Today in history

Mystic of Holyhead (successor to Lynn Rival)
Rachel and Paul Chandler
Mon 14 Nov 2011 20:59
Our release on Remembrance Day was fitting: for us the anniversary will always be a time for reflection on how lucky we are to live in a peaceful and secure country, and those who gave their lives for it.  Also it's a time to think of all those who worked so hard for our release  - and the continuing problem of Somali piracy, the hundreds of seafarers currently in captivity.

It's been an extraordinary year of new experiences: recovering our physical fitness and coming to terms with being ex-hostages.  We didn't expect it to be easy but always knew that help was at hand if we needed it.  It is possible to be ordinary people again - most of the time.

Living in Dartmouth has been a boon.  Though far from most of our family and friends, it's been a great place to recover and with Lynn Rival in a nearby boatyard we are happily occupied with her renovation.

When we embarked on creating a book about our experiences, little did we realise what that would involve.  Writing it - even with the help of Sarah Edworthy - was challenging, but ultimately satisfying.  We both feel very happy with the result.  When we were first released so many people said they couldn't imagine what it must have been like.  We've done our best to describe what it's like to be attacked and held hostage in a lawless country.  It's sometimes a harrowing read but in other places quite comical.  Promoting the book has been another fascinating exercise, meeting people we'd never expected to in our lifetime, most recently Sir David Frost on Al Jazeera English.

We were surprised to be invited to appear before the Foreign Affairs select committee and impressed with the seriousness which they attach to our case.  For us it was another amazing event.  We've always hoped that policy lessons will be learned from what happened to us.

The weather has been quite kind to us and we're making good progress on Lynn Rival's new decks.  Almost all the new teak strips are laid and we have started the caulking.  The progress photos are not very exciting so we planned to post one of the river Dart instead.  But technical problems intervened so suggest you visit Andy Kyle's marvellous for addictive viewing of comings and goings on the river.

Next week we fly to Newcastle to help raise funds for the Tynemouth lifeboat.