I had parked the motorhome at the old quay, in a field I now think they mowed for me to be out of the way of the big lorries that bring the corn. I drove to the new quay where a barge without ship was being loaded under a cloud of dust. Crew members leaning on rails smoking and getting covered in the flour like dust; reminding me of Apply’s Flour mill in Bootle, next to the canal where I used to play as a boy, near Liverpool.
I got up early, cleaned the blood streaks off the ceiling over the bed where I had murdered several of the blood sucking beasts that had managed to get past all the defences I had set up. During the night I had been woken several times by mosquitoes whining in my ear to let me know they had injected me with liquid itching powder and sampled my haemoglobin. My battle plan was to have my powerful torch to hand and dazzle the nocturnal marauders to make them land; then splat, smear, sleep, flat battery: whiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnneeeeeeeee; torch, no light, bite. Dam.
5.30 am the sun is up, the sky is blue, its 22.5°c in the shade and the batteries are running down for keeping the computer going.
Ablutions done. Breakfast done, well done actually fried egg rolls, real HP brown sauce made in Holland, and several cups of coffee. The internet was on, so I got out all the cards from people who want to keep in contact with me and copied their email address into my contact list; a job that took a great deal of time.
Once finished I typed a brief message to all of them and successfully sent it off. I haven’t mentioned the dozens of times the connexion was cut and the data I had loaded lost. My philosophy towards machines that don’t work is that they take up too much of the cosmos and should be returned to atomic particles.
The temptation to thump the computer was only just resisted by telling myself it wasn’t the dumb beasts fault, but the server which was out of destructions range.
Congratulations on the christening of the AmaViola.
I would like to thank the Captain of the AmaViola, his crew and the European Branding Manager for the invitation to travel and film with the Amaviola, and to document the final preparations she underwent before taking on board her first passengers in Amsterdam two days afterwards.
Waking up to itchy ears, burning patches on feet that had been exposed during the night and the sound of a sit on mower running over gravel hit me all at once, the moment I opened my eyes. I needed coffee, and something to wipe off the blood splats (my blood) left by me swatting mosquitoes around the inside of the motorhome.
I looked out side to see the German ship had gone, the Granex 2 still in place and one of the workers wizzing around on his sit on mower, now actually cutting grass.
I left the quay early and went back to the old one. The Granex 2 had been moved from one jetty to the next one; a ship which had been anchored upstream had changed places with the Granex and was being loaded. I had a brief chat with Lucian who asked me how far the town was and if there was a Tesco as he needed some supplies and cigarettes. I offered to take him, and he said he would let me know when he was ready.
I went to speak with the captain of the other ship who told me he was going to Vienna and then Regensburg. This was not true, the night watchmen had asked the dock boss for me who was going where. I politely said thank you for the very kind offer of the life but I was going the other way. I can never understand why people cannot just tell the truth. ‘I don’t want to take you with me, so I won’t’ is much better than lies, the result is the same only one does not deserve respect.
Apart from this being a special day numerically, Sunday was like a Sunday should be. I pottered around the motorhome, charged batteries and did a little exploring around. Daniel, the captain of the two ships in the next dock came along for a chat. He invited me to park next to his ship to use his generator to charge up all my larger batteries. He also agreed to let me use the on board washing machine; something I was very grateful for as it is a big problem in countries that don’t have laundrettes (that I could find). Continue reading “The Journey – Day 80”
Out of bed before the alarm and feeling determined to get something done. As usual this would be writing blogs and recording video files and wiping memory cards for more filming. I have a horror of hitting the erase button, even though I know I have stored everything on two hard drives. Wiping off originals is nerve wracking and I check all is well on the hard drives to be sure.
I thought that the dock would be quiet today, being the week-end. Not at all; not only were those who had spent the night there, myself included, there were workers turning up in various vehicles, not seemingly a part of the dock team and I wondered what they were doing. I don’ want to write about it here, nor have I filmed the activities of these people.
I was ready to go a 6pm; the crew wasn’t. The sun rose through a low mist over the river which made the distant shoreline cranes look spectacular, like a Turner painting. The mist cleared a little and by the time the ship was underway the sun was warm enough for me to sit outside comfortably and simply enjoy the view, gladly exchanging cigarette smoke for the diesel fumes from the engine exhaust.
The morning wore on and the scenery became spectacular. I filmed, and eventually returned to the wheel house as the wind grew stronger and it was unpleasant to stay outside. Where the river turned into a head wind, moderate waves formed and bounced the ship around, visibly bending it and sending it off in different directions when as it changed. I took more notes and filmed outside as we went straight through Bratislava. Continue reading “The Journey – Day 78”
I had an instant desire to smash my phone when it innocently did as I had told it to do and set off its alarm function; exactly at the time I had set. I resisted the temptation and got out of bed instead.
The crew of the Gravex 2 were nicely still in bed, which gave me the time to set up my travel bag and have several cups of coffee. I went to the Banana and struggled with it against the flow of the river, stumbling on the snake filled loose, slippy rocks and tree branch snags until hot and sweaty I got the Banana next to the quay. The crew emerged, had their cigarettes and set to putting the Banana on deck. Time for one more coffee and make arrangements for the motorhome, get my bags and climb on board.