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A Year In The Ionian
Getting ready for a year in the Ionian from 20th March 2012. The company I work for has given me a career break.
2013 working months?
01/01/2014

Life in the Uk?

This is the bit where I fill in the missing months/weeks away from Nanjo?

It's been a great time back at work in all honesty. I'm very lucky to have walked back into my job, but better still a better duty and for me better hours. I'm now a spare driver and work a 4 x 10hr split week night shift. My week at work goes very quickly, with the split shift, I'm making enough money to avoid having to do extra overtime, which is great. And being a spare driver means I get to go to places I've never seen before. My work mates are all a laugh and I'm lucky to be in a very stable job, perhaps to stable as I was hoping to get voluntary redundancy?
My flat is just perfect for me, reasonably cheap to run and just a haven to chill out in and relax. My sister did me proud finding it for me. It's really because of the above that my plans have changed again regarding going back sailing full time. The new plan is to work now until March 2015, then hopefully apply for another year career break? I have no plans to launch Nanjo in 2014, just going out a couple of times for some work and checking on her. I thought very carefully about this, and had intended to try and get a month of work to launch and do some sailing. But when I really thought about it, it just didn't make sense. It would be a week getting her ready for launch and then stripping down again. In the remaining three weeks I would probably just visit places I sailed to already? So, a no brainer really. I've now applied for my leave in six individual weeks, and spread them through the year. At the moment I'm looking at 2 weeks out to Nanjo, a week in Devon/Cornwall touring around, and three separate weeks visiting friends. After all, once I'm out for good in March 2015, I won't have any plans to return home hopefully. So friends will have to come out and see me?

I managed to sell my old banjo on e-bay for a silly amount of money, and it allowed me to buy a Seyvlor inflatable canoe. I had seen several while travelling around, and they looked ideal to have on board for exploring. I've had a load of fun with it so far, my plans are to try and canoe the River Nene this year bit by bit. Everybody I've taken out in it so far has a great time. A good buy for future use in Greece.
I'm constantly checking e-bay and other sites for bits for Nanjo. I've now bought all the small items I think I need/want? It's the big ticket items I now have to buy, and intend getting them new. Because of this, I won't buy them until the month before I leave the UK. Purely for the guarantee they give and storage. My list so far includes the following items: fridge compressor/evaporator plate kit, calorifier, hand held vhf, new perspex windows, mainsail (UK/Greece depending on price?), inverter and a few other bits. I'm hoping to get my white van man to ship it out for me when I leave. Think Nanjo will need the waterline moving up?

I've spent 2013, trying to learn to play the guitar. I bought a small travel acoustic, but it's hard work. A chance viewing of the for saleboard in my local Sainsbury and I picked up an electric guitar with amp for £50. I can make a lot more noise with that for sure? I've not even played my teach yourself Greek cd's, so no surprise there then. I did manage to tick of one of my bucket list items recently. My first opera, Aida was playing for one night locally to me so I booked a great seat. To be honest, it was superb, I loved the voices and over the top acting. The male tenor and baritone were amazing, along with the female lead soprano. I will try and see another one for sure.
I've managed to get out and about on the old Yamaha, to several bike race meetings. I picked up a cheap semi serious camera a Fuji Finepix and have been enjoying taking hundreds of photos just trying to get the hang of it. I was never really happy with the pics I took while on Nanjo, fingers crossed this will make them better?
I've been having a great time meeting up with old and new friends, and even now I'm busy recruiting new crew for when I return. And meeting new people all the time.

I managed to stay healthy in 2013, not one days sick leave? But as expected, my weights started to creep back up again. Sitting in a truck most of the night does not help, even though I've still managed to avoid munching excessive amounts of Yorky bars. But, I'm not back to my old weight yet luckily. My hair has not been touched, by that I mean trimmed. It's not growing anywhere as fast as I hoped, and I think the Gandalf look I want might be a long time coming?

