Mad March Hare Days

andromeda of plymouth
Susan and Andrew Wilson
Mon 5 Apr 2010 07:32
Mad March Hare Days with a net

By not stepping back quickly enough we found ourselves volunteered to be
Net controllers for the week (for the Lagos Navigators) whilst Terry and
Barbara were away. So promptly at 9.30 am on Monday 1st March Andrew
opened the radio mike to start his broadcast. This involved reading a
researched weather forecast we had put together for the week and giving a
roundup of the social activities going on in and around the marina and
Lagos. Feedback was quickly given with a note that it had to be a record
time of only 8 minutes! Friday it was Susan’s turn and initially all went
well until she relaxes into her role and kicked the power off and was busy
broadcasting only to herself and Andrew, ooops. As the power was off she
couldn’t hear another boat trying to tell her that they couldn’t hear her
but she very professionally went back on air and apologised and finished
the broadcast and even with the hiatus apparently still did it in 8
minutes as well, somehow we think that John Humphries needn’t be worried
about his job. Interestingly an invitation to come by later to pick up the
Atlantic situation resulted in no takers!
Our other excitement of the week was taking out the water tank. After much
deliberation and thought we let Ron (from Silver Cloud) onto Andromeda
complete with a really big hammer and he proceeded to loosen the tank from
under the port side saloon seats. Andrew’s face was a picture to behold as
Ron wielded the hammer (and a very sharp chisel inches from the water on
the other side of the hull) but all was well and with the additional help
of Andy from Kodiak the tank was soon sitting on the pontoon.
Unfortunately there were no proper trolley’s to be had to transport the
tank to the boat yard but Susan spotted an abandoned Pingu Doce trolley
and this was put to good use. We tried to quietly take the tank along the
road but that was impossible, you could hear us coming from miles away
with the combination of shopping trolley, cobbles and a 200 litre
stainless steel water tank, really it was a bit deafening. Anyway the tank
was delivered to the boatyard where all of a sudden various workmen
appeared to wonder at it. We were informed several times that they didn’t
make them like that in Portugal and we explained that Andromeda was over
30 years old and this was an original tank. Still much muttering.

The following day we were back off to the UK, this time on the evening
flight, which had good and bad points. The good, we didn’t have to get up
at 5am to get the train, the bad, well mainly we got into Gatwick so late
it was a big scramble to get the last direct train to Reading, which we
did catch but Susan had retrieved the wrong journey tickets from the
machine in the rush and so we had to pay again......well at least we
caught the train.
We only had just over two weeks back and it was a bit of a rush, having
said hello to Jenny and Paul we were then off to Poole to pick up the
trusty car from Marie and Derek’s home where they have been looking after
it (thank you so much). We managed to see Susan’s Mum and Dad for a cup of
tea and a chat then the following morning it was off to the chandlers
before going to see Andrew’s Mother which included some tennis on the Wii.
Wednesday it was time to head back to Reading via Ikea – unbelievably we
were only in the store 30mins if that (I am sure Andrew put something in
Susan’s tea that morning). Then it was back to Reading again. The next day
was spent finding a bigger cases to take back the underwater camera we had
ordered as well as all the other stuff we planned to get. It was also time
to get ready for the ARC seminar in Guildford.
The seminar proved very interesting with lots of information and talks and
the opportunity to spend some more money on a really nice big downwind
sail. Actually Susan could have spent a small fortune and that was only
on a cooker. We met a few folk who are going to be on the ARC this year
but not as many as we thought we would and we came out with a long list of
stuff to check and sort out but, on reflection, there isn’t a huge amount
we haven’t done already.
On the way back home to Reading we picked up some more up to date charts
from Alan in Farnham, thank you very indeed, we will enjoy using them when
we get to the Caribbean.
Once back in Reading we had another busy week, visiting Lisa and her
lovely new baby Mackenzie – (she looks so like her dad ) for a cuddle and
shopping for the long list of items we wanted to take back with us as well
as all the usual stuff you need to do. Susan managed to catch up with her
dancing friends (good luck with the show in May) and also popped into
school and chatted with the Staff and Pupils at Southcote Primary (hope
you are having a good Easter break). Then Thursday Andrew was abandoned
when Susan went up to London to meet Sue from Westcliffe and her friend
Jean. After a lovely leisurely lunch in Covent Garden and a brief wander
around some shops it was off the theatre to see MAMMA MIA. It was great,
the atmosphere was electric and the cast were really brilliant. The set is
so cleverly designed that you are transported to Greece and guess who was
first on her feet at the end when an opportunity presented itself to have
a bop........
Saturday saw us getting together with Phil and Ruth, Liz, Chris, Alice and
Isaac and Jenny and Paul were there too. We walked into town and Susan
and Alice had a great time singing and dancing all the way (Mamma Mia of
course)-(its great having grandchildren) and Susan got to take Alice to
Hobbicraft to get some bits to decorate an Easter bonnet. Sunday we had a
lovely walk to the park, watching the half marathon runners on the way
back to a pub lunch before playing all afternoon with Alice and Isaac.
Monday morning everything was packed up ready for our return before we
went into town again and after lunch headed back to Poole for more tea and
cakes with Susan’s M & D and visiting Chris, Liz , Alice and Isaac in the
caravan they were staying in for the week. Marie, Derek and Alfie were
very hospitable and once again provided us with a comfy bed for the night.
Tuesday we went to Ferndown to see Andrew’s Mum but were interrupted by a
call to do a mercy dash and take Marie to casualty as she had (we
subsequently found out) badly sprained her foot. This was followed by a
trip to see Alice and Isaac for the last time this visit and a walk in the
pouring rain (singing again I hasten to add) to the beach to dig in the
sand for a short time. We were absolutely soaked to the skin but all too
soon it was time to get the train back to Reading again.
We spent about 3 hours in Reading, drying off a bit, making some calls and
picking up our bags before we set off on the 23.35 train to Gatwick.
Since we’ve been back we have retrieved and refitted our newly repaired
water tank and then have moved to Siberia, otherwise known as O Pontoon
because of the distance to the showers. However as we are now out of
contract we won’t complain too much. We are being hauled on Monday to
check a few things before Andrew’s Mother, Ian and Kaz arrive for a few
days – looking forward to that.
We have also been saying goodbye to the many friends we have made over
the past six months – many folks contracts ended in March so there is a
general scattering of people to the four corners. Some will stay a few
extra months but it has been wonderful meeting so many interesting
individuals with their stories, plans and dreams. We hope to meet a few
on our journeys in the future – fair winds to all.
Susan’s line dancing continues to go from strength to strength – whilst
she was away a couple of her regulars took responsibility for some of the
dances so folks could continue to enjoy the regular Tuesday afternoon
sessions. From a start of 3 or so Susan had 19 folks this week –
absolutely fantastic and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves including a
couple from Belgium. What will the marina do in May?
Next month will be very busy and we are planning a trip to Gibraltar for
May to pick the new downwind sail – pictures and more detail in due
course. In the meantime temperatures are nearing 20C and the sun is
shining far more than in the past 6 months. Officially this last winter
was the wettest since 1870 – and can’t we testify to that!
More in due course.
Susan & Andrew
S/Y Andromeda

P.S. There is another Andromeda registered for the ARC – we are registered
as Andromeda of Plymouth just in case folks are somewhat confused. In
addition, in breaking news, Andrew’s cousin, Chris Wilson, is also doing
the ARC this year, but on a larger yacht, - so many Wilson’s at sea all at