13/05/2013, Northamptonshire. UK
Work,sleep,rest,play and work!
The first week back was spent at my sisters, and I had the use of her car to visit friends and buy some essentials for my stay in the Uk. Luckily my personal tailor at "George" and £30, sorted out my casual wardrobe and picking up some large bags from work, containing my new slim Jim uniform took care of my working hours. A trip down to see my mate Steve,and to collect my old Yamaha. He had been looking after it for me and had done an excellant job, getting it taxed and mot'd so I could ride her away. Thanks Mr C. The Yamaha will be my "long distance" transport, while in the UK. I have no intention of buying a car at all.
I got the keys to my new flat a week after being back and it's a superb place in a brilliant location. A big thanks to my sister for sorting it out for me. It's just the right distance from my works, to make cycling in a pleasure, even though the homeward journey (all uphill) can be a killer after my 10hr shift. A lucky buy on E-Bay and I had the perfect bike for all my needs, complete with two huge baskets on the back, and at the right price. It's been my regular transport every day now, and initially cost me a fair bit in the first two weeks with upgrades (decent lights and puncture resistant tyres), I'm glad to say that they have been money well spent. The baskets on the back are just the right size to hold a case of cider each, perfect for those supermarket deals of buy one and get the other half price? I've been exploring my local area on the bike and by foot, and it's a great place to live, with views over open countryside nearly all around me. I'm looking forward to exploring more, now that summers on the way? Can't believe it's May and still we are getting temps of only 8 degrees. Oh, to be back in sunny Greece?
My first night back at work went really as expected. I was very lucky getting a job back at my old depot and on a night shift as well, my preferred shift, both for ease of driving the trucks around and the extra money it pays. Within the first 10minutes it was as if I had never been away, people welcoming me back and just about everybody asking if I had come back early? As the year had gone by so quickly, for me and them. It took me longer to work out how to put my electronic tacho card in the machine than it did to get used to driving again, to be honest though my first couple of reversing back to the dock levelers were not spot on. And I made a big mistake entering the rest mode sign on my tacho for the year I had been away, well, it seemed the correct one to use as it's a bed symbol? and I had certainly done a lot of that.
Well, I've been back in the UK now for 10 weeks, I'm well into living back here and getting up and going to work each day I have to. The wages are better than expected to be honest, and luckily my flat and all the household bills are pretty reasonable as well. Which all means that I'm saving more than I expected to, and am busily buying the upgrades I want for Nanjo. I was hoping to get "early voluntary retirement" from work, with a large handshake which would have set me up for life, but that now all seems to have flown out of the window. So, a change of plans and a shift in my mental state to carry on working. I was planning to spend a year back at work then with the money saved, pack in my job and sail around on Nanjo living of my pension and savings? I will probably spend longer here working and saving now, as it's to good an opportunity to miss. The upgrades I planned for Nanjo will all go ahead, but I will now buy the best equipment I can afford. Hopefully it will last me longer and not need replacing a few years down the line when money will be tight. For instance I was looking to replace my hand held vhf, which broke when I dropped it. A replacement cheapy would be £70, a better quality vhf, waterproof and one that floats, will set me back nearer £200. While I'm making the money it seems a better long term bet? Only time will tell I guess.
I'm looking forward to seeing Nanjo again next week. After all the problems at the marina it now seems that they have all been solved, I hope so. Nanjo was finally lifted out of the water a few weeks ago, and my friends Tom and Anne. Were there to help the marina staff and keep an eye on her for me, they sent me the picture of Nanjo safely chocked up ashore. Where she will stay for this year at least, I was glad to see that Mutley and Fang are sitting beneath her on guard with a new black and white stray as well. I'm looking forward to taking them for walks around Messolonghi again, and have already bought some UK dog treats for them. So far, the weight of goodies I've purchased to take out comes to 32kg, so it's 20 in the hold and 12kg in my rucksack. Luckily all my clothes and living gear are still on Nanjo, so don't need to take them out with me.
My Raymarine ST2000 autopilot was making grunching noises after the storm of Kastos, so I had brought it back with me as it was still under guarantee. A quick phone call to Raymarine on my return and they arranged to send a courier to collect it. 7 days later I received an e-mail telling me the bearing plate had cracked and would be fixed free of charge. My autohelm was returned by courier soon after, all repairs and the costs of the couriers was met by Raymarine. What an excellent service, I'm well impressed as buying it in the first place was a major expense for me, but the autohelm made my life onboard 100% easier.