I guess my one extravagance as been buying a car, I know that I said I wouldn't and managed to do that until late October. It was the onset of the wetter/colder weather on the Yamaha that started me looking. Plus the fact my savings are earning absolutely no interest in the bank. After some looking and trying cars, I stumbled across the one I've bought. It will probably be my last car, so I fancied a convertible for fun, having had an old Triumph Spitfire years ago, and loved every minute with the roof down. I picked up a gorgeous old Z3, and it's just so much fun. Bit like a 4 wheel Yamaha, it's now on my bucket list to take it to the Nurburgring in 2014, so fingers X.

Hopefully 2014 will be spent, as 2013. Being healthy and in employment, having fun on my own and with friends. Roll on March 2015 and my return to long term sailing.

01/02/2014 | Stella & Stuart Bale
Hi There, good update....funny how plans always change - good to hear your still planning on living on board - maybe if we ever make greece we will meet up. We are in the UK still, working, topping up the cruising fund. We will be back out in Corsica/Sardinia in May. Keep in touch. Cheers
October at Messolonghi
01/01/2014

Nanjo visit in October 2013.

I was getting excited as the date to fly out to Nanjo was getting nearer slowly day by day. Having not seen her since May, I was suffering from withdrawal. I had planned to travel out with a friend to help me do the work I wanted to do on board, namely remove the main windows and re-seal them all. At the last minute he was unfortunately unable to come. Luckily a great friend of mine agreed to step in at short notice. I had promised Bonita a weeks holiday in the sun, in exchange for her working on Nanjo during the day and helping me get through my list of jobs. It was also to help me carry out another ton of stuff I had picked up on e-bay again. I had been busy buying and had picked up a very nice cruising chute and snuffer, some plastic coated gas pipe, 40 mtrs of static line climbing rope (for my mast climber) and a whole load of smaller bits and pieces.
The flight out with Bon went really well, as this time I had splashed out on easy jets extra leg room seats and speedy boarding. I've never bothered before, but at 6ft 2in and 16 stone, sitting in the usual cramped seats was always uncomfortable, even for the short flight to Athens. For the small extra price on the ticket, I will always take the extra legroom seats now. I had booked the car with the same company, and was well pleased with the car and price. It was Bon's first time in Greece, and after all my bragging of how well I know the route to Messolonghi now. I quickly got us lost and of the motorway heading into Athens town, luckily it was dark and she couldn't see the embarrassed look on my face? After driving non-stop we arrived at Messolonghi just after midnight and headed straight to the bar for a well earned cold mythos. I had warned Bon about how small Nanjo was, and that she will be in a bit of a mess after all the work Marco had done for me. I'm really glad to say, she wasn't at all, even the slight smell of fiberglass was not enough to cause concern. Marco had done a great job of the repairs and trying to keep the dust down to a very low level. We quickly sorted out the cabins and Bon had the large double in the main cabin, as I climbed back into my snug skippers cabin. It was great to be back onboard again, oh, how I miss sleeping on Nanjo.

