The excitement of returning to the boat is always tempered by the anticipation of discovering what damage the ravages of winter have wrought on it’s fragile little shell and all its precious contents. Outside it’s always a bit reminiscent of a compost heap, having spent nine freezing months beneath a small stand of terribly messy trees, and even though it seems like only an hour or two since we last made new tie downs for our covers it’s time to start again, and there’s a strange truth that’s dawned about our life aboard: we seem to spend all of our cruising time thinking about and preparing to pack up next time.
We go to great lengths each year to minimise any impact of mildew and humidity and even during the times when the boat is being craned ashore, by carefully packing things in bags and stowing them securely. By and large this works quite well although sadly this time there was no saving my panama hat, which having mysteriously escaped the plastic bag and clove oil treatment had transformed in our absence into some sort of writhing mass of black and green fur.
While in the normal course of events it’s all quite fun rediscovering the contents of of these neatly stacked bags, when all one wants to do is make a cup of tea, or change into one’s shorts to start attacking the mess outside, there’s absolutely no way of knowing where those things may be found. We could spend hours making lists while we packed of course, but where would the fun be in that?
The lovely owners of the Hotel Pages in Lunéville understood this problem and addressed it in a most satisfying way we thought. There, not quite in the centre of the mirror in our newly renovated hotel bathroom, but nonetheless exactly where one had to duck to see one’s own reflection was a little sticker which read “The hairdryer is located in the wardrobe.”
Had there actually been a wardrobe in our room, that note may have been quite useful.