the Bridge Operator, went ahead. A couple of cars raced across the bridge while the right key was being selected for the control panel. Once the key is in and a finger is on the OPEN button...