Patch and Bert go travelling

10 June 2021
14 March 2021
16 February 2021
03 February 2021
24 January 2021
14 January 2021
10 January 2021
02 January 2021
29 December 2020
22 December 2020
16 December 2020
10 December 2020
03 December 2020
25 November 2020
17 November 2020

Enjoying a drink.

10 June 2021
Sadie Windmill | Sunny
After a successful liver detox, we are now enjoying the odd glass of wine or two and Jules has finally opened his whisky. Last week we had an early morning start from Eastbourne to Portsmouth and had a fantastic day’s sail. The wind was from behind, blowing us gently along, whilst the dogs played fetch on the deck and I sewed. It was a perfect day, even if the trolling line caught nothing but seaweed. Once we were berthed up, we had a walk with the dogs and found a little bar overlooking the harbour and savoured the delights of a chilled local beer, whilst our a Indian takeaway was cooked. I spotted stout on their real ale menu. As it was 15% proof, I just had a third of a pint. It arrived looking like a hot chocolate with a foamy head, and tasted of the pecan nuts and maple syrup, from which it is brewed. It was absolutely delicious. We ended our perfect day sitting on deck as the sun went down with a chicken dhansak.

After a day in Portsmouth, we were keen to get going and had an afternoon sail to East Cowes on the Isle of Wight. The wind was on the nose, which meant tacking the boat back and forth to get there. As usual the Solent was busy with lots of yachts, ferries and container ships. We only managed to get a berth, thanks to our friends who know the staff. It was no surprise that as lots of yachts are not away for the season, there was little space for the visiting boats. We had a superb evening with our friends Ken and Jenny, who taught us to sail over twenty years ago. A few bottles of red wine were consumed, and Bertie and Patch were on their best behaviour.

The next day saw a wet and windy morning, which made me do the washing in the marina laundry. In total 5 loads were put on, and all of it was washed, dried and ironed by early afternoon. Despite walking 5.7 miles to the washing machine and back, I had the easy job. Jules tackled the new pipe work for the heads (toilet). A few years ago we were persuaded that the plastic pipe was old hat, and to try the very expensive fabric pipe. It was extremely flexible and easy to fit, but they failed to tell us that the material would emit a very nasty smell after a few years! I was surprised that there was little swearing, given the fact that the holding tank had to be removed, and I am glad to report a sweet smelling toilet once more!!

At £45 per night we needed to move on, and slipped down the river to the Folly Moorings, a very popular yacht haunt. We enjoyed sitting on deck, reading and watching the world pass by. We took the dinghy ashore for lunch at the Folly Inn where we treated ourselves to a lovely meal and a nice glass of red! The place has some fabulous river walks, and we enjoyed walking through some wild flower meadows to get to the local church, where there are spectacular views over the river Medina. Whilst we were there Steph and Harry came aboard with their dog Phoebe. I taught Religious Education to Steph, and she is the only one of my students that went on to become a Vicar, although several have gone on to fight for the Taliban!!! Quite a few pots of tea were consumed, and whilst we had a lovely catch up, Patch got rather amorous with their dog!

We arrived on Monday in Yarmouth, and are still here. We have a berth, where we have to row ashore. Patch loves the dinghy and spends a great deal of time running up the pontoon and throwing himself into it, or for that matter, anyone else’s dinghy. Once Jules starts to row, he attacks the oars, they are just one giant moving stick to play with, and they now have little bite marks in them! We have spent four magical days walking about 10 miles each day in the glorious sunshine. We have found little cafes for cups of tea and matcha lattes and have enjoyed cloudy cider in beer gardens and wine on the yacht club terrace. Today, we enjoyed a flask of tea and fresh crab sandwiches on the beach, before Patch learnt to swim in the sea.

Reducing, Reusing, Recycling and Rekindling

02 June 2021
Sadie
I had forgotten how living aboard a boat makes you think lot about reducing, reusing and recycling. Last week we watched Ben Fogel visiting a young women and her baby in a remote part of Denmark. She was managing to live on 120€ per month. She used well water for everything in the house, the wood from the forest for heating and she drove to the local supermarket once a week to ‘dumpster dive’ for food that she could not grow herself. It reminded us of the young people we met in Gibraltar who lived on food that the supermarkets threw out each day. We took pity on them and taught them to sail so that they could get an Atlantic crossing as deck hands. Jules still reminisces about the best chocolate cake he had ever eaten, which they fished out of the skip as a thank you to him!!!