As I'm writing this, the suns shining, it's heavy rain and a strong winds blowing outside. Typical English weather really. I only have two more 10hr shifts to complete and then I'm of work for a bit. Yippee
I will only be updating the blog every four weeks now. I've a big list of things to buy for Nanjo, so I will be saving as much as I can. Trying not to spend anymore money than I have to. My works has already granted me a weeks leave, so I will be flying out to Nanjo in May to check her over. Hopefully she will be ashore and safely chocked up?
Those of you who have been reading the blog, I thank you. I hope that all the bad spelling,grammar and punctuation did not make it to hard to follow? I blame a crap English teacher at my school, who made bunking off from his lessons a requirement.
Monday 25th Feb to 3rd March
My last week in Messolonghi and living on Nanjo. The weather was really superb most of the week, and sitting in the cockpit on Friday 1st March having lunch my temp gauge reached 35degs. I spent the last week doing all those little jobs that you can only do at the end. Typicaly the gas ran out on the Tuesday,so a trip to replace the bottle was an unexpected extra on my list of jobs to do. I popped into town and said goodbye to the people I had met and became friends with over the past few months. The marina still could not give me a lift out date, so Tom and Anne have agreed to keep an eye on Nanjo for me while I'm away. So she's well safe.
My last day was spent turning off and disconnecting the gas, taking down my red ensign and Greek courtesy flags, closing the sink sea cock and making sure everything was put in large plastic bags. I gave Nanjo a final clean and hose down, then went and had a gorgeous farewell dinner with Tom and Anne. Peter had voluntered to take me to the bus garage at 6am on the Sat morning, it was a nice suprise to see Trix climb of there yacht and take me instead. She dropped me of at 6am, and typically Greek the 06:30 bus for Athens arrived at 06:55. Luckily I had left myself plenty of time for my flight back to the UK. The coach trip to Athens was uneventful, along with the bus from Athens to the airport.
At the airport, I sat down to read my book and scoff the spinach pie I had bought on the Friday while saying goodbye to my bakery girls. It was delish, I reckon the next spinach pie I have will be one I make myself? The only hold up was going through security, I had a rucksack with just the basics in, including my Autohelm St2000, which I was taking back for repair. It was in a canvas bag I had made to protect it, and of course it must have looked strange through the x-ray machine. I was asked to remove it, and then tried to explain what it was, the guard assumed it was for a camera? Luckily after he had shown it to a couple of other people, there was a yachtie who recognised it and gave me the ok,to take it on the plane. Easy Jet is so much better now you get a seat number, it still did not stop people going nuts and jumping up to be first in the queue? My flight arrived 30 mins early in the Uk to a cold but sunny and dry 5 degs, my sister and her boyfriend greeted me, and luckily she had a warm fleece for me. The drive back to there place was an eye opener, so many cars and people about. They treated me to a chinese take-away for my first UK meal, and it was delish,along with my first cider in a year. After chatting for some time, I was nodding of in the chair, so went up to bed. It was a large double bed, and I just could not get to sleep, the solution was to place my stuff down the side and block of half. It felt so much better, as I leaned over and could touch something, just like I've been used to sleeping in Nanjos back cabin. I didn't sleep that well to be honest, I was missing the movement of Nanjo and the noises I've been used to over the past months. I kept waking up all through the night.
My year in the Ionion over now. I've learned so much about living onboard a small yacht, entering and leaving harbours and just enjoying a completely different pace of life. The people I've met have been fantastic and all have helped me have a great time. I left the UK with great plans to sail into every knook and cranny in the Ionion, a very ambitious plan. I didn't manage it of course. Something for me to do when I'm out there full time, so no loss. I kept a record of my spending and it makes interesting reading, I now know that I will be able to live and sail on my pension when I get it at 60. The clocks already ticking down to that date.
I know that it's what I want to do for as long as I can, and will hopefully be returning to Nanjo and the liveaboard lifestyle I've loved so much asap.
