Sarah Ann Hall

Reporting on writing in progress or, more probably, not.

Archive for the ‘Oddball boaty things’ Category

Gurgle, swirl, drip, slap, splash, swish, trickle, wave, plash, twinkle, surge, crash, whoosh, dribble.

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It has been an interesting few days on the water. Our bed is level with the water line so we have listened to the river’s spasmodic dance (see post title) as it rushes towards the sea. Over the weekend, with the drop in temperature and river levels, we lay listening to the anchor chain creak and moan. And then it started raining again….

The last few days in pictures:

The village moor, 29/11/12.

The village moor, 29/11/12.

Getting on and off the boat, 29/11/12.

Getting on and off the boat, 29/11/12.

Grass under ice, 30/11/12.

Grass under ice, 30/11/12.

The village moor, 30/11/12.

The village moor, 30/11/12.

Home, 2/12/12.

Home, 2/12/12.

The village moor, 2/12/12.

The village moor, 2/12/12.

Written by Sarah Ann

December 3, 2012 at 10:44 am

Thames update…

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It’s still rising.

Apparently river levels will peak in Oxford in two days, which means they will peak with us the day after.

Below are a couple of photos from this morning. Levels have risen a further 3-inches during the day. The good news is, it’s stopped raining.

 

The dead tree on the left is usually 2-feet above the water.

 

Mooring pins secured (?) in the meadow/ marsh.

 

Written by Sarah Ann

November 28, 2012 at 8:26 pm

Water, water, every where…

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Editing continues slowly but surely. Chapter 3 was, previously, a small chapter I was pleased with. Now it’s a small chapter I’m not sure about. My head is all over the place and I really want to get this edit done so I can circulate the manuscript to some willing readers for their feedback. I’m halfway through Chapter 5 (so far, so good) and now enrolled on another intensive study course, so work on the third draft is moving slower than a drunken snail.

This time I’m working towards my European Computer Driver Licence – don’t ask why they call it that. There is an awful lot of revision of what I already know (and repetition in the course materials), but I am learning new stuff. I’ve also been thinking about enrolling on a CELTA course and am in the middle of the pre-interview task. Anyone for the present continuous? Naming grammatical objects was doable; anything other than a simple tense, I’m bamboozled by. Yet, re-reading this paragraph I’ve realised I just used the present continuous – I’ve been thinking. So there you go.

The dim and dismal weather is causing light issues, which in turn causes power issues – cloud is no good for charging batteries via solar panels. But the wind has been up, causing the wind generator to howl like an incontinent ghost as it trickle charges. The sun showed its face briefly on Thursday and Sunday.

 

The Sun, 22/11/12

 

Sunday morning, 3am, hubby and I donned waterproofs and life jackets to go outside to re-pin the boat after the wind blew her stern out. The ground is very wet (i.e., a marsh) and the pins didn’t hold. Thankfully, the bow pins are longer and firmer so we didn’t float off down river and hit the steel road bridge half a mile behind us. Since then the river has continued to rise and we’re in wellies, as the paths beyond the meadow are 6-inches under water. Our friendly mooring inspector has provided us with scaffolding poles to drive into the riverbed just in case the water overtops. Today we’ve twisted in ground spikes to add to the pins to stop us floating away.

Thanks to Samuel Taylor Coleridge and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner for my title.

Written by Sarah Ann

November 27, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Be careful what you wish for!

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I rescue a black slug from the gunwale one day, and find a brown one squelching across the back deck another. Do slugs change colour? Maybe dependent on diet? Because something’s definitely been at my peas.

 

Pods without the peas.

Written by Sarah Ann

August 9, 2012 at 9:14 pm

We’re all going on a summer holiday…

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The river levels had dropped, we’ve left the car behind and set off upriver. By moving in the morning and mooring late lunchtime, we have managed to avoid most of the showers. We spent the weekend moored next to the farmland of an old psychiatric hospital – the land has run to meadow and the French chateau inspired-hospital is being developed into apartments surrounded, unfortunately, by institutional new housing.

 

 

We have been waking in the mornings to silence – no cars, no trains and, surprisingly, no birds. Snails and slugs are still in their element. Friday, I found a slug wandering across the gunwale as I walked to the bows to rope up in a lock. On my journey back to the stern I picked it up and put it in a safe place so I could release it on land later. I had my eye on it and knew where it was for ages, and then it disappeared. Now I worry it’s in a damp spot starving somewhere and I’d be relieved to find it munching on my few remaining pea plants.

