Looking back to March 2007
This time last year we had just moved onto CAPE in Aberystwyth. David was working flat out to get the
boat ready to leave (with Lawrence’s help), I was going full-steam ahead
to finish a project (for a change!), and packing and unpacking lockers for fun.
We were wondering where we would be in a year… (oops, New Year’s resolution was
not to use…).
Here in March 2008, we are gearing up to leaving Portimão after a
winter in Portugal. I am still going full-steam
ahead to finish a project (not too bad now – light at the end of the tunnel with
this one) and David is still working on the boat and doing stuff with the kids.
A lot of the boat bits are coming together – all of the things that we ordered
months ago have arrived and are getting fitted, and for once, the jobs list is
actually shrinking not growing!
Looking back over the past 12 months, I am relieved that we have not
only NOT sunk, but have found our way from Wales to Ireland to Spain to Portugal (big responsibility when you
are the navigator – I should know). We have had a whale of a time, survived
numerous ‘technical hitches’, cuts, bruises and weaver fish stings, celebrated a
round of birthdays, managed to juggle finances to stay afloat, and had a great
trip back to the UK (in February – who CHOOSES to visit the UK in
February???!!!). We have met some amazing people – some of whom will be friends
for the rest of our lives.
I am still
emptying and restuffing lockers for rest and relaxation. I've done all of the
first aid stuff. This was a pretty major task because when we moved out of our
house onto the boat, I just emptied a huge airing cupboard/medicine cabinet into
boxes and put it all on the boat (where it took up quite a lot of precious
locker space). Sorting through it all now, I have chucked at least a litre of
out-of-date Calpol), and we still
have enough medicated sore throat lozenges and Anusol to sink a Portuguese
Man’o’War (I don't even remember buying these!!!). We have 5 hot water bottles,
but I couldn't bring myself to throw any of these away... (I'm sure there's some
psychological significance in that!). Yesterday I tackled the main galley
lockers and ditched all of the furry green utensils (anything with a wooden
handle that I couldn't scrape all of the mould off), one of three sets of
scales, and half a dozen pint glasses that we never use. At the moment it all
looks very neat and tidy, but we can't find anything 'cos I moved it all
St David’s day and other
We celebrated St David’s day by making Welsh cakes (Ruby’s recipe) on
David’s (paternal) Grandmother’s inch-thick cast-iron bakestone. This is a
family heirloom that is at least 100 hundred years old (no pressure there then)!
It weighs a ton (OK, perhaps that is a slight female exaggeration), but it will
be useful as a second anchor should we ever need one. Once I had brushed off the
rusty bits, got it nice and hot and oiled it, it was fine.
Bryn ‘doing a Delia’.
Bethany ‘doing a
Welsh cakes cooking on the second anchor – sorry, antique bakestone
(that reminds me, must scrub that grotty bit at the back of the
David and Nancy (ONS JOOL) presented us with a leek. Being a thrifty
boat, we sacrificed it and ate it the next day, recycled into a good
old-fashioned Welsh Thai curry (waste not, want not and all that…).
Big Chef, Little Chef
On the cooking front, we have instituted (rather I suggested one
drunken moment and the children thought that it was a wonderful idea so we
couldn’t back out) one night a week to be the children’s turn to cook (it seemed
like a good idea after a couple of cartons of vino tinto and a spag bol…OK!).
How long this tradition continues depends on the adults’ nerve, as teaching an
8- and (almost) 10-year-old to slice onions is more than any parent can
reasonably deal with. I have to say that David was assistant cook to Bryn on
Green Thai Chicken Curry the first week and I hindered Bethany on Spag’ Bol’
sauce the following week and no digits were lost or eyes poked out. So far the
results have been so good that it’s turning into 2 nights a week!
“You hold the onion, Dad, and I’ll chop it”.
“Look – no
managed to buy a pair of decent trainers that deal with my dropped arch (old
dancing injury – don’t ask), so I am power-walking nearly every other day (about
2 miles, either as a power walk or to the supermarket) to counteract the sitting
still for a lot of the day working. To negate all of this exercise, I'm doing
lots of cooking and baking. When we were in the UK, my niece
Molly cooked some lovely lemon slices and I was so impressed with them that I
copied the recipe to bring back. Unfortunately I misread the recipe (not all my
fault – we need a new bulb in the light above the cooker – it's like the black
hole of Calcutta in the galley and I'm contemplating having to use a head torch
to have enough light to cook by) so used 1 cup of lemon juice instead of 1/2 cup
(I thought it seemed a lot of lemon juice at the time...). Anyway, to try to
deal with this huge volume of lemon juice, I added 2 extra eggs and a small
handful of sugar... (I like to be accurate). I cooked it slowly (as slow as the
boat oven would let me – as noted previously, it does F-hot and off) and we
ended up with a divine lemon curd tart (nicknamed the ‘tarty tart’), which I
will try to recreate another day and possibly put into the cook book (you
remember…101 things to do with a dead
Continuing the cooking theme, we are currently following Keith,
Annie, Lucy, Sam and Maddie’s 3-month trip to all points east by sticking pins
in their current location on our chart of World Sailing Ship Routes, and having
Thai curry variations at every opportunity.
children are growing up
have finally learned how to boil the kettle and are making themselves hot
chocolate (with squirty cream) every morning. I got the option of squirty cream
in my tea on Mother's Day...
One day Bryn will grow into the luminous green pencil that he has
stuck behind his ear (copies his dad).
Hugo Boss, (the yacht not the aftershave) the current holder of the
world yacht distance record of 500 miles in 24 hours was moored at the end of
our pontoon for a day or two – long enough for the kids to introduce themselves
to the crew and to be invited onboard to have a good root around. Bryn has been
making LEGO Hugo Boss’s ever since…
The 6 Nations continues and David never tires of baiting Mike (TENGY)
about England’s form (or lack thereof). Did
I mention that Wales won the Triple Crown and the Grand Slam? Whether Wales win or lose, I
still end up a rugby widow every time they lace up their boots and run out onto
the pitch with a large egg under one arm… Isn’t Easter early this