I don’t think I could ever go to that extreme, but it was great in Ipswich going up to the food market and buying fruit and veg at £1 a bowl. I am often sceptical and think that things will be poor quality, but what they actually sell is wonky fruit and veg that the supermarkets reject. The fish stall was also fantastic. As well as buying freshly caught fish, I always came away with a free bag of fish heads and bones to make up a fish stock with which to make a soup or bouillabaisse.

We have a total of 12 domestic batteries on the boat and spent a morning with a circuit tester trying to work out what was draining them. The bow thruster batteries were dead. There was acid leaking from one terminal. We ordered a couple of new ones and went to the office only to find out that they did not have a battery dumping area at the Marina. However, a local scrap yard would take them for cash. We borrowed a marina trolley and took them to the yard. As we were about to set off the Marina manager pointed out that someone had just dumped two more batteries by the bins and could we take them to save him a job. We were a bit fed up as we huffed and puffed our way to the yard. Jules put them on the scales, only to find out that we weren’t unfit, we had actually just pulled 101kg of batteries up a steep hill plus the weight of the trolley. At 50p a kilo we were well chuffed with our 15 minutes of work. Not only were we really pleased with our cash, but the marina manager gave us our last two nights for free for helping him out!!

We set sail once the batteries were installed in a gale, but it was still nice to potter down the river and to pick up a visitor mooring at the Yacht club. We spent a couple of days enjoying the riverside walks and the magic of Pin Mill. Pin Mill is a boat graveyard, full of old and rotting boats, in and out of the water. It is nice to see the old sailing barges being lovingly restored into house boats, and watching people recycling things from old boats, and using them again. The whole place has a very timeless feel to it. To round off a perfect stay the pub opened a private room for us upstairs, so we could eat inside in the warm away from anyone else.

We had a lovely sail to Ramsgate, and fell in love with its faded grandeur. We last came here to get the Sally Ferry to France for our honeymoon. Sally Ferries stopped using the port years ago, and since then a lot of the hotels and restaurants have gone, leaving little to see or do. The marina was empty, except for the seagulls, who had covered the wooden pontoons in very smelly poo. It is very silted up and at low water a great big mud bank appeared in the middle of the harbour. Despite all of this, the town had a vibrant feel, and it was good to see that the old barges in the inner marina are being restored and turned into a place for young people to enjoy the arts. We walked along the beach for 5 miles to the next town, Broadstairs, and enjoyed haddock and chips on the beach watching the school leavers having the time of their life. They walked out to sea in their uniforms, had a quick swim and then piled their uniforms high on the beach. Perhaps, it will be the first art work installed when the barges are fully restored!!

Next stop Dover! It was sad to see that instead of the usual high turn round of ferries, there was just one in at a time, a far cry from seeing it look like spaghetti junction! I was on the helm making sense of the instructions given from port control, “go into the east entrance of the outer harbour but you must stay south until you see the buoys for the west entrance and call again for further instructions into the inner harbour”. Not a clue ! Thank goodness I am not the skipper, and Patch is turning into a good second mate! The marina walls are slowly falling into the sea, and so a new one is being built and the old marina is going to be filled in and reused. It will have posh hotels and restaurants sometime in the future. We arrived on Saturday and were told not to go into town, as the National Front were having a protest. By the amount of police detention vans and ambulances it appeared to be a fairly violent one. They were raging against the boats full of immigrants arriving in the UK each day. We had seen the border control ships on the way in, and the marina staff explained to us, that on such a beautiful day, they would expect about 500 people to try to reach UK shores in a 24 hour period. We walked the dogs up and along the White Cliffs of Dover, which was purely magical and should be on everyone’s bucket list. Lots of families were having picnics and kids were learning to fly kites. The views on a clear, sunny day over to France were breathtaking, and I imagine there will never again be a time in history, when there was not a ferry in sight. These cliffs must have been sight to behold for the soldiers rescued off the beaches of Dunquerqe. I think we both felt emotional, especially thinking about how many lives would be lost that day in small rubber boats.

Our bank holiday weekend ended in Eastbourne, where we finally got a lie in after all the 4am starts. I had forgotten that time and tide waits for no man in U.K. waters. It was wonderful to wake up to a message from friends we met 8 years ago in Jersey, who now live at the marina at Eastbourne. Later in the day we rekindled our friendship over a glass of wine on the balcony of their penthouse overlooking our boat.