Sunday 3rd March
My first real day back. I woke late and had a quick breakfast of cereal and toast, just like I'm used to,but alass no sitting in the cockpit admiring the view and gorgeous blue sky and sun. I had only brought back 1pr of pants/socks/t-shirt for a change of clothes. Being a typical yachtie, my rucksack was full of boat stuff! First thing for my sister to do was drive me to Andrea to collect my guitar, I'm hoping to have more success with it than my banjo. It was lovely to see her again and have a chat. Next stop was Asda and my favourite gents outfitters "George", for all my essential clothes. I couldn't get over just how many people were about and all the cars everywhere. It was frightening, I've been used to seeing hardly anybody. There were thousands just rushing around and buying food, it was one big mad house, and the hustle and bustle of it made me long for the more relaxed pace I've been used to. I think having to work again is going to be a huge shock? Back in Bicester my sister and her boyfriend cooked me a large roast dinner, which was superb. The rest of the afternoon just went by, while I was chatting and enjoying there company. My sister has managed to put me on her car insurance for next week, so I will be out visiting friends and popping into work for a chat.
Another early night for me, and I wedged myself into the bed and slept a lot better this time.
Monday 18th Feb to Sunday 24th Feb
Well, I've not been doing much at all this week, so no need for a daily account. The weathers been all over the scale, from gorgeous sunshine and 20+ degs to the usual torrential rain,thunder and strong winds. The good news is the evenings do seem to be getting warmer, I've not been using the fire so much, and of course the evenings are getting longer which is brilliant.
Nanjo should have been lifted out on the 18th, but it was never going to happen, no cradles or cranes anywhere to be seen. Apparently there are now 18 yachts waiting to be lifted out now, all people who only want to check the bottom,re-antifoul and then get back in the water asap. Most seem to be working on a couple of weeks hard work.
The Sunday barbie was held in gorgeous sunshine and well attended, I made the small mistake of getting a huge pork chop, must have been 2ins thick, it took ages to cook, but was well worth the wait and was delish. Chatting to everybody and finding out there plans for the coming cruising season, showed just how having a yacht allows you to move about. The destinations ranged from the Carribean,Croatia,Albania,Turkey, Italy and of course cruising around the Greek isles. They all laughed when I said my destination was Northampton. Oh yes, I'm the only person going back to work! I did manage to give away my broken anchor winch to one of the French yachties who has the same winch, hopefully it will do him for spares?
I seem to have spent another ton of hours on the computer sorting out the flat and work. Both of which I'm glad to say were finally sorted this week, so I now have somewhere to stay and I know what hours and job I will be doing back at work. It's been a load of stress, but now I can move on, and much to my suprise I'm looking forward to seeing friends again and earing some money. I have a large wish list of goodies to buy for Nanjo, so will be living as cheaply as possible and spending a hermit lifestyle back in the UK. I've spent a gorgeous year with no tv,or car so they will not be on my list of must haves in the UK. I'm looking forward to trying to learn how to play the guitar, the banjo I have on board Nanjo, will stay as hopefully I will play it one day. I'm looking forward to listening to radio 4 plays, without the internet going down and missing the endings! One luxury I have promised myself is of course the trip to an opera in London, after listening to my opera cd's it's certainly on my "Bucket List" and I will make sure it happens.
I have now drained all the diesel out of the tank, after putting a question to the YBW Liveaboard forum, draining the tank rather than filling it was the most voted for option. Luckily there was only about 6ltrs left in the tank, and I gave that away to my neighbour. Hard to imagine that it's my last week next week, fingers x the sun shies?
