07/22/2013, Moffat, Scotland
I nagged and nagged my children to finish the last page of their diaries but, once they left Australia, it was official. They were on holiday and I was no longer their boat-school teacher. Hence, no need to complete their diary. I guess when they look back, in years to come, they won't be wondering what happened after Australia. They will remember, as they recall to their grandchildren, that they moved to Scotland and resumed a 'normal' life.
It was a comment left on my blog, asking if our boat was for sale, that has prompted me to do what my children refused to do and write the concluding chapter.
I miss writing a blog. When I got lost walking a dog and had to cross a river at 11pm to get home, I could have been thinking 'this is silly; no-one knows where I am and it's getting dark.' But instead, I was thinking 'this is one for the blog!'
Notice the phrase 'getting dark.' At 11pm. That surely is an indication we have re-located somewhere norther than we were before. In Australia, it would get to 6pm and BAM! It was dark. No wonder so many people took to the beach at 5am. That doesn't happen here in Britain, believe me. But we are enjoying long evenings in the summer sun. So all you Australian doomsmongers who were questioning our sanity in us returning to Scotland, I say to you: It's been sunny and gorgeous since we came home a few months ago. And, whilst the mosquitoes have been replaced by midgies, we have swum in lakes and climbed mountains (OK, only the once and my muscles are still killing as a result) and we have not been stuck indoors whilst the flood waters rise higher and higher and we get more and more miserable.
And isn't the weather a reflection of your general outlook in life anyway? When it's sunny in Britain, everyone grabs the opportunity to do something lovely, fully appreciating that it might not last. And in the winter when it snows, there are some lovely hills to snowboard down. Of course, we've met the never-happy types who are moaning that it's too hot, in spite of the fact that they were moaning about the fact that Britain had the longest winter since the ice-age only four months ago. We try not to surround ourselves with that type of person. Because they are also the types who will tell us that we won't get a job in this climate (not that one, the economic one) But we'll prove them wrong; just watch.....
The kids settled into their new school for three weeks before the summer holidays, which gave them enough time to learn some new names and obtain a few playmates over the holidays.
And for now? We are enjoying our fix of green instead of blue. We don't miss the sea just now. We are enjoying forests and rolling hills and gardening. We are seriously considering a dog. And the best thing about living in rental accommodation has to be that when the toilet broke two days after we moved in, we didn't have to open up the pipes and fix the problem ourselves. We called the landlord and he called a plumber. What's not to like about that?!
After the excitement of Langkawi, Mia, Lochy and I have settled back into life in Penang. Meeting up with Goody in the afternoon, back to the homestead late late late, making the most of the evenings out of the sun and then sleeping in late in the cool of the air conditioning! Mia managed to sleep til 10am yesterday and even Lochy slept til 9am which is unheard of! I guess it really doesn't matter what our body clocks are telling us because tomorrow we will throw them back into confusion by flying home to the UK.......to the 10 degrees of the UK. But we are prepared! We have bought trainers, our hats and scarves were washed and ready in Australia and the suitcases have been re packed with things we won't need (bikinis, flip flops, shorts etc) in the don't need to take to Jersey bag and fleeces, jeans and socks in the need as soon as we get there bag.
I experienced a pleasure pain type experience by having a Thai massage a couple of days ago. I had pulled a muscle I my neck quite badly so I knew that it wouldn't be as relaxing as normal, but yikes, I wasn't expecting an experience like that!
Pleasure: having half an hour away from the kids and walking into the most exquisite Thai spa! Pain: the sound of having a Thai lady crunch my painful shoulder muscles over my shoulder blade and laughing in a singsong voice "sorr-rry" as she sees and hears my reaction. Which, incidentally would have been much louder if there hadn't been another woman enjoying a relaxing foot rub in the chair next to me. Clearly, she hadn't pulled a muscle in her foot as it looked a most enjoyable experience.
Two days later, however, my shoulder and neck feel like there was nothing wrong in the first place, so I'm a happy (Easter) bunny.
The next pleasure pain experience was taking my kids and Johannes for a walk to the nature reserve here in Penang. It seemed like a good idea at the time and the pleasure part was hearing the kids encourage each other along in the humidity and heat by making creative storied about finding giants and dragons along the way. Seeing monkeys in the trees and enjoying the sounds of the rainforest.
The pain came in about an hour and 15 minutes into the walk when they realised they'd have to walk back and their energy flagged. Luckily half an hour later and a man came running towards us shouting not to let the kids go any further as the monkeys were grabbing bags and being aggressive.