Today we are heading for the Solent and Isle of Wight, which was our old sailing ground when we were working. Let’s hope we enjoy it as much as we used to do. Our first stop is Gosport and then on to Cowes to meet our old friends Ken and Jenny from Happy Hobo.

Reducing, Reusing, Recycling and Rekindling

02 June 2021
Sadie
I had forgotten how living aboard a boat makes you think lot about reducing, reusing and recycling. Last week we watched Ben Fogel visiting a young women and her baby in a remote part of Denmark. She was managing to live on 120€ per month. She used well water for everything in the house, the wood from the forest for heating and she drove to the local supermarket once a week to ‘dumpster dive’ for food that she could not grow herself. It reminded us of the young people we met in Gibraltar who lived on food that the supermarkets threw out each day. We took pity on them and taught them to sail so that they could get an Atlantic crossing as deck hands. Jules still reminisces about the best chocolate cake he had ever eaten, which they fished out of the skip as a thank you to him!!!

I don’t think I could ever go to that extreme, but it was great in Ipswich going up to the food market and buying fruit and veg at £1 a bowl. I am often sceptical and think that things will be poor quality, but what they actually sell is wonky fruit and veg that the supermarkets reject. The fish stall was also fantastic. As well as buying freshly caught fish, I always came away with a free bag of fish heads and bones to make up a fish stock with which to make a soup or bouillabaisse.

We have a total of 12 domestic batteries on the boat and spent a morning with a circuit tester trying to work out what was draining them. The bow thruster batteries were dead. There was acid leaking from one terminal. We ordered a couple of new ones and went to the office only to find out that they did not have a battery dumping area at the Marina. However, a local scrap yard would take them for cash. We borrowed a marina trolley and took them to the yard. As we were about to set off the Marina manager pointed out that someone had just dumped two more batteries by the bins and could we take them to save him a job. We were a bit fed up as we huffed and puffed our way to the yard. Jules put them on the scales, only to find out that we weren’t unfit, we had actually just pulled 101kg of batteries up a steep hill plus the weight of the trolley. At 50p a kilo we were well chuffed with our 15 minutes of work. Not only were we really pleased with our cash, but the marina manager gave us our last two nights for free for helping him out!!

We set sail once the batteries were installed in a gale, but it was still nice to potter down the river and to pick up a visitor mooring at the Yacht club. We spent a couple of days enjoying the riverside walks and the magic of Pin Mill. Pin Mill is a boat graveyard, full of old and rotting boats, in and out of the water. It is nice to see the old sailing barges being lovingly restored into house boats, and watching people recycling things from old boats, and using them again. The whole place has a very timeless feel to it. To round off a perfect stay the pub opened a private room for us upstairs, so we could eat inside in the warm away from anyone else.

We had a lovely sail to Ramsgate, and fell in love with its faded grandeur. We last came here to get the Sally Ferry to France for our honeymoon. Sally Ferries stopped using the port years ago, and since then a lot of the hotels and restaurants have gone, leaving little to see or do. The marina was empty, except for the seagulls, who had covered the wooden pontoons in very smelly poo. It is very silted up and at low water a great big mud bank appeared in the middle of the harbour. Despite all of this, the town had a vibrant feel, and it was good to see that the old barges in the inner marina are being restored and turned into a place for young people to enjoy the arts. We walked along the beach for 5 miles to the next town, Broadstairs, and enjoyed haddock and chips on the beach watching the school leavers having the time of their life. They walked out to sea in their uniforms, had a quick swim and then piled their uniforms high on the beach. Perhaps, it will be the first art work installed when the barges are fully restored!!

Next stop Dover! It was sad to see that instead of the usual high turn round of ferries, there was just one in at a time, a far cry from seeing it look like spaghetti junction! I was on the helm making sense of the instructions given from port control, “go into the east entrance of the outer harbour but you must stay south until you see the buoys for the west entrance and call again for further instructions into the inner harbour”. Not a clue ! Thank goodness I am not the skipper, and Patch is turning into a good second mate! The marina walls are slowly falling into the sea, and so a new one is being built and the old marina is going to be filled in and reused. It will have posh hotels and restaurants sometime in the future. We arrived on Saturday and were told not to go into town, as the National Front were having a protest. By the amount of police detention vans and ambulances it appeared to be a fairly violent one. They were raging against the boats full of immigrants arriving in the UK each day. We had seen the border control ships on the way in, and the marina staff explained to us, that on such a beautiful day, they would expect about 500 people to try to reach UK shores in a 24 hour period. We walked the dogs up and along the White Cliffs of Dover, which was purely magical and should be on everyone’s bucket list. Lots of families were having picnics and kids were learning to fly kites. The views on a clear, sunny day over to France were breathtaking, and I imagine there will never again be a time in history, when there was not a ferry in sight. These cliffs must have been sight to behold for the soldiers rescued off the beaches of Dunquerqe. I think we both felt emotional, especially thinking about how many lives would be lost that day in small rubber boats.