Monday 11th Feb
Slept like a log, and just managed to drag myself out of bed into the cold cabin. I must work out if I can put that fire on a timer so it warms the boat up? It's a dry morning, so brekkie in the cockpit. Then a shower, plenty of hot water to get my joints moving. The big thing to do do today was a bike ride out to the bus depot and buy my ticket for Athens, luckily I had written all the details down and gave them to the ticket clerk. 23e 10cents later and I have my 06:30 bus ticket and seat No5. Everybody said to book up early, just incase it's full, as it makes a couple of stops along the way. It should get me to Athens for 10am then onto the airport bus for another hour. Plenty of time to hang around the airport, reading a book before my flight. Stopped at Carrefours on the way back and picked up some tin toms, called into the bread shop as well for another loaf and a pie. Met Dave and they confirmed what I already knew, I would not be lifted out for the 18th Feb, and will be lucky if I get lifted by March 18th as well. At least I know that Nanjos secure on the pontoon where she is, all the past storms and she has not moved much. Had a word with Tom, and he will keep an eye on her, and when she is lifted as well, so thats sorted. I decided to order some new uniform for work as I've lost 4 stone. I then spent the next few hours, phoning my office,and the uniform suppliers, to sort things out. The whole system had changed while I was away, and they had no record of me at all. I ended up just sending e-mails as my skype phone bill is getting silly. Too much stress, and aggrovation for my liking. Then I get an e-mail from the credit check company doing the checks for the flat, more phone calls and more e-mails. I'm beggining to wonder if going back is really worth all the hassle. Shame that I really need the money, but I've had more stress in the last two weeks than in the previous 48. I can see why some liveaboards never go home, I can see me joining that happy band once I'm out here full time as well. I made a big sausage thingy for dinner, tasted superb, but I'm getting fed up with the sausages already and still have 4 left? Spent the evening listening to radio 4 and having a glass of wine. The temps still down, so, gave the stern cabin a good 40mins of heating before turning in, It was gorgeous!
Tuesday 12th Feb
Woke to a lovely day,sun shining through my small porthole. But still didn't want to get out of my nice warm bunk! Brekkie in the cockpit and watching the fishing boats come and go. Have a lovely shower, and then decide to go for a walk around town. No sign of Mutley and Fang anywhere, they must be out with somebody else already? It's always nice wandering down a new back street into town, you never know what you will see. There are some very old buildings here, with walls a couple of feet thick, some look like they are about to collapse though. Stop at a small shop and pick up a cheese pie, on my way back. Have a word with the yard guys about the cradles, but they don't know whats happening, they are waiting to move yachts about as much as us. Spent the afternoon in the marina office, getting on the internet and trying to sort out more on renting the flat, I have to wonder if it would be any easier if I was in the Uk and had not been earning any money? Made a large throw together for dinner with a few more of those sausages, I'm beginning to hate the taste of the things now. Luckily a couple of cans of Alfa helped take the taste away. Another cold night, so the heater spent 40mins warming up my stern cabin. It's just the best climbing into a warm bed?
Wednesday 13th Feb
Slept really well, and woke up at 10am. Luckily I did, has Tom came over and said he had some spare chicken stew he had made, and to bring a container over when I'm ready. I've never been known to turn free grub down. Jumped onto my bike and went for a couple of loaves of bread, had a chat with the girls there, who seem to enjoy trying out there English. Even pointing to things and I have to tell them what they are, they then tell me the Greek, and to be honest, I instantly forget. As it's normaly unpronunceable to me. Once back and unloaded my bread, call over and see Tom, who has had the "white van man" from the Uk just drop all his goodies off. It's the ideal way to get large items brought out here, this guy does a trip once a month, bit like the guy who brought all my stuff out last March. Toms cockpit is full of box's but luckily room for me to squeeze by and for him to fill up my large container with chicken stew. Once back on Nanjo, I was going to save it for dinner, but it just looked to good, so I warmed up 50% with some crusty bread. The picture says it all, it was superb and certainly made what I've been eating for the last few weeks seem pretty tasteless. 19:30 and we are in the marina bar, Tom has organised a comedy evening. Mrs Browns Boys played through the bar tv, I've never seen it before, but was cracking up with the jokes and comedy in the sketches. There must have been 12 of us including Swiss and Swedish Peters, who seemed to enjoy it has well. Toms plan is to show 2 episodes each week, which made a nice evening for us all. Back on Nanjo, and I soon had a couple of boiled spuds on the go and the rest of the stew heating up, it was even better than the first bowl full. All washed down with a glass of red as well, the end to a lovely evening here in Messolonghi. I had left the heater running in the back cabin, a bit to long and it was stifling in there, seems 40mins is ok, 1hr 10 is to much.