Apparently they could also give a nasty bite, so as a gang of about ten monkeys sat on the rope bridge separating us and the entrance to the nature park, we at least got a short rest whilst we decided what to do. As they dared us to go trip-trapping over their bridge, I donned a long stick ( as recommended by the rangers) and stood my ground ( also recommended DO NOT RUN!) Clearly if Mark had been there I would have been hiding behind him but in the absence of an alpha male I banged my stick and shouted 'shoo' and other alpha male type shouts of warning. At which point, alpha male monkey ran at me bearing his teeth and growling. At which point, the two men with us ran off screaming.
I'm glad to report that the monkeys saw the errors of their way and let us pass and the kids got that extra adrenaline rush which got them home quickly and without moaning so much....well I bet you were wondering why I said "luckily" when describing how a man came running towards us. Every cloud has a silver adrenaline rush of a lining!
03/27/2013, Mooloolaba and Penang
I had stopped writing my blog because for a while there, all i could think of is what information potential buyers might glean from the info I gave. And now I realise that, actually, I don't really care! But that's probably because I'm not cleaning the boat on a daily basis and polishing this, buffing that. Mark is now solely responsible for Pegasus and he hasn't ever written a blog so I can write with free abandon. Mostly so I don't forget when it comes to the kids writing their diaries again.
So, let me fill you in. Truth be told, it wasn't much fun trying to school the kids and cook when the broker would phone up and ask if they could bring a PB down to see the boat. I am quite a messy person. Now that may come as a surprise to you but the kids have inherited my genes in that department. I shall work on this when we get home. However, Mark and I decided that if the messy three were off the boat it would be so much easier to show the boat and that has been the case. I can't say so much what Mark has been up to whilst we've been away but this is the adventures of the Jackson Three....
Our good friends from SV Goody have been in Penang since the birth of their 5th crew member, Lelei. Since we always fly home with Malaysian Airlines, we thought is would be a great opportunity to pop in and say hi on the way back to the UK. It's snowing in the UK at the moment, so there is another reason not to fly straight home!
It's hot hot hot here....regularly 35-37 degrees and most of the time is spent trying to find air conditioning. Even though the homestay where we are living is basic, it has air con, so as far as I am concerned, that's all that counts!
It has been so lovely seeing Goody and then things got even better when SV Luna said they could also come to Penang on the way back to Thailand. They are on a pretty exciting overland adventure for the second half of their overland trip. But then, they've sold their boat! Trekking in Nepal, yoga in India and the trans-Siberian railway feature in their trip home. Jealous!
So, 8 kids and 5 adults trooped to Langkawi, an island resort for a reunion of nostalgia and rest before we all go our separate ways again.....until the next time...South Africa?? Denmark?? Australia?? Funnily enough, Scotland didn't come up in potential reunion venues in the future....I'll have to work on that!
It was so lovely to see everyone again, though I realised that my British parenting style seems so uptight compared to the Danish and South African equivalent. This is probably reflected in my kids reluctance to try new things or be quite as adventurous as the others. At times I was frustrated by their keenness to bury their heads in their books; something I've been pleased about in the past, rather than just go off and play. But, whilst Lochy will always be Lochy (those of you who know him know what I mean by that) I did see some progress in his ability to socialise with the others. Having said that, it was probably more to do with the other kids' tolerance of him rather than him being any better. Ah, the joys of being a parent!
Anyway, fun on the beach, warm warm sea, Emil's birthday celebration, fun on the banana boat and delicious food with good friends all rated highly in Langkawi. Now we are back in Penang and trying to work out just how cold it is back in the UK so we can get the right combination of clothes in our hand luggage. Somehow, I don't think flip flops will be enough?
We had a potential buyer last week. Not just a step on the boat for five minutes making you wonder why you just spent the past two hours scrubbing and cleaning kind of fender kicker, but someone who had specifically flown up from Melbourne to look specifically at Pegasus amongst other boats.
I was excited. We went the whole hog in getting her look to lovely which was probably lost on PB (potential buyer) due to the fact that there had been torrential rain for the past three days. So there was no gleaming metal work, but at least PB got to see which of our hatches had a slight drip!
Even though we were the last boat to be seen on their exceptionally long day, PB checked our engines, chatted to Mark and saw through the rain and liked our boat.