We walked and walked over the weekend and found only damson and sloe bushes devoid of fruit. The hawthorn bushes were doing well, so the birds won’t starve this winter, but they will be on a limited diet. Yesterday, a little further upstream, walking around an area completely new to us, we hit upon a couple of bullace trees. Without anything useful to carry them in, we stuffed our shirt and short pockets full – hooray for combats – and we have fresh fruit to nibble on for the next few days.

This morning, there were yellow boards back on the river and we almost ground to a halt approaching a bridge as the fast-flowing water hit us. The lock-keeper at Clifton says the weather forecast for next week is dry and hot and they will be slowing the water down in the next couple of days. The weather forecast online isn’t so positive. We’ll just have to whack up the revs and burn some diesel if we want to get to Oxford before we have to head back downstream and back to college.

 

Written by Sarah Ann

August 7, 2012 at 3:51 pm

The week started well….

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On the tube, first thing Monday morning, I was in the zone and editing well. And then I got to college and it’s been non-stop with other stuff ever since – meeting students and tutors, registering at the library, borrowing books, reading course handouts, interactive talks, brainstorming, listening, note-taking, reading library books, more note-taking and homework assignments. I know it’s an intensive course, but I’m knackered.

In a couple of months I will (hopefully) have a City and Guilds award in Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector, which: “… covers the basics of teaching in continuing and adult education – including how to plan sessions, motivate learners and use a variety of assessment methods. It’s a first step towards official practitioner status – a full licence to teach in the lifelong learning sector.” (http://www.cityandguilds.com/45858.html)

It all sounds a bit dry, doesn’t it? But I’m having so much fun! And I now know more about learning styles, the teaching cycle, meaningful learning, the feedback sandwich, and a bunch of new people.

In the meantime it’s continued to be wet in the southern part of the UK and the rain lashed countryside is collapsing under the weight of verdancy. Last week there were mowers out along our stretch of river that cut down the thigh-high vegetation. Immediately, all the snails and slugs disappeared. They reappeared in the evening, clustered on the abandoned stalks. This has carried on for days since.

 

 

Unfortunately, whenever we leave the boat now, we are continually apologising to the latest snail we have failed to miss with our wellies.

Written by Sarah Ann

July 18, 2012 at 11:40 pm

Excuse#16 The weather

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The sun is out this morning, but I’ve learnt not to trust it. It shone on Monday morning and soothed me into thinking I could get on – fitting jobs in between the downpours is a task in itself. So I stood, sanding-block in hand, ready to rub down and oil the last side of the wheelhouse. There was a puff of wind, it began to drizzle and twenty seconds later we were under the latest rain front. Not to be thwarted, I used the dull light that remained for the rest of the day to wash down the walls in the bathroom and bedroom. The study floor is still stacked with books waiting to go back on shelves.

This morning, while hubby attends the last day of college, I sprayed the knots emerging through the old paintwork with stain block. At 8am I was starving, after having finished a healthy-sized bowl of porridge with banana and apricots only an hour previously. Why do paint fumes do this to me? Hubby gets a headache (hence me doing the smelly work while he’s out). A nursing friend gets as high as a kite. Me? I just think of my stomach. It’s the topcoat tomorrow and the books go back on the shelves Friday.

A wildlife update: we are inundated with moths. Whether this has anything to do with the weather, I don’t know. Living on a river does expose us to all sorts of fauna and, normally in June, we experience a couple of weeks of moth invasion, but this year is exceptional. I found some nestling behind books and pictures as I removed them to clean walls in the bedroom. If these moths, that flit across our faces as we try to sleep, are related to the clothes-eating variety, then we’ll be lucky to find a jumper to wear come autumn.

On the editing front, all is well. I hope to have finished with Pippa’s story by the end of today and will print the other chapters afterwards – if the sun stays out and gives me enough amps to drive the ancient, power-hungry printer. It’s been good to learn that all my scribbled on notes, disjointed arrows and text changes, do make sense when I go back to them after a break. My course in Preparation for Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector runs Monday to Friday next week. I’ll be staying with mum-in-law in London and getting the bus and Tube into college. From the experience of travelling to my interview, this will be an ideal opportunity to get on with more editing.

On the paid-editing front, the company I signed up with last year hasn’t sent any work since March. They emailed mid-June to ask if I’d like to join a team of daily editors, and haven’t been in touch since. I answered another advert on gumtree this week, filled in an application form, and received a positive reply. The email and website could both do with a bit of editing. In some places the English used suggests it has been translated by software from Chinese. Do I point this out and suggest corrections, or wait until I’ve done some work for them first?

It’s 9am. Despite sitting outside and breathing lots of fresh air, I’m still hungry. I’m off to search out a slice of bread and butter before getting Pippa to the end of her tale.

Written by Sarah Ann

July 11, 2012 at 9:08 am

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