14 February 2013 | Messolonghi
Sunshine and Hailstones?
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.