Our bank holiday weekend ended in Eastbourne, where we finally got a lie in after all the 4am starts. I had forgotten that time and tide waits for no man in U.K. waters. It was wonderful to wake up to a message from friends we met 8 years ago in Jersey, who now live at the marina at Eastbourne. Later in the day we rekindled our friendship over a glass of wine on the balcony of their penthouse overlooking our boat.

Today we are heading for the Solent and Isle of Wight, which was our old sailing ground when we were working. Let’s hope we enjoy it as much as we used to do. Our first stop is Gosport and then on to Cowes to meet our old friends Ken and Jenny from Happy Hobo.

Living on our boat by Bertie the ship’s boy

24 May 2021
Bertie
It is terribly exciting living on a boat, particularly as I like to sit on deck and watch the comings and goings in the marina. We have a duck that comes to visit and swans that make a big flapping noise when they try to take off. Despite my small legs I can now manage the gaps between the pontoons and love to scare the seagulls. In their haste to get out of my way, they drop the mussels and I get to run off with them. Dad has put netting around the boat so that I can not fall into the water, and to stop Patch jumping off. He is such a naughty boy!

We are still in Ipswich due to gale after gale and the fact that the wind is against us for the next few day. We were hoping to set off this weekend, but Dad says that he doesn’t want to put me off sailing, so we will wait for calmer weather. I am quite happy about this as Ipswich is very exciting for a number of reasons.

Firstly, my first baby tooth fell out whilst eating a dentastick. I was gutted as I thought it would affect my eating ability, but I have found that I can gummy things just as easily. When I woke up the next morning, the tooth fairy had been in the night and there was a two pound coin in my basket. Mom and I went straight to the Lithuanian shop and selected 12 sausages and two packets of condensed milk biscuits! I do hope they open one of these shops in Yorkshire, you can get all sorts of sausages, the ones with runny cheese inside are my favourites.

Another reason I like Ipswich is because it has a lovely fish market. Mom went and got fish heads and tails for a bouillabaisse fish stew. She boiled up the bones with tomatoes, saffron, carrots, leeks and garlic. Once cooked, Mom drained and kept the liquid ready to add prawns, halibut and lots of fresh mussels. She then mashed up all the fishy bits and vegetables for me and Patch. I was told that Scrappy loved nothing more than fish eyes and vegetables mashed up for his tea, and we agreed that it really was delicious and gobbled it down. It was even tastier than the sausage! However, it was too rich for our little tummies and we spent the rest of the evening having the squits (mom doesn’t like me using that word) all round Ipswich town centre!!!! I think it put one or two people off their beer and definitely put mom off her fish soup!

I love the people we meet. Most evenings we walk around the marina and sometimes stop at a little pop up cafe called CULT. Mom says it is straight off the set of ‘It’s a sin’. We think Dad and I are the only straight men who go there. Even Patch stands with his paws out turned and has started to hump every male dog he sees. The bar man wears an ‘off the shoulder’ number, with his very big Afro hair flying everywhere, and he dances rather than walks round the tables. Everyone he serves is a ‘lovvey’ and the other day, when Dad had forgotten his hat, he offered to cut a bit off his hair and glue it onto Dad’s head. Mom thought this was very funny, but Dad wasn’t as amused! We sit and watch people going up and down on their roller skates. There are a lot of Freddie Mercury looking men, in tight white trousers, string vests and fake tans. There is one very strange man who walks around pushing a shopping trolley, and wears a skirt and a false pregnancy belly. He often stops and rubs his tummy as if he was really pregnant. I don’t know why but he gives mom the giggles.