Thursday 14th Feb
Slept till 09:30 then, went for a shower and brekkie after. Decided today to make a start on winterising the Yanmar as I won't be neading it again. My first job was to change the oils, the engine started easily enough, considering it had not been run for 5 weeks. While it was ticking over, I had to shift everything out of the bow cabin, that I had been stowing there. The main cabin looked a mess, has the pics show. This was all to get my deluxe oil extractor out from under the cushions in the bow. The oil change was soon carried out, and new oil and filters fitted. The extractor makes it a 5min job, the only mess is from taking the filter off, even having a plastic bag around it, only helps a bit. I'm glad that I have such a small engine, as it only takes 2ltrs of oil to fill up. I will change it all again when Nanjo goes back in the water.The gearbox holds even less oil and no filter, so was a quick suck out and re-fill job. The gearbox oil leak, has got no worse during the year,so I won't worry about getting it fixed just yet. Tom called over and offered me a home made burger for lunch onboard Alba Voyager, I soon downed tools, and made my way over there. Toms burgers certainly beat the cheese sarnie I had planned, and was delish. I also picked up the tv set he gave me, has he had replaced it with a new flat screen jobby. To get it onto Nanjo, I had to loosen the stern lines and let Nanjo come toward the jetty,so I could climb up with it. A quick tension on the stern lines and all was well again. I had left Nanjo with all the main cabin in a mess, so managed to stuff as much as possible in the bow storage as I could, it won't be used for a while. The bow looks a lot neater now thats been done. I spent the afternoon, trying to get a picture on my new tv, but without any success, seems an aerial up the mast is the only answer? Made a sausage throw together for dinner, and I'm so glad that it's the last sausage left. Chopped up with some caulli/brocalli/curry powder? Somehow it worked and tasted ok. A couple of glasses of red, while watching an"InspectorMorse" dvd, rounded up my evening nicely. Heater in the back cabin, just before I turned in.
Friday 15th Feb
Slept really well again. Brekkie in the cockpit as usual, then called round to see Dave and get my Yanmar manual back. He showed me his engine.it's a huge 4 cylinder Yanmar, and there is hardly any space to work on it. There is a little service hatch on the side for the salt water pump, I wouldn't fancy changing an impellor in a bumpy sea to be honest. Back on Nanjo and I had the side and top covers off in seconds. First job, flush the engine with fresh water, it's amazing just how much water it sucks up at tickover, the buckets are soon emptied. Turn off the seacock and take the raw water strainer apart. I'm glad to see there are only a few bits of small gravel in the mesh. Take the belts off and then remove the raw water pump,it only takes a few minutes,the alternator belt looks worn so will be replaced, and I'm pleased to see the impellor is in good condition, so remove it and put everything in a plastic container for later. Next job, drain the fresh water, which is another easy job because of the little drain taps placed on the engine. Then a first for me, is taking the heat exchanger apart, the manual reckons do it every 2 years, I have no idea when it was done, so worth checking. Taking off the end caps was easily enough, and the first thing I noticed was a piece of broken impellor blade stuck in one of the end caps. Obviously broken at some time in the past, as mines ok. A light tap on the back of the heat exchanger with a rubber mallet and it comes out easily, you can see it in the pics. I'm well happy to see all the tubes are clear and hardly any build up, to clean them out i drop a 5mm drill bit through each one, it's a slack fit, but got stuck a few times and a quick shake freed it and brought out some crud. I will order the new gaskets back in the Uk so I can replace it all later. I gave the engine a good wipe over, and blocked off the air cleaner inlet and exhaust outlet. One suprising thing I noticed was the Vetus water lock in the exhaust had been fitted the wrong way round,there is a mark on one end saying "Inlet" which was connected to the outlet? Draining it down let out an amazing amount of water. It's been working ok (I assume) since I bought Nanjo, but the inlet and outlet are at different heights, which I assume makes a difference? It's now back round the right way, so I will find out when I next run the engine. I removed the main 20amp engine start fuse and taped over the ignition key, so there is no way the engine can be started or span over. I will drain the diesel tank down later, has it should only have about 5ltrs left in it. The feedback from a question I put on the YBW web site, seems to come out in favour of draining the tank, rather than fill it up, which I would normally do. It didn't take long to put the engine covers back on and tidy up my tools, I'm so glad that I have a simple little engine with great access. I remember looking at the Dufour Les was going to buy and the engine was beneath the floorboards, and only the top visable, that can't make people want to service it? Had a long shower, and made a big spag bol dinner with a few beers later, all washed down with some wine as a night cap.