We were up early the next morning, as the sun was beaming down. It was shorts weather for sure. Marco had done a fantastic job with the repairs, it must have been a nightmare of a job, especially in the confined spaces. I had trouble bending my body down to check out his work in the back cabin, he came to see me later that day. And we agreed a very good price, I should think Marco's repairs will outlast the rest of Nanjo easily. Dave paid me a visit and mentioned the afternoon bbq, I had contacted them earlier to say I would be out, and they had picked up some meat for me and Bon. To be honest, he did seem very surprised when he first saw Bon, as I had only said I would be coming with a friend? By the time we had given Nanjo a wash down and clean up inside it was time for the barbie, it was great to sit in the sun with old friends and plenty of new ones as well. It's a great melting pot, sitting under a large cat with different nationalities in the sun. Bon, was a big hit with everyone, and I could see her thinking she could easily enjoy this lifestyle?
It was lovely to see my dogs again, and they were just as excited to see me as well. Mutley had lost a fair bit of weight though, must have been on a summer diet? I met up with Peter and Trix again, and we agreed to go out for a meal. They had been through a hectic summer season, and none of it as they had planned when I last saw them in May. Bon was finding her way around the marina and Nanjo quickly enough, and was enjoying herself. She is never happier than when she as some kind of tool in her hand and doing diy. My main job of the week was to be the leaking windows, we made a start on the worst one of them. I had researched on line how to remove the frames and which mastic to buy to re-bed everything. Typically, in the real world, nothing went as planned. With Bon inside holding the screws and me on the outside, the double ended screws all came out a hell of a lot easier than expected. I was expecting a few to break, but none. With Bon attacking the inside frame and me on the outside, trying to get them pried of the hull was not going to plan. Small scrapers, stanley knife blades and anything else we could think of using to get between the alloy and fiberglass worked in the end. The windows had been fitted with what seemed to be a black tar like mastic, it was horrendous to remove, white spirit, acetone scouring pad hardly touched it. It was a long job of gently scraping it of the frame and fiberglass in the end. Separating the frame to remove the perspex was even harder, as this black stuff had been piled into the gaps. We had worked all the second day, and only removed one window, and partially cleaned the frame up. A plastic bag was taped in place for the night as we both packed it in for the day. A gorgeous hot shower and a promise of good food with Peter and Trix in town later, made us both feel better. I could tell then, that doing six windows in the time we had might be pushing things. I had also wanted to climb the mast and run an extra line for my new cruising chute, get Bon to make new anchor locker lids and a whole list of smaller jobs. We had a fantastic dinner and hearing of Peter and Trix's year made me realize that with all the planning and maintenance we do on our yachts, it doesn't take much for it all to go wrong. They had nearly lost there yacht, and had spent the entire summer ashore in Vlicho having essential repairs carried out. They had only managed to sail for a week after I last saw them in May, they both admitted they had a lucky escape.
We were up early to attack the window frame again, finally getting it all cleaned and ready to re-assemble. A dry fit, Bon's idea showed up some serious problems straight away. The alloy frame fitted nowhere in the cut out, in fact three of the window frame screws were just biting into the mastic. There was a 3/4in gap in one corner, no wonder the window leaked? The perspex was undersized and really just held in with the large amount of black mastic that had been applied. It was immediately apparent the frame was either wrong or over Nanjo's lifetime she had been bodged time and time again, the fiberglass had been cut back. After a quick chat with several liveaboads, they suggested options on what to do. These ranged from, just bodge it back again with new mastic?, rebuild the fiberglass to match the alloy frames, buy new windows to match the cutouts or go for frame less windows with the perspex bolted direct to the cabin top? A quick look around the marina looking at the no frame option showed some well fitted windows. I've put some pictures of what I was looking at, the ones fitted to the Feeling yacht appeal. I like the painted silver frame idea, and luckily Nanjos cabin sides are pretty straight. Since coming home, I've found a UK company who will cut me new tinted perspex, drilled and polished and supply gasket and new hardware to mount them at a reasonable price. It's an unexpected expense, but will be well worth it in the long run I hope. Once I had made up my mind on what to do, Bon and me applied mastic to every part of the old frame in large amounts. Bolted it back in place, and covered it back up in a plastic bag and silver foil tape. It's a bodge for now until they are all replaced. We had spent 2 days on just the one window, inspection of the others revealed the same bodging technique with the black tar. I guess that's one of the joys of buying a yacht cheaply and one that had been in charter all it's life with various companies, gradually getting less and less maintenance?
The rest of the week was spent enjoying the sunshine and showing Bon around town. I had promised her a day of work, so we took the car to Sivota on Lefkas one day. We stopped on the way several times, I had not been to Vonitsa for ages and was amazed to see just how much the town is being tarted up. Vlicho was still busy with yachts and even Nidri sea front was still up and running. It was hard to imagine that I was here in October last year myself. Sivota was busy and the Neilson fleet was in, all heading back to Vlicho to be lifted out. We had a sandwich lunch, then drove round to the other side of the harbour for a swim and snorkel. The water was cold for the first few minutes, but we both soon didn't want to get out. Stopping at Lefkada for dinner on the way back to Messolonghi was perfect, oh how I wish Nanjo was afloat now.
I never managed to climb up the mast, but Bon did make a start on the anchor locker lids. She was very happy to play with my battery powered circular and jig saws, until they ran flat. The week was soon over, and it was time to say goodbye to friends and head back to Athens. We had probably done 20% 0f the jobs on my list, but had a great time. I nearly convinced Bon to stay onboard and carry on doing the jobs, she was seriously tempted.
On the way back, we got the ferry across to Patra rather than take the bridge, I nice way to travel and a lot cheaper if you have the time. I took Bon to the Korinth canal as well. It's one of those sights you just have to see, and always looks impressive. Hopefully I will travel through it myself one day? The flight back home was uneventful, apart from one major disaster. Bon had been taking plenty of photos all week as it was her first time, her camera must have fallen out of her bag in the overhead locker, and we never noticed it. It was only when back at my flat she checked her bag and it was missing. It was notified straight away to Easy jet, but as of now, it's still not been handed in? Luckily I had taken a few pictures myself for her to have.