I love the cafe lifestyle in Ipswich. Quite a few mornings it is just me, Patch and Mom who go out for a walk around the marina complex whilst Dad does jobs. We like these mornings as we often stop for a healthy breakfast. Dad, sometimes goes out to fetch something in the van which usually contain wrappers from somewhere called “Greggs” on his return. We think he is secretly stopping for a bacon sandwich! Our favourite is a little Catalan cafe where everyone is friendly and they all think I am gorgeous. On our walks we meet Telula. She is a little French bull dog who wears a pink lead which matches her owner’s trainers. He wears Elvis style sun glasses, the tightest shorts imaginable and a tiny body warmer revealing his waxed chest. Dad wishes Mom would stop meeting Telula and her owner as she always comes back and says how well presented gay men are. She looks at Dad with his hairy ears, greasy oil stained top and dirty hands from the engine room and just shakes her head.

Last week Mom and Dad finally sold their van on eBay, but not before we had a few lovely days out. We went to Aldebrough on the coast and enjoyed walking along the pebbly beach. There were lots of small fishing boats, and smokehouses and we enjoyed crevettes still warm from the smoke house and later a portion of fish and chips sitting in the rain on the beach. Then we went to Southwold which was really pretty with lots of little shops and plenty of fish restaurants down by the river. We walked back through the salt marches and poor Patch went running through one and was covered in mud.

Mom is on a health drive and has started with a liver detox. The day starts with a kale smoothie, artichoke and black radish supplements and milk thistle tea. Later in the day she has some dandelion tea and wheatgrass juice. Dad, not realising what it entailed, has offered to join her. Farmer Frank gave him a nice bottle of whisky when we left Yorkshire. You can imagine Dad’s dismay when he realised it might be a long while before he gets to taste a drop, and I have seen him looking longingly at my sausages. Last night she broke the news that tonight is the Epsom salt flush.... let’s hope the holding tank is working well!!!

Accepting life with Cancer

01 May 2021
Sadie
It is just over a month since my oncologist broke the news that my diagnosis of Chronic Lymphatic Leukaemia had returned for the third time. She was very matter of fact, and reminded me that it is all ‘par for the course’ with my diagnosis. The cancer cells come and then go with treatment and the superb news is that there are two more chemotherapy treatments on the market since my first diagnosis.

The first time round, I was so scared of treatment and of dying. Life became much bolder and brighter. My soul was filled with loving kindness and I could just see the good in everyone. I read a book on how kindness was good for you and I would spend hours thanking those cancer cells for teaching me about the importance of life, and taking them on a journey in my mind before setting them adrift at sea. After that, I could not go back to normal life, so we set off for a wonderful journey in the boat.

The second time round I was just angry- at my body for letting me down, at the cancer for coming back, at myself for believing I could prevent it with all my holistic therapies and at my Dad and sister for getting solicitor’s involved to get our own house back and at having to leave our amazing trip. Jules’ Dad sent me an email quoting the poem “ do not go gently into the darkness of the night, rage, rage against the dying of the light”. And that is exactly what I did, I raged and fought against the unfairness of it all.

This time I feel incredibly calm. I feel totally normal and am extremely healthy, and am trying to remember that this is a very early detection. My oncologist told me to concentrate on my health and not the cancer, and that is exactly what we have chosen to do. I am simply going to accept those pesky little cancer cells are there, and give them little attention. I hope to find a way to live with them as they are and will try my best to just keep them at bay for as long as possible before treatment. I have revisited my old cancer books written by Kris Carr and David Servan Schreiber, who with diet, meditation and holistic living have lived for many years with a serious cancer condition, but have managed to keep them in check. I will monitor my body for signs and Prem will monitor my bloods, and only when both are out of control will we begin chemotherapy. ‘Watch and wait’ is a strange sort of limbo, and last time I lasted six months before treatment was needed, but I was constantly watching for illness. This time I am going to watch for my good health and not give cancer energy or time. I am trying to embrace what the Buddhists call “the middle way”. It could be days, weeks, months or years before I need treatment, but I am determined to enjoy every minute and not to allow cancer to dominate every waking thought or to keep me awake at night dwelling on every possibility. Then when treatment is needed, I will fight again with all my heart.

The recent diagnosis has also reminded me to focus on what is really important.

