Life & Travels Afloat in our Moody
To think that it was only 2 weeks ago that we said goodbye to Freebooter for the summer, and started the long journey back to the UK!
It is difficult to describe the sense of freedom of the liveaboard lifestyle, and perhaps only when you return to the ‘real world’ does it get fully appreciated. A bit like returning to writing letters again when you have been using email for the last 9 months. There is that sense of a burden falling onto your shoulders, coupled with the feeling that you are stepping back into a world that stopped when you left, and which restarts from the very same point when you return. No matter, time to move forward. It no doubt seems somewhat unfair that Annemarie has been left to address matters domestic whilst I disappeared off to the Southern Hemisphere after only a few days. No chance of overlooking this as I am reminded every evening on the Skype call. The real trial came when stepping back into a work environment after so many months afloat. Quite aside from the mental jumpstart required to re-engage any remaining brain cells, putting on a suit felt really alien, let alone shoes and socks. We were able to stick with the sandals in the UK because that week was warm, but here in Johannesburg it is anything but. This country is simply not geared up for cold weather. Forget house insulation and double-glazing, even the gaps around doors and windows that matter not in the heat suddenly take on the role of offensive weapons in July here. People take meals wearing coats and scarves, and start to talk about the nocturnal paralysis caused by heaping too many duvets on the bed. And you thought the British could moan about the weather! Transport is another challenge. On previous visits, there has not really been any need to have a car except when Annemarie came out. But 4 months is a much longer time, and for once I crave being able to get out of the city. Numerous attempts have been made to try and get a viable long term rental over the internet, but the duration so far seems to have defeated this. Not least this is because the cost is similar to that of buying a reasonable used car! Getting a motorbike is also an option, at least until one remembers the temperature. So then I started to think about looking for a classic car that I could ship back to the UK once we permanently leave SA. Old cars do not suffer here in the same way as in Europe thanks to the dry climate. I started to think about an advertised V8 MGB Roadster, but could one really face messing about trying to keep one running without my garage and tools…..? Walking to work provides exercise during the week, and so there are another few days to overcome the current transportational inertia! At least the pavement (sidewalk) decoration can make one smile, even if the missing (stolen) manhole covers don’t. The photos remind one to take care with everything from holes, rubble, trees, etc. Mind you, if you think metal theft is bad where you are, contemplate the situation where thieves have just stolen 10km of railway TRACK! Ok, it was not a main line, but it did lead to a town with the maintenance depot, stranding a load of rolling stock. The (mini)bus stop was also entertaining this morning, as the unlucky driver of the nearest one struggled manfully to try and refit the sliding door on the side of his bus. Sometimes you just have to wonder how everything keeps working here …………
ps. I forgot to mention that about 3-4 weeks ago, a district of the city had to go without power when thieves stole the electricity sub-station!!!