But I was forgetting. PB comes with a PBW. And I think at 4.30 pm in the pouring rain after a very long day looking at other boats, PBW didn't share the same enthusiasm as her husband. I'm not sure I'd be that enthusiastic either. And let's face it, you can't picture yourself relaxing on the trampoline, sharing a drink with friends in the cockpit or preparing food in the light, airy saloon when it's peeing down with rain. So no offer was forthcoming.
Interestingly, the feedback we got from the broker was that in PBs opinion, Pegasus was the best boat on the market for the price, but that PBW was put off by the helm position. I know that what I am going to write probably won't change this buyer's mind, but I would like to say something about this because when you google Dufour Nautitech 395 pretty much the only thing you get is forums discussing the helm position. Firstly, yes the seats are small. In fact, when we arrived in Gibraltar we adjusted the seat firstly to give Mark more leg room and secondly to make it detachable so it didn't get in the way when we were at anchor. Secondly, once we actually became round the world sailors, we realised how little we actually sat at the helm. Uncle autopilot helmed us round the world whilst we relaxed on the trampoline or sat in the cockpit with a cup of tea. With our wind instruments, AIS etc in the cockpit or inside, we didn't need to be up at the helm unless we wanted to......it was a lovely place to sit and contemplate life from time to time!
I do actually recall having to helm for two hours whilst in the Pacific....the time it took for Mark to fix the autopilot!!
When we're coming alongside in a pontoon or marina, it's great being able to see along the side of the whole boat to park up, which might be more of an issue marina hopping in Australia than puddle hopping in the Pacific.
And if it's really rough and you really need to be up there? Well you clip on with a lifejacket just as you would in any other boat if you are a good sailor. We actually had a rule that if you were on night watch alone, then you wore a lifejacket and clipped on at the helm whatever the weather. We applied that to going up to the mast too. It's just common sense.
Personlly? My favourite place to keep watch is standing at the back of the cockpit resting my cup of tea against the top of the bimini with the wind in my hair and contemplating life. Ahhhhhh, sailing is good for the soul :-)
So, for what it's worth, it possibly won't sway this particular PBW. I just wish that she had seen Pegasus how I had on my first ( and only!) boat viewing. A light airy boat on a sunny day. But I feel like I've got the 'helm' issue off my chest. Thank you for listening :-D
well, since the vast majority of my time has been involved in getting Pegasus ready for sale, here are some more photos! I'll update more later but take a look at Pegasus....she's a beauty!!
Pegasus of Jersey built 2000....a proven blue water cruiser with solar panels and wind/tow generator
trampoline recently re-stitched and re-strung
spacious cockpit....great for entertaining!
easy access for a refreshing dip in the sea. With swim ladder.
Large table...wrap around seating for 8.
Two burner gas hob and gas oven. Sink with single mixer tap and drinking water filter
Nav table with radar, VHF radio, SSB radio, CD/car stereo, NASA battery monitor, multi function display
Heads on both sides with integral pull out showers (hot water) wash basins and hand pump jabsco toilets
4 double cabins with good head room, all fitted with reading lights and fans
extra single berth/storage in bows
volvo penta diesel 29hp engines
new spinnekar replaced June 2012.
Impressed? Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information!!
Hurray! Our import papers have come through and we are all official and able to advertise. How exciting! Not for us, but for the lucky lucky next owner of our boat who will get to go on adventures on the high seas and have Pegasus look after them on their way.
So, if you think it could be you, then please do get in touch because we are motivated to sell quickly so we can be with our family again after our two and a half year adventure.
Mark and I have put so much work into Pegasus to get her ready for the boat show at the weekend and although we were there among the million dollar boats, Pegasus held her own and offered a realistic alternative for those dreamers who came to look at all the boats!
I was nowhere to be seen at the boat show, heading off to Brisbane for the weekend so I could share HypnoBirthing with my lovely friends, Brad and Lucy. It was so so great to be teaching again and sharing my passion. Very timely too as Mia turns ten this week, thus marking a decade of teaching HypnoBirthing for me.
The weather has calmed down after the washout that was Australia Day. With widespread flooding and some marinas' pontoons being washed away with boats still attached, we were lucky in Mooloolaba to be so sheltered, still noting 55 knot winds in the marina! Having been out in 55 knots before, we were quite glad to be tied to a pontoon....one that didn't float away!
My heart goes out to those who have been affected by all the flooding here in Queensland. Australia really doesn't do anything by halves!