Saturday 16th Feb
Woke late and all my joints ached, I must have been bending over to much yesterday? The forecast is for a dry day tomorrow, so a run to Carrefours for some meat and potato salad is on the cards. Brekkie in the cockpit, then of into town, decide to walk so I can stop at the market. As usual plenty of lovely fruit and veg on show, just to tempting, so buy a few euros worth. Pick up a large pork chop at Carrefours, 1e 30c a bargain. It's about 2ins thick and the size of my foot? Pick up a couple of loaves of bread and a popeye pie, scoffed at the side of the fishing market in the harbour. Spend a few seconds thinking, I will be back in the Uk in 2 weeks. The time seems to be speeding up now, and I'm still having hassles sorting a flat and trying to find out whats happening with my job. Just get the typical we will e-mail you and so far nothings happened. Maybe I really should stay out here and get used to eating free fish? What started out as a nice day, went down hill quickly in the late afternoon/evening. We had heavy rain and strong winds, I don't remember seeing this on the forecast. Made a quick throw together for dinner, and put my heater on, has the main cabin was really cold. Watched a dvd and had a couple of glasses of wine, a nice relaxing evening. Heater in the stern cabin as usual, for 45mins, and it was just superb to climb into a warm bunk. Oh boy, the simple things in life always are the best.
Sunday 17th Feb
Slept like a log, and woke up to my birthday. My sister had sent me a card earlier, which was really funny and she put some money in for a drink as well. Cheers matey. I also got an e-card from Andrea which showed a lovely boat. Thank you. I called round to say goodbye to Colin and Maggie who were flying back home for a while. Colin handed me a bag of goodies they did not need, so a big meal later for sure. Hopefully I will see them again soon. The dry weather did not last long, and it was heavy rain for most of the day afterwards. That put the dampers on the barbie has planned then, which was a shame. I spent the day onboard, keeping dry and warm and only venturing ashore to use the loo and put some more money on my electric meter. I watched a few dvds, slowly working my way through my boxed set of Predator, excellant films. Dinner was the pork chop, cut into chunks and fried along with the veg and spuds Colin had given me, and thanks to him and Maggie I had Mythos to drink as well. It wasn't my most energetic birthday, but I had a lovely chill out day and it means I'm another year nearer getting my pension? I turned in after leaving the heater on in the back cabin for 45mins. Superb.
Monday 4th Feb
Slept really well, and woke to a gorgeous morning again, with a banging head. My first job was to have a long hot shower, and try and wash some of the smoke off from last night, my clothes stink! Had a large brekkie in the cockpit when I got back, usually involves 4 pieces of toast nowadays, thanks to the toaster being so convienient. Hanging my jacket up outside helped to shift the tobacco smell. Jumped on the bike and into town for some supplies, the large Carrefours always has a few gypsies outside holding out there hands and always with some very young kid as well, looking so scruffy. It's a dilema I face every time, I'm trying to get by on as little as possible at the moment, just so I have enough cash in my bank account for going home. But I always end up giving the scruffiest kid a few euros, I've driven past the shanty towns they live in,and I always think that no matter how much Nanjos windows might leak, I might get bounced about in the strong winds, I will always be 1,000% better of than they are. It does put into perspective the lives most of us lead back in the UK, where we moan about wi fi going down and the cost of petrol? Thats my monthly rant over I guess. I popped into the office to ask about the cradle problem, and it's true they have ran out of cradles but are hoping to find some by Friday? Nanjo is due to be lifted out in two weeks and I'm home soon after that. I would prefer to see her chocked up ashore before I leave. Called round to see Dave and Alwin and ended up spending a few hours with them having a coffee and a chat. It was only when I left that Alwin mentioned going to Colin and Maggies yacht the nexst evening for a drink, to be honest I had forgotten about it, I must have had to much to drink on Sunday? Made a throw together for dinner, and luckily the internet was working, so had radio 4 on all evening, which made the red wine go down nicely.
