Thursday, 7 February 2008

Can living aboard and rain ever be compatible?

------ Fake chamois leather - the most useful cloth in the world on a leaking boat-----------

I never realise how much I hate the rain until it brightens up. It's a bit like having PMT: your world becomes annoying and irritating and in turn you become growly. But it is only when it is over that you recognise its cause.

One of my main concerns prior to moving onto Monty B was how I would cope with living in a small space. But it very rarely feels like a small space as part of living on a boat is recognising that the world outside is also your home. Even having the hatches open, with fresh air and sunlight flowing through the cabins, you can bring the outside, in. When it is raining, my world becomes damp, dull and enclosed. So, get out and do something I hear you say. Well, yes, I could and I do - I have two dogs afterall. However, you then have the added mood-dampener of damp dogs, wet clothes and boots and the associated indoor washing lines. Plus I've cricked my neck so can't turn my head and shouting at dogs in the wrong direction is a recipe for a sore throat.

So instead, I'm nesting and waiting for the clouds to part. There is plenty to do down below anyway but instead of continuing to work out how to instal the car stereo into our electrical system I decided to teach myself how to make good Turkish coffee. My Montenegrin teacher, Dinka, made me a spot-on cup of coffee on Monday so I bought an ibrik (coffee pot) and some local coffee. Only moments ago, I followed these instructions - - and the results looked amazingly similar to the photo at the bottom of the article. So, when I've finished this post, I'm going to have to try again. My efforts were drinkable though so this morning's activities are twofold: learning the art of Turkish coffee making and discovering how much Turkish coffee I can drink before I am a) sick or b) have a heart attack.

To double the effect, I treated myself to a bag of chocolate coated coffee beans yesterday and I am busily ploughing through them. A luxury not found (so far) in Montenegro but I made the most of my first trip to Croatia by spending a stupid amount of money in Lidl (which feels like the equivalent of going to Waitrose in the UK, compared to the offerings of the Montenegrin supermarkets - I hate to say stuff like that but I am yet to be proved wrong - if anyone wants to prove me wrong, please please do). As well as stocking up on pesto (it is 3.50euros here), coffee beans (cannot buy here) and good muesli, I also bought a pressure cooker. I "put" it under my seat on the way back and it was spotted by customs coming over the border which was potentially fraught with bureaucratic nightmares and import duty (it had taken an hour to get through the border crossing already and we were the only vehicle!) but somehow the copper was distracted and didn't get back to it.

Apparently, a pressure cooker will save us quids on gas but it will take some getting used to. I used it to make a soup last night and it was strange experience - I have never been scared whilst cooking before and it actually took far longer to make than usual (something wrong here!) as I was terrified of blowing my own head off with an exploding, heavy metal pan.

To end, I give you another example of my creativity - a new, improved and recycled drip catcher made from plastic water bottles which replaces buckets (which always get knocked over, rendering their use utterly pointless) and tupperware containers.

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