1. Jules, Bertie and Patch. We have had some great walks around Yorkshire in the last few weeks, and have scattered TInker’s ashes in the Beck, so they will find their way to the sea and she can follow us on our travels. I wake up each morning and am so grateful that I have Jules and ‘the boys’. We have enjoyed the simple things - tea with friends in the garden, walks in the fields, paddling in the sea, and a glass of wine in the hot tub. After exhausting all other avenues, we got a Dutch skipper with dual nationality to bring our boat back into Ipswich, as we were unable to get to Holland. We have thought long and hard about keeping the boat as we have to holiday let our own home in order to finance it and in a Covid world and one where I might need to return for treatment at any moment, it is hard. However keeping her has to be the right thing, as it is a Covid free, safe place to be and I already feel so relaxed just being back aboard. We are having a wonderful week in Ipswich, using the boat as a caravan and visiting all the East Coast rivers by car. We visited Pin Mill and had out first glass of wine out at a country pub for 18 months. It is where Arthur Ransom wrote ‘ Swallows and Amazons’. The boat yard doesn’t look as if it has changed much in the last 100 years! Today, we went to another little creek, which was full of Thames barges. We enjoyed a walk along the salt marshes before finding a little fish stall. We enjoyed cockles, whelks, crevettes, jellied eel, smoked mackerel, cray fish tails and a dozen oysters and drinks for £15! We don’t know where we will end up this year, Jules rather fancies Scotland, but I am put off by the midges and rain... the Scilly Isles, Channel Isles and perhaps Ireland sounds far more appealing!!

2. Friendships - I am totally blessed with so many lovely friends who have sent me messages, emails, letters, cards, poems, jokes, and chatted to me on the phone and zoom. They have sent me flowers, chocolates, roses, plants, bottles of wine, books and sewing patterns. I even have been sent a few Amazon books but have no idea who to thank as there was no gift note inside. Our neighbours bought round gin and Mike who is in his eighties delivered a magnum of Prosecco, so I could ‘drown my sorrows’ if need be! I have had kind offers of places to stay when I need to come to Birmingham for the hospital. But more than that I know that I have been in so many thoughts, prayers and have been sent bucket loads of positive vibes. We have also been amazed at the practical help we have received. Our boat friends Ken and Jenny thought of all possible ways to get out boat back to the UK. Our friend Basia has found out all we need to do to get to Guernsey and our neighbour Paul spent days helping us lay a new patio. He is an engineer, and made sure that Jules did everything properly! Kate has taken the dogs out when we were working flat out on the garden and kept me company. Our one neighbour has offered to do our gardening when we are away and the other is going to do the housekeeping for guests. They have literally saved us from having to travel back from the boat each holiday let as my mom feels she can no longer help out, as she has my pregnant sister to support. We have enjoyed fire pit parties in the last few weeks, and beers in the garden after a day working on the patio.
3. Being kind - each time I have had a diagnosis of cancer I have been filled with a deep empathy for other people and their situations. I assume I feel like this, as people are so kind to me and so many friends check in with me each week. I watch the news and am so heartened by the temples in India buying oxygen and using the holy places as hospitals.... so different from UK churches closing their doors during lockdown. I love the fact that Indian doctors in the U.K. are offering zoom consultations to communities in India. I watch Paul O Grady on the TV and find it superb that people adopt difficult dogs from Battersea, and when an owner gives up a dog, they treat them with so much compassion and understanding rather than judgment. These little acts of kindness are what makes us decent human beings.
4. Family - Nan and Grandad were my rock. They were there for me and my brother when my parents moved away in my early twenties. When I was first diagnosed Nan used to say she had spoken to Grandad (who had died) and he said he wasn’t ready for me to die and see me yet, so I better keep fighting! I now hear her in my head and I know she would be saying that neither of them are ready to see me for quite some time!!!! My brother sent me a text as soon as he knew “ If you need anything, just shout”. He knows one day I may need his stem cells as he is a perfect match! I have had lovely messages and cards from aunt and uncles. And my family in America, Carol and Bernie keep me amused with photos, jokes, and plenty of emails and e cards. My sister and mom are extremely close to each other and do everything together which often makes me feel left out. I know this isn’t intentional, they just come as a pair and I don’t tend to get invited. My sister and I usually go for a walk on Sundays and she shares our love of a good curry and a tea garden. My mom texts me most days. My sister is pregnant and single so mom is concentrating her efforts there. And then there is my Dad and other sister! Since the last diagnosis when they involved solicitor’s over moving out of our house we have only spoken once. I rang them a few years ago, but my Dad made it clear that he didn’t want to speak to me or see me. Last week it felt incredibly sad that they had traveled over 150 miles to see my pregnant sister, but didn’t bother to even drop a card through my door to say they are sorry to hear that cancer has returned. We live less than 10 miles apart. So I accept what I have and focus on the things my Nan and Grandad would be telling me now!

