01/12/2012, North Wales
I hate painting ceilings. I just thought I'd share that with you. My hair is now to be referred to as 'funky' as is the floor. As you were.
19/11/2012, North Wales
It started with a broken bottle of wine. I'd ummed and ahhed about buying this bottle - wine seems so expensive here and it was only for me to have a little tipple when preparing dinner. But it was half price and I succumbed. At the checkout I packed it carefully into one of those bags designed for the purpose - you know, the ones with the little extra pockets inside. I don't usually manage to do this as it can be a bit fiddly when all your items are coming past the till at a rate of knots that would please any sailor.
But I was having one of those rare, 'in control' moments. They don't come very often these days, haphazard and flustered being the more usual state of affairs. I blame the menopause. But today I'd even parked the car without having to go backwards and forwards half a dozen times, my bags were all lined up ready to be filled and the wine just slotted neatly into a pocket. It was when I got home it started to go wrong.
Somehow I kept getting sidetracked while unpacking the shopping. The fridge needed a little wipe over before I put anything else in, the cupboards a bit of reorganising and what was that on the radio? The shopping gradually piled up on the work surfaces as the bags emptied. Unnoticed by me, the wine, neglected and still upright in its pocket, was wobbling precariously in the by now otherwise empty and unbalanced bag.
It finally toppled over the side of the work surface, bringing its bag with it. The first I knew of it was the sickening crunch as it hit the tiled floor. It didn't just smash, it was positively pulverised. Tiny shards of glass swam in an ever increasing pool of fragrant sauvignon blanc. Some of it was contained in the bag, glinting in dripping nooks and crannies. No point crying over spilt vino, of course, but the air did get a bit blue.
By the time it was all mopped and the glass wrapped ready for disposal I could hear the bin lorry backing up outside. No time like the present for getting rid of it, then, and I might as well chuck that tub of elderly tomato salsa at the same time. So, sucking my lacerated hands and balancing parcel and sauce I opened the front door. You've guessed it. Seemingly in slow motion, the tub hit the floor, spraying chunks of tomato and juice as it did so, anointing walls, carpet and trainers.
These things come in threes. I'd bought a can of oven cleaner. I couldn't get the top off. Should I use a knife and lever it off? Not on your Nelly.
14/11/2012, North Wales
It's very difficult to write a blog when you haven't got much to say. I could probably write at length about the traumas of the BBC but that's not really what this site is all about. But the fact that I *could* do it probably says more about what I've been up to since leaving the boat than anything else.
Neil is in Hereford while I'm up here in North Wales. We talk frequently; on the phone, by text and by email plus I go down there now then but it's hardly the same as being together 24/7 on the boat. The weather isn't exactly conducive to getting out and about so, inevitably, we both spend a lot of time gazing at screens, either the computer or the T.V. I do try to do something a bit productive like brush up on the Spanish. I've even, finally, managed to put a coat of gloss on the stairs' wood work (the primer has been on for about two years now). And, of course, housework expands to the amount of time available to do it.
The internet can soak up an awful lot of time. An alarming amount of time, actually. Twitter is my Achilles' heel. I just can't resist clicking on the 'new tweets' box when I know I should really be doing something else. Most of the output from the box in the corner, though, is pretty dire but I'm now very into 'streaming' i.e. watching what you want to when you want to watch it - on the computer. This is the joy of unlimited broadband. I've watched the full season of 'Downton Abbey' this way and am now well into 'The Paradise' and the access to films is mind-blowing. Sorry to sound like an advert but after so long with crappy wifi and dongle signals, well, I may go a bit OTT.
One program we've both been glued to, though, is Shane and Timothy Spall's 'Somewhere at Sea'. If you haven't seen these voyages of the Dutch barge Princess Matilda as she makes her way around the coast of Britain you're in for a treat. Such lines as "Good job I keep rope in my handbag as well as lipstick" and "The North Sea is doing my head in" make the programs absolutely classic. And the crew are on Twitter.
07/11/2012, North Wales
Last night I dreamt of Messolonghi. I knew it was a dream even as I was sleeping. I was flying; soaring and swooping over the lagoon and marina. I could feel the breeze on my face and the warmth of the sun but I was strangely dissociated from the desolate landscape below me. All was not as we had left it. The hustle of autumn preparation was long gone. Few boats remained while those that did looked helpless and stranded as nature reclaimed the marina. The channel was silted up, the sand clearly visible like looking down from the cliffs in Newton Ferrars. The few boats wallowed at their berths the sand trapping them within inches.
Seren Môr wasn't there, only a plank marking her place. She was gone. I balanced precariously on the plank before falling onto the sand with a shock.
It doesn't take a psychiatrist to read the meaning into my dream. Seren Môr is for sale and we have had a several enquires, two of which sound serious. Neither of us really expected this when we put her up for sale on the internet. Who would be looking for boats in Greece over the winter? We left her fully expecting to sail her home next spring.
Of course, we may very well still be doing that but the interest has made us think seriously about the practicalities of selling her and emptying her of our possessions. The realities of giving her up to someone else's care are now stark. And haunt my dreams.
Seren Môr is currently up for sale in Messolonghi: http://apolloduck.net/271280
27/10/2012, North Wales
It seems to have been decreed that today is Halloween. Read my lips. It is not Halloween. Halloween is the 31st of October. It is non-movable. Halloween is on Wednesday.
But both Strictly and X factor keep repeating that "It's Halloween". It's not Halloween!
Having said that, Alex and Sophie have gone to a Halloween party tonight. Not being a gamer I don't recognise Alex's costume (The Slender Man, apparently) but it really is pretty creepy. Doesn't Sophie look lovely, though?
21/10/2012, North Wales
We've been giving some serious thought to a caravan. I know: shock and horror. But we are seeing our days cruising on Seren Môr coming to an end and we don't want to sit in our rocking chairs just yet. We'd had a shufty around a few second hand ones last winter to see if it was something that appealed and now with the caravan show on at the NEC it was logical to go and have a look.
So with packed lunch and flat shoes it was an early train ride to Birmingham. Anyone who has been to a boat show would recognise the scene. Crowds of people, salesmen giving forth their pitch, stallholders demonstrating some vital gadget you've never heard of and a lecture program you haven't got time to see. We loved it.
We did our best to see every make of caravan on the market, looking at build quality and particularly layout. We saw a lot that wouldn't suit us and a few that we think we could get used to. One thing's for sure, if we thought we hadn't got a lot of space on the boat then living in a caravan is going to be a challenge. Even the biggest only have one hanging cupboard. I couldn't fit my t-shirts in that let alone a winter wardrobe as well. It goes without saying Neil will have to do without. His priority is going to be finding a bed he can lie down in without cricking his neck or twisting his ankles.
We were only subjected to one pushy salesman. He was obviously laying it on for the expensive, top-of-the-range models and more than implying that if we bought one of these we would be joining an elite club. It was so tempting to say that anything would be a comedown after a yacht.
The show was a really useful, and fun, experience. Testing the comfort of the sofas (actually resting our feet) meant we got chance to chat with others who already have caravans and realised we still have a big learning curve ahead of us. However, we do think we now know the layout that will suit us best. It really is all very exciting!
Seren Mor is currently up for sale in Messolonghi: http://apolloduck.net/271280