Hello from 48.39N, 11.00W

Rick, Helen, Sue, John
Sat 30 Aug 2014 16:15
We’re now more or less level with Ushant (NW France) so we’re very much in the Western Approaches.  All’s well on board but the breeze has failed us.  Bloody Weather Gods.  One minute you’re in half a gale, next there’s ‘nary a puff and we’re back with the Yanmar – shugger, shugger, shugger.  And, of course, that half gale has left the sea in hell of a mess with a large swell running so we’re practically rolling our beam ends under every time there’s a larger than normal wave.
The baking day:
I would not claim that it was an overwhelming triumph.  I started with Breadmix.  (Normally you just mix flour, water, salt and yeast in roughly the right proportions, give it all a good stir and off you go.)  Anyway I used the Breadmix.  The packet itself was brick-like to begin with (perhaps it has got a bit damp having been aboard for some time) and this gave a hint as to how the final product would turn out after baking.  It resembled a substance you might have considered using in heavy industry supposing you could actually lift it).  I believe its true that during the construction of a ship the entire weight of the vessel is borne by blocks of specially chosen hardwood.  The product I made yesterday would be a ‘green’ alternative to these rare timbers.  As a means of conveying butter and jam ‘twixt plate and mouth, however, it lacked appeal.  In a moment of mild vexation I lobbed it over the side.  Only later did it cross my mind that this action might have seriously endangered, say, a whelk wondering over the seabed, three miles down.
I’ve started another loaf this morning using the traditional method (prayer) so will report back later.
Speaking of tea I see that we now have the American version of Twinnings Earl Grey Tea on board.  In Britain, if you want a cuppa, you shove the recommended number of teabags into a pot (or put one into each cup/mug) add boiling water, wait a bit, give it a stir and, if going down the made-in-mug route, use the spoon to hoick out the bag.  The American system is similar except (A)the tea has no flavour whatsoever (perhaps a hint of soap in the farewell) and (B )the bloody bag comes complete with its own sachet, a piece of string tied thereon and a nifty piece of card at the end of that with a description of what's in the bag.  So if we’re going down the brew-in-the-pot route, and assuming we’ve managed to open and discard the sachet, we’re then facing the prospect of infusing the delicate flavour of ‘specially selected, hand picked, rare teas’ with some string and a piece of shiny card.  Do not, by the way, under any circumstances, try to remove the string by pulling.  This activates a tiny explosive charge they put inside the bag and you’ll have minute dust-like particles of tea (or whatever it is) all over the shop.  End of rant.
Well, we’re plugging along here.  From the chart-plotter I see that we have less than 300 miles to go and if we can keep going like this we should be in the Tamar late on Monday night.  I think we’ll make Bishop’s Rock Lighthouse (off the Scillies) tomorrow night which will be our landfall.  Today – awkward swell notwithstanding – its back to t-shirts and shorts, thanks primarily to a small high pressure system we have sailed into.  The other side of that coin is, of course no wind.
STOP PRESS.  Just having a communal beer in the cockpit (in contravention of our previously stated position) when 3 + Bottle-nosed whales motored by.  (Heading, no doubt, for the warm waters, relaxed lifestyle and cheap drinks available in the Azores.)
More if and when it occurs.......
Love from four shipmates ready for a steak.  And red wine.  On a table that doesn't bloody roll through 40 degrees every 20 seconds.
PS.  Many thanks to the Midlands reader for you good wishes and kind enquiry.  No, we’re not quite at the drinking-each-others-pee stage just yet.