I thought I would end with something a friend, who I have not seen in over 30 years posted for me:

Breathe
Breathe in the love, the support, the complete positivity and the sheer bloody mindedness of us all who want you to be well, get well and stay well once more

Breathe out the doubt, the negativity and the unwanted wastes of your energy and light

Breathe in all the incredible journeys you have been on, all the places and people you have met and promise yourself it will come again.

Breathe out, you have got this.

Lessons from a very long lockdown.

28 March 2021
Sadie Windmill
After 13 months of shielding, the latest lockdown has been hard. We are hoping that my second vaccine has worked, but we are trying not to pin all our hopes on it this time round. Last Thursday I had my long overdue cancer blood tests. Now we have the agonising wait for results, but as long as they come back clear we will feel as if we have hit jackpot. The latest lockdown has revealed a lot about me which I thought I would share in the blog.


I have really enjoyed TV programmes that I would never have watched before and got very emotional about them. We have loved Grayson Perry's art club on a Friday night. Each week he picks a theme and people from all over the country make something based on that idea. Some of it has been extremely moving, such as the picture a blind lady painted of the scene outside her window which she could remember from when she had sight. Last week was the theme of dreams and Johnny Vegas had me in tears with his pottery sculpture of Norman, which he based on a young down and out lad that he used to see each week in the park who reminded him of himself at that age. One of his regrets is that he never got out and spoke to him, and told him that he could make something of his life. He gave Norman angel wings, hoping and dreaming that he had made it. I was a total wreck! Grayson's wife has been interpreting lockdown dreams. I have had amazing dreams recently and apparently lots of us have had big and vivid dreams during lockdown as a way to process and deal with what has been going on. Pottery throwdown is another wonderful programme that has aired on Sunday evenings. It has been a joy to see different interpretations of the same challenge, and each week Jules and I have held our breath to see if the things had made it through the kiln. And finally, I can not end this section without a mention of The Repair Shop. There is a whole nation of women swooning over Will the Carpenter. Whoever would have thought that would have been a posssibility pre Covid!!!
I love meeting and talking to new people and so dog walking has kept me sane. One evening I met a lovely old man and we got chatting as walked round the block together. He told me that he lived by himself and saw dog walking as his opportunity to legally socialise and chat with others. I met him the night I found out that I had no antibodies and was really upset and worrying about what it meant for my immune system. He told me that he had been in remission for 28 years, and it was just the tonic I needed. Most mornings, if Jules is not with me, I walk across the fields and often bump into a man called Ben and his giant collie cross who has the softest ears in the world. Patch loves Ben as he has a pocket full of tasty treats. Ben's wife has had a major back operation and dog walking gives him time out. We usually meet Zak,who is a wild Jack Russell pup, and his owner whose husband is in hospital with COPD. And then of course Lola a leggy, young greyhound joins us. I am not sure 4 people and 6 mad dogs are exactly following Covid regulations, but in wild open fields where we all keep more than 5 metres apart, I don't think anyone is going to stop us at 8am..... and somehow, that bit of human social interaction gives us all the right start to a day.
My tolerance levels of what I perceive to be silly has hit an all time low. Ms. Patel has obviously never visited Gibraltar, as she would realise the tiny rock hasn't enough room for its citizens, let alone as a place to home asylum seekers. Having lived in Gibraltar for three months I can say with confidence that the only bit of the rock not already built on is the pointy bit at the top which is home to the wild and vicious monkeys. But the one that really had me muttering to myself was when a government minister announced mother's had suffered emotionally and mentally during lockdown as a result of having their own children at home and some would need help and support going forward. As my Nan would have said, "the world has gone mad". Right at the beginning of lockdown I reduced my news intake to Alexa headlines, but perhaps I need to reduce it to zero!
I have enjoyed learning new things, especially from the radio. Jules listened to a radio programme about the 50th anniversary of the publishing of "The Lorax" by Dr Seuss (who is more famous for writing The Grinch who stole Christmas etc). It encouraged Jules to buy the book and I had a lovely bath with a glass of wine, candles and Jules reading the poem (which is what the book contains) to me. We were both astonished that this story for children from 1971 sums up so much that is wrong with society, and the damage we do to our environment.
I really miss the sea and so the last two weeks have been brilliant having to do click and collect for decorating materials , which has given us an excuse to go to Scarborough. We have had a walk along the beach with a cup of tea and a hot donut as a special treat. Patch loves running into the sea for his ball, whilst Bertie wasn't quite sure what to make of the cold and wet. The beach was deserted apart from the odd dog walker and brave spring swimmer. I have tried to persuade Jules that we could don the wetsuit and try the water, but he doesn't seem so keen.