01/03/2014 | Robyn Coulter
I'm so glad you decided to update. I've been checking back all year and hoping you hadn't given up the dream.
01/03/2014 | Jim
Thanks for looking at my blog. It's been a quick year away from sailing and Nanjo. My plans are to quit work in 2015 now, and resume where I left of. Jim
Finally an update??
Cold, wet and windy.
01/01/2014, Duston, Northampton

January 1st 2014

Finally an update on my blog?

I would be telling a lie if I said that I was so busy that I couldn't find time to update my blog as originally planned. It's the typical excuse of just not getting round to it. To be honest, today's the first time I've actually logged onto my sailblog site in 6 months. Just to see what I last wrote and what photos I had put on. Thanks to everybody who made comments, and who might have looked at the blog in 2013.
Well where do I begin, my last entry was me getting ready to travel out in May for my first look at Nanjo ashore and to spend a week on board. So that's where I will start I guess.

May 2013 Nanjo visit:
I had been buying plenty of bits of e-bay and down at my local B&Q, as seen in the picture of the box strapped to my Yamaha. Luckily my sister took me to the airport, and brought me back later. I had purchased my easyjet ticket back in December, so it was pretty cheap. Luckily my company allowed to let me have the week off work, after I had explained about the pre bought ticket ( I originally bought it to go back out for good?). I found a very good web site to pre-book a car for the week from Athens airport before I went out. A weeks hire was 80 euros, and included the basic insurance needed and unlimited mileage.
Everything went well for the trip, and I even managed to arrive at Messolonghi just after midnight and get a mythos at the bar. The temperature difference was startling after leaving the UK on a cold May day. I was greeted by thye dogs and a couple of liveaboard friends I had met over the winter. Climbing on Nanjo after being away for so long was a great feeling, I had spent every day and night on her for a year. Tom and Anne had done a great job of stowing bits below for me and making sure she was put in the yard cradle correctly and put to bed, after I had left in March. I'm very glad to say Nanjo was a dry boat below, the plastic bags over the leaking windows had done there job. Climbing back into my skippers cabin and just curling up on the bunk, was superb. I knew that I had come home and would always feel happy and contented on board Nanjo. I slept like the dead, only waking up when the sun was beaming down into the cabin and friends were knocking on my hull. I don't think they were at all surprised to see me the last person to wake up in the marina again, something I constantly did during the winter months.
The week on board went really quickly, I had a long list of jobs I wanted to do. Typically, some got done, new ones were added to the list and even more didn't get done? I partly fitted a 240 volt system to Nanjo, it was never very cleaver having the power lead coming in through the heads porthole and hooked up to an extension lead. Every time we had rain, I expected to see blue sparks flying around the cable. The pictures I've posted are as the system is now, I've now realized that it's not really that safe?? I will fit an rcd where the power first come on board, and I'm going to fit a galvanic isolator as well. Maybe a bit more research on my part before I left would have pointed the correct way to go?
I've posted some pictures of where the fiberglass was coming detached inside, some of the internal fitting bulkheads were no longer attached? It was all found out in my initial survey, but not cause for concern as Nanjo as an internal molding for the fitout. I spent a very dusty, and not pleasant time having a go at cutting out some of the old fiberglass. I had picked up a used dremel on e-bay with a flexi shaft and it was ideal with it's cutting wheel. Having a go at re-glassing, was not as easy as the books had suggested. Purely down to my lack of experience with the stuff, I should have practiced in the UK really. The smell on board after the first day, quickly convinced me that trying to sleep below even with the hatches open, might not be good for my health? Luckily after chatting to Peter and Trix of my problem, they put me in touch with Marco who lives on his yacht in the marina, and is renowned for his glass fibre repairs. A quick chat with him and showing what needed doing, it was more than I expected, after I had removed the two water tanks. He agreed to take on the job, and do it for me before my next trip out in October, he could then work onboard and vent Nanjo when he had the spare time. Result.
