There is, as usual around this time, a lot of talk about the real meaning of Christmas, and the ministers of religion take their roles seriously and give their official views. The Queen gives her Message (I must admit I only watched it once, and that was decades ago). My dad once commented that Christmas was "bad temper time", and most of us would admit there is a lot of Christmas-associated stress within the family, what with food prep, gift buying, holiday travel arrangements, etc, etc. We lose it, we drink more, or eat too much - and we try to have a good time, yet often it IS a blessed time too.
For me the best moment of all was seeing the Christ Child. It happened in Windmills toy shop in Hobart, where Adrienne and I were looking for a present for our granddaughter, Belle. We fell into discussion with a lovely young mother who had a two-year-old and a 9-month-old baby crawling at her feet. While she was telling us of the toy we had chosen and how her two-year-old had loved it I was watching her baby daughter as her mum picked her up; the baby was looking at me with unbroken attention, as curious about me as I was about her! We said nothing to each other as I touched her outstretched finger, but much was exchanged. Communication unhindered.
It was only afterwards, recalling her face, that I said to Adrienne I saw the Christ child! The little ones' face, her whole attitude, reflected a natural trust, utter openness, total fearlessness, and in that moment I saw it - how can I explain it otherwise - the Christ Child.
I can feel tears starting behind my eyes now.
Saturday is my shift, from 1100 to 1500, when I sit at this desk with with up to 9 transceivers at my fingertips - HF and VHF. Weather is read at 1345 and notices to mariners, and then call-ins from boats, mostly local, but sometimes out in the Tasman Sea. There'll be more while the Sydney - Hobart race is on; I got a call from one of these yachts today, called Kiss Goodbye To MS, for a radio check.
I feed the colourful rosellas, read a book, drink tea, eat fruit cake. Sometimes the fishermen (often alone) working the south coast or the east coast report their positions. Their voices sound different to those of the pleasure sailors.
There are no strong wind warnings today. The typical forecast reads:
Winds: North to northeasterly 10 to 15 knots. Seas: Below 1 metre. Swell:
Southwesterly about 1 metre. Swell: Northeasterly 1 metre. The chance of
thunderstorms this afternoon and evening. The chance of fog this afternoon andevening with reduced visibility.
We have decided NOT to sell Bluebottle. We are living on board right now and it's great. Some time soon we will set off on another voyage, after refitting the old girl. In the meantime there is work to be done, both on the boat and on our financial situation.
We'll work it out.
Photo: The dream. Approaching Moorea, a beautiful island with coral reef and turquoise lagoon, an easy day's sail from Tahiti. We visited twice, needing to go back to Papeete for our clearance out of French Polynesia.
Flue wrapped in wire and pie plate...
We are back on board, and really enjoying it!
Today - for the first time, and amid the cold of a Tassie springtime - I set up the chimney (flue pipe) and hose-clamped a screen of wire mesh to the top, to stop any sparks flying. This feels just like Ratty and Mole - there is nothing quite so satisfying, as "messing about in boats"! To shield the windward side of the chimney I found an aluminium foil pie dish and wired that on! All good fun, but more was to come.
Sawing small pieces of firewood even smaller, finding kindling, and now lighting our cast-iron wood-stove for the first time! Soon Adrienne was cooking an omelet, with tomato, ham. onion and cheese, and I put on our little espresso coffee pot and put the kettle on.
Outside the bright sun shone and the wind blows hard and chill from the west.
Woman sailor falls overboard having a pee and survives! Click and go to this link, from Sherry McCampbell:
Noonsite: Female solo sailor saved by mobile phone after falling overboard
French solo sailing star Florence Arthaud fell off her boat during a toilet break but was saved from the Mediterranean waters by rescuers after she called her mother by mobile phone.
Well! Kicked out of our beloved domicile."forced"to live on the boat. We find ourselves adrift - between houses, not yet in the new house -and recovering from a night which involved getting pulled over loudly by police and being over the limit.
More later. Typing this on my phone; not too easy.
Now the story... The new tenant, let's call her Matilda, arrived, with 5 cats, after driving from Queensland for 4 days. Of course she wanted in, and I was still (after 2 months) working on last minute jobs, trying to install that essential thing, the toilet. Dusk. We bought a roast chicken at Woolies, and a bottle of Hardy's Postage Stamp red wine, and drove to the waterfront. It was beautiful. Dom had invited us to stay, rather than go to a hotel, for it was too late to go to the boat being now dark. Sat for a couple of hours (maybe one) watching the Friday night parade. Finished and satisfied, I started the car and pulled out. Within 30 seconds the police car behind me was making every effort to be noticed -lights, siren, HELLO!!!. I pulled over. Well, what choice? License. Breathe into this sir. Long pause. Well..."You're over the limit but not by much. How about you turn there, park your car, and go for a walk, have a coffee." (I'm not gone, haven't been booked!). "Okay". So we did it, and the fun thing was, we came back to the car, and, guess what, the police truck was parked right alongside!
Slept at the boathouse last night.