Tuesday 5th Feb
Slept like the dead, and woke up quite late, so I'm getting back into my routine. Gorgeous morning again, it's great to eat in the coickpit and just have a look around and seeing others doing the same, mind you, they have mostly had there breakfasts hours earlier! I've been having problems renting back in the Uk, and have to contact the agents again, skype has saved me a fourtune in calls. The latest is a copy of my career break docs proving my return to work date,and a big problem, my bank as sent back a duff credit check. Basically stating my monthly income would not cover the rental! Not bad when I've not earned any wages for a year, and am living mostly off my savings while away. A long call to my bank to sort it out, and they agree that there is a note on my account about being away. They agree to contact the agents for me again. It seems that if there is a box to be ticked on somebodies form and they can't tick it, the whole system falls apart. I called into the marina office again and thankfully Mata copied my docs and mailed them to me, so I could mail them to the agent. Frustrating does not even come close to the hassles I'm having. 17:30 and I'm on my way to Colin and Maggies yacht, they are bows in and have a plastic stool on the jetty to help climb onto the bow. I stepped up, and promptly put my foot through the stool, which broke with a loud crack. I'm down to 15 stone now from my last years weight of 19 stone, seems I still have more to loose. To make amends, I went and got the stainless bow ladder of Nanjo for them to use, after a bit of jigging about it fitted pretty good, and Dave ut some bungee around it to keep it in place. Luckily Colin and Maggie thought it was funny, I then got the grand tour of there Oyster 35 center cockpit ketch. She's a lovely yacht, and seems way bigger than her 35ft, there is a cockpit locker you can easily climb down into, and it even has an access door to it from the galley? Down below and it's a tardis, with the largest owners state room in the stern I've seen so far. To call the stern suite a cabin would not be right, Colin did mention they only built 17 of them. She must have been a very expensive yacht when new, and still be now. We ended up staying really late just chatting about everything and drinking there booze. It was a great way to spend the evening and the time really flew by. Back on Nanjo, I made a sarnie and spent an hour on e-bay looking at cheap furniture? You can tell, I'm getting my head around going back now?
Wednesday 6th Feb
Slept great, and didn't really want to get up to be honest, it was only the sunshine coming through and the thought of somebody banging on Nanjo that convinced me in the end. Shower then brekkie in the cockpit, is always a nice way to start the day. I needed some supplies from Lidls so jumped on the bike, then noticed Tom over on Alba Voyager,so popped over and spent an hour having coffee and chatting about sailing and going to Turkey. Tom and Anne are going back there now the Turkish government seem to have sorted out, tourist visas and people living on yachts. From what people have been saying here, most of the marinas in Turkey must have been pretty empty. It was a lovely bike ride to Lidls and typically I went for a couple of items and ended up buying an arm full. After all the horse meat scares in the UK, I wondered just what is in my favourite cheapy meat balls? But, I've eaten horse in France and it was delish, so I've no problem with it. I guess if it was labled horse meat we could at least make a choice? Back on board and I've got an e-mail from the letting agents, more docs to sign. So, I forward them to Mata in the office and say I will pick them up tomorrow, what a palava. Once the sun goes down the temp as taken a very sudden drop, it's been forecast, so I've stuck an extra euro on the meter so I can run my fire longer. Dinner was a very large spag bol, with soya mince (contains no horse?) and the obligatory glass or two of red wine. Dave had lent me a Sidney Bechet cd, who I had never heard before and I really liked it. Crashed out about midnight, after sticking the fire in the back cabin for 30mins to take the chill off.
Thursday 7th Feb
It's blooming cold, inside Nanjo and I can already here the rain falling down. We had some strong winds during the night as well, which even managed to wake me up a couple of times. Brekkie was down below, it wasn't even worth opening the cabin doors as the rain was blowing straight up my stern. The internet was on and off all morning, so it was cd's time. About 11:30 all hell let loose, the sky went really black, a loud crack of thunder and some lightening and then for ten minutes we had the largest hail storm I've ever been in. The noise inside Nanjo was unreal, thousands of chunks of ice hitting the cabin top. I videoed 3 mins of it, through the windows, then took some still pics when it ended. Nanjo had ice everywhere, as I looked around outside, I could see others coming out with cameras as well to take pics, it was pretty unreal. I think the forecast was for a dry but cold day?? The rains kept up all day and evening, I did manage to make a run to the office and see Mata. A quick signature on the docs she had printed for me and then she faxed them to my lap top. Walking back to Nanjo I noticed that Carel and Martha my Dutch neighbours of Atlantic had returned, a quick chat, and it seems they have brought the Dutch weather with them? It's nice to see them back, as they had left just before xmas. It was a case of keep the hatches battened down all day, as the wind and rain kept up. I'm just so happy the windows have not leaked at all, making life below a whole lot better. I spent the evening, cooking a mashed spud throw together, reading my book as the internet just was not reliable enough, and trying to stay warm. The heater was on and off all evening. I figured the warmest place to be was in my bunk, so I put the heater in there fo 40mins to warm it up with the door closed. When I opened it, well, it was like climbing into a blooming sauna, but Oh so nice.
