13th April 2020
Malpas, Falmouth, UK 50 14.00 N 5 01.11 W
Modern life is all about convenience and taking as little time as possible to complete every task. Magically endless water runs out of taps, washing machines silently churn in the background, as deliveries from supermarkets and Amazon simply turn up at your door. On Ruffian we have given up on these conveniences and now every task extends for as long as that task needs and tasks that would never have previously not even made it onto a task list become critical.
With the world going Covid crazy Fiona figured that we should get onto the facemask bandwagon. In previous times she would have ‘nipped’ out and bought some or hopped online and they would have turned up the next day. The task would have taken minutes. In this new world, out came Fiona’s creativeness, the sewing machine, and antifoul respirator filters. Within a mere couple of hours facemasks had been produced, which matched the curtains on Ruffian, and we were now ready to face the massed hordes and their Covid plague in town again.
Into town we ventured. The old convenience of cars and car parks gone. In their place was trusty Brock, his big engine and a long dinghy ride. The convenience however of shopping had been removed from one and all. Strict queues snaked through the car park, dots marked appropriate places to stand and a quiet calmness seemed to descend upon all those we saw. Maybe he convenience of modern life was proving to be overrated and the calmness people were experiencing was due to taking the slow lane.
Some things we see in modern life are not even a convenience, they are seen as completely normal and water running out of taps is one of them. On Ruffian running water is a luxury and although our watermaker happily chugs away we are making water from the Fal river whose water sometimes looks more like soup. We had to do something about this and we’d spied free accessible water.
Just down River a pontoon offered free water, but there were signs everywhere that the pontoon should only be used by ferries. Finally we’d found a benefit of the Covid lockdown! The ferries were not running and so we could fill with water, flush the water maker with clear water, and for a short time revel in the convenience of running water.
Life in the slow lane has not only impacted the chores on Ruffian. It’s also impacted out daily exercise. With the wind disappearing and the sun shining, running was replaced by paddleboarding. Paddleboarding was described to us as taking a walk on water, but with an added element of risk.
The risk is that if you fall over on a walk you just pick yourself up. If you fall over while paddleboarding, you’ve got to remount your steed and then freeze as the soupy river water cools you.
Fiona took this level to risk to a whole new level by approaching Ruffian at speed, whereby her board stopped, and she carried on. There was no splash, no cry of cold, no splattering of water. Fiona, with the luck of old harry and the grace of ballerina she’s managed to simply drop to her knees. A move that would be impossible to pull off if one tried.
The activity of paddleboarding is new to the storks, herons, fish and gulls that line the banks of the river Fal. With not a sound to be heard apart from the gentle lap of a paddle entering the water you can sneek up to the wildlife and they take no notice. Life in the slow lane had clearly reached them as they picked worms out from the mud and foraged for food without a care in the world or any traffic on the river to think about.
Although life is slow on Ruffian we lack many of the conveniences of modern life we have one convenience that many do not have. The convenience to take our home with us where ever we go. We just hope that life in the slow lane will start moving soon and our home can move to new shorelines.
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