Nanjo is ashore in a great location, near the showers and loo block and a power lead just at the back of her. It was also the perfect spot to sit in the cockpit and watch the yachts and motorboats being launched. I was impressed just how quickly and organised the shore team were, and watching every yacht being a hell of a lot larger than Nanjo, meant I need not worry when it's her time to go back in. I've included some pictures of a yacht that was being launched, you can see what a beautiful condition her owner had her in. But tragedy was not far away, he motored out into the harbor and from what i heard had anchored. There was an explosion and very fierce fire onboard soon after. I heard the fire engines around the port area but had seen nothing as I was working down below. The pictures of her in the trailer burnt out, show what condition she was in just a few hours after her launch. The smell of burnt fiberglass hung over the marina all the time I was there. I never found out how the fire started, chatting to several other yachties and the theories were, gas leak or a diesel leak and the fuel catching fire on a hot engine/exhaust? A sobering sight for all of us there.
I had some lovely evenings ashore catching up with friends I had made in the winter, and of course chatting to liveaboards who were still to leave on there summers sailing expeditions.
The week went way to quickly for me and before I knew it, I was back in the hire car and driving back to Athens airport. The flight home went well, and the pilot even made us all laugh when he mentioned we would be landing at 22:30 and only 5 degrees. What a difference after leaving Greece in the constant high 20's. I had flown back with my banjo, it had only been out of it's case three times last year and was easier to sell in the UK than Greece. I'm trying to play the guitar now I'm home, to be honest, it's not going that well?

Work,sleep,rest,play. Work!
Sunny,raining,windy and snow.
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

07/07/2013 | Stuart Bale
Hi Jim, how our plans always change! After changing our destination from Greece to Corsica/Sardinia, we have decided to return to the UK just for the winter to top up the cruising fund. We are hopeful this will work out financially, as we can then cruise the summer months and work the winters - what this space...see how easy it is to get jobs! Good to hear your experience with Ray-marine was good, we had a similar experience with Garmin a few years back, they were very very good too. Cheers for now. Stella
26/07/2013 | Tony Drake
Hi Jim,
When are you going back?
Any joy with the early retirement / redundancy?
05/09/2013 | Robyn and Manny
Hi Jim, We're just back from a month's sailing in the Ionian. Before we left I read straight through your blog and found all kinds of helpful bits of information. Its a shame that the early retirement didn't work out. We hope you get back to Nanjo soon and that you keep blogging. Maybe we'll row past each other in Vilcho Bay :) Robyn
Update every 4 wks now.
10/03/2013, UK.

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.

10/03/2013 | Tony Drake
Hi Jim,
Thanks for the blog, it has been interesting reading. How long before you can go back full time?
All the best

Tony
20/04/2013 | Pete McFarlane
Hey Jim, I thought we were going to get 4-week updates?
My last week onboard Nanjo
Gorgeous sunny days.
10/03/2013, Messolonghi

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.

10/03/2013 | Pete McFarlane
Welcome back Jim. Hope it all works out for you. Have enjoyed reading your blog and following the adventure.
30/03/2013 | Stuart Bale
We hope you get back ASAP...you never know, we might meet up sometime. Stella & Stuart

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