Friday 8th Feb
The rain and winds kept up all night, but only woke me a couple of times with the noise and rocking about. It was another hard choice to get out of a warm bed, but I dragged myself out at 10:30. A big brekkie down below, I did manage to open the cabin doors for a few minutes, and could see Colin sitting in his cockpit, under his spray hood and rain cover, well protected. It must make a nice change to be able to do that, rather than be trapped below? I was going to chance it and make a run for the shower block, but to be honest, I very quickly decided that a hot water wash out of the galley sink would surfice. I had enough food on board and the rain looked like it was going to last all day, so no need to go ashore apart from the loo? The rain finally stopped in the afternoon for a while, and the sun came out. Despite what I wrote earlier, I fancied getting of Nanjo, so packed my rucksack and cycled to Carrefours, I was only intending to get some beers and coke, and ended up picking up a bargain pack of sausages, no idea what they are made from, (I will be eating them all next week) and stopped at the grocers for some veg on the way back. I made it just before the sky opened and the rain fell, which managed to carry on for the rest of the night. Dinner was sausage,spuds and a fried pepper, absolutely delish. The internet was up and down, so it was a book and some music.
Saturday 9th Feb
I woke up late again, the rains still falling, so no need to rush. Went ashore for a gorgeous shower before all the water went.The rain stopped about 10:30 and I had a visit from Tom, over a coffee he mentioned the rugby was on and he was going to stream it through his laptop onto the tv in the bar. Scotland/Italy. I had to make a quick bike ride into town for some dosh, as I was down to my last 20 euros, and that would probably be needed in the bar? Cycling in and going down some new back streets, I finally found another XJ600 parked up, and the bugger even had the original exhaust fitted. The rest of the bike looked like it did not run, I was sorely tempted to bang on a few doors and ask about the exhaust? Picked up a spinach pie on my way back to Nanjo and scoffed it sitting by the harbour wall. The sky then turned a dark black and I only just made it back to Nanjo before the skies opened up again.16:30 and I met Tom and Colin in the bar, a round of beers and we settled down to the rugby, unfortunately the internet could not keep pace and it froze everynow and again. Then luckily Memi found the rugby on a Greek channel, and we had a much better picture. I'm not a rugby or football fan, but it was a good game and great to see Scotland hammer the Italians. Tom had offered to cook me fish and chips on Alba Voyager, so we went back after the game. She's a lovely yacht and has a great atmosphere below, Tom did the fish and chips in a deep fat fryer out in the cockpit. It was delish, and the first I had had in ages. I mentioned that my laptop would not play dvd's so he told me about XP Codec and I should download it later. We spent the rest of the evening, until after midnight, looking at Toms pictures of the Greek islands between here and Turkey and the bays around Turkey. It's certainly on my list of places to visit once I'm out here full time, and can be mostly done in day hops as well. I left Tom and the marina was in complete darkness apart from the office block. Back on Nanjo, I put the heater in the back cabin, cranked up the lap top and downloaded the XP Codec program. I would try it out in the morning. I ended up watching a film on You Tube and finally ctrashed out at 3am, luckily the heater had only been on the first setting, and my cabin was lovely and warm. It suddenly dawned on me that this time in 3 weeks I will be sleeping in the UK. Doh!!!
Sunday 10th Feb
Obviously, I slept really well, and woke to a cloudy but sunny day. A quick brekkie as I was out of bread, I fired up the laptop, and plugged in a dvd, I'm glad to say that it played perfectly. So, a great result. The suns up now, so after a quick chat with Dave, I'm on my bike and heading for the bread shop, and luckily grab the last loaf on the shelf, along with a pie. On the way back, I notice the fishing boat dock is really busy so cycle over, and look at some of the fish for sale. I've mentioned it before, but they do catch some big fish out here compared to the rest of the Ionion. Scoffed my pie, while watching the bargaining antics of the women buying the fish. It ended up being a busy day, of doing absolutely nothing really. Gave the cabin a good clean up, just where does all that dust come from? Sun down and I cooked a throw together of sausage,mash and onion, all washed down with a glass or two of wine. The internet was down, so I watched "Walking the Line" dvd about Johnny Cash,great movie. Stuck the heater in the back cabin for 40mins before turning in.