I have worried more about my health in lockdown than at any other time because Covid has led to me shield. It has also led to my tests being 4 months overdue. So a week last Thursday we made the round trip to Birmingham. It was actually lovely to be out of Yorkshire and even driving down the motorway was exciting. The roads were extremely quiet and we made the journey an hour and fifteen minutes quicker than normal. Jules enjoyed a MacDonald's bacon and egg macmuffin, the first for over a year. Driving through the centre of Birmingham seemed very strange as it was like driving through a ghost town. City centres should be full of hustle and bustle - not deserted. The hospital was extremely well set up. I was in and out in 15 minutes with homemade cake to eat on the way back from one of my favourite nurses and friend. The oncology ward is usually a hive of activity and noise, but patients were having their chemo alone in little isolated pods and my heart went out to them and their bravery. It was the first time I have walked onto the ward and not been met with hugs, kisses and lots of family updates from the staff. As well as the patients, I have no comprehension of what it must be like for the nurses working all day in full PPE with patients who need extra support and care.
I am so relieved to have finally found the best Indian takeaway in Ryedale. I had thought I had gone off curry as they all seem so bland and greasy up here but just recently a new curry house has opened in our nearest village and they do a great takeout delivery service. We have dimmed the lights, played Indian music, put red paper napkins on the table and been at our own curry house. The food has been stunning, and I am addicted once more. In fact, if it were left to me, I might have one every night of the week.
I have decided not to keep things locked away. I recently purchased a beautiful cabinet from an online auction house in York. I think everyone must be sitting in front of an auctioneer on a Saturday morning as the bids kept pouring in. When we collected the furniture and got it home we found a beautiful box of silver spoons inside from December 1939. They had obviously been given as a wedding or Christmas present and never used as they were in mint condition. It felt terribly sad that someone at the beginning of the Second World War saved those spoons for a special occasions and never used them. Was it because a wife was waiting for her husband to return from war? Did they get lost in a country house when it was used for military purposes? So it has inspired me to get out our silver canteen of cutlery that Nan and Grandad bought us as a wedding present, and the many cut glasses we seem to have acquired and to use them daily. They might get broken, but I would rather that, than someone find an attic full of stuff that will be sold for next to nothing at auction after we are gone.
I have become really mindful during this lockdown of how easy it is to keep ordering things online. It has alarmed me just how much stuff we have thrown into our skip. It has reminded me of Dr Zeus's book about us wanting bigger and better all the time. So I have laid out all the things other people might want and have placed them in front of the skip. During the day bags disappear. We were walking round the village last week to be met by a little old lady who thanked us for her new curtains, which were already being altered. It has encouraged our neighbours to add to our pile and we have quite a free 'shop' going.
Lockdown has shown to me the importance of stewardship and loving kindness to each other. A bunch of daffodils, a call from a friend, an unexpected text has all helped make lockdown bearable. Jules and I are trying to work out a way to get our beloved boat back to the UK so we can sail around U.K. waters this year in a safe manner. So far, we have not got a firm plan, but so many people have offered advice and suggestions. The Dutch will not let us into Holland, and the British will not let us out. So we are looking into a Dutch crew getting the boat back as far as Belgium and our MP is looking into whether we could travel to Belgium and bring her straight back to the UK as it is a delivery trip not a holiday. We will abide by whatever rules we have to this year to get rid of Covid and if we can not get to the boat so be it. However, it does seem odd that we can not travel by the tunnel in a van with toilet on board and all provisions needed for the trip (so we do not need to interact with anyone from leaving Dover to returning in out own boat) but as from Monday two house holds can mix and then from the 12th all shops can open until 10pm, people can have their hair and nails done and go to the gym!

"Unless someone like you
cares a whole awful lot
Nothing is going to get better.
It's not."
Vessel Name: Leslie Frank of Bursledon
Vessel Make/Model: Moody Grenadier 134
Hailing Port: Southampton - now from Yorkshire
Crew: Jules and Sadie , Tinker and Scrappy
About: KEY ROLES Jules .. skipper and breakfast chef Patch -first mate and duck scarier Sade.. master and commander Bert .. ships boy (and dustbin thief)
Extra: A continuing journey of exploration and adventure with our two adorable dogs
Leslie Frank of Bursledon's Photos - Main
69 Photos
Created 10 June 2