So long South Africa..

1 Feb

For now.

My three month stay is now a distant – yet not dim – memory…

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Glorious sunsets over the estuary

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Just as well because I need all the help I can get to blot out my return to the UK. I will elaborate in due course.

In case you were thinking it was all beer and skittles, and that I was having a wonderful time…

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The wild fires came way too close.

The aftermath…

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And I was bitten…

IMG-20181223-WA0000.jpgAgain. I always react badly.

The Mighty Uno showered me with rust…

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As we bumped up a mountain pass. It was in my hair too but the photographer saw fit to exclude this. I was not amused.

I should have known that something was amiss when I attempted to clear security at Cape Town airport. That moment we all dread when they take just a little too long in their scrutiny of your passport, escort you to a side room and then make you wait. And wait.

Turns out, in their estimation, I had overstayed by one day. This would result in a punishment of not being allowed to return for a year. And, upsettingly, declared an ‘undesirable person’. I may just frame the paperwork that indicates this…

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Form filling followed and I was sent on my way – reeling a little.

To me, the period between 17th October and 16th January represents three months. But, if you take a month as 31 days and times by three it makes 93 days. Count on your fingers from 17/10 to 16/01, it is 94 days, so technically one day over what is permitted. Seems harsh to me.

They gave me ten days to appeal, which I did – humbly and apologetically. Now I wait for the verdict.

Then there’s the weather. It’s bloody cold…

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In case you hadn’t noticed. Bad timing on my part but unavoidable.

Then there’s the hairbrush I lost on the plane – the one I bought to replace the one that I lost on the flight out. I’m really not suited to travel economy (who the hell is?) and find it impossible to keep myself and my belongings together.

My friend and neighbour, who kindly collected me from the airport, had to physically put me into his van. My ankles were swollen and my legs were constantly cramping, finally seizing up altogether.

He had lit the stove on Hobo though, so at least the boat was warm, allowing me some degree of comfort. Or, more accurately, I could collapse into the chair by the fire and begin my recovery, not needing to move further than the kettle, the loo, the drinks cupboard and eventually bed.

It takes a day or two for the boat to properly warm up, but an absolute eternity when the trusty Squirrel stove is, for some reason, not performing. It wasn’t. Struggling to draw, smoky and sluggish. Can only mean one thing: chimney needs sweeping, which means I have to let the fire go out.

Fortunately, this was before the current cold snap. Could have been so much worse.

I imposed on the good nature of another lovely neighbour to scrape the flue. Much easier for him to jump on the roof and wield the heavy metal tool designed to do this job, given that I was still in a state somewhere between semi-paralysis and total collapso.

Shame I forgot to close the door of the stove though, resulting in every surface inside my home being coated with filthy black soot.  Now I have to clean. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the fire box still wasn’t performing. We wrestle with the baffle plate, which did seem to improve things. A bit.

Several not-quite-warm-enough days later, I discover that the blanking plate had dropped off the back of the stove…

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The real culprit.

There was now a hole in the stove, possibly releasing potentially fatal carbon monoxide fumes!  I had no choice but to let it go out again, in the hope I wouldn’t wake up dead the following morning (even cooling embers will emit CO gas).

Again, my neighbours rallied and helped me out with an interim heat source…

IMG_20190124_151209~2.jpg Natty eh?

Clearly I survived, and was soon off in search of help in the form of an effective temporary fix, which was successful and still holding. Thank goodness. I will of course order a new one.

While all this was going on, my car spectacularly failed the MOT and some ******* had clouted one of the door mirrors and left it dangling.

Choose your favourite expletive here. I used several.

Need some cute animal pics..?

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Thought so.

Fast forward to now and all is well once more. Back to tropical temperature, warm and cosy. Car back on the road and I am returned to what passes as normal for me body-wise. Unpacking done, laundry sorted (not done) and order – more or less – restored.

Spot the driver…

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Spooky.

I’ll end the SA saga here for now, except for the occasional pics that pitch up periodically from our own correspondent.

My posts will be returning to more boatie things for a while and the next one will be on our favourite topic: toilets.

I have ordered a new one…

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It’s a composter!

No delivery date as yet but hope it’s soon. Can’t wait to tell you all about it.

One more thing… I want a boat cat. Anyone know of one that needs a lovely warm, cosy home/loving owner?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 Responses to “So long South Africa..”

  1. tmaxfilm February 1, 2019 at 9:51 pm #

    What bit you?

    • Boatbird February 1, 2019 at 9:55 pm #

      Not sure – think it was a mozzie. Some say looks like a spider bite.
      Thanks for the like!

  2. sharonelaine1 February 1, 2019 at 10:37 pm #

    Wow, wonderful pics, as usual, but cor blimey, Ann, are you OK? Really. That is some disaster saga. Laugh or cry, though, think I would cry, can’t bear to be cold!

    • Boatbird February 1, 2019 at 10:45 pm #

      Yes, it has been a tad bumpy and I have been near to years at times. Cold is my absolute worst enemy.
      On the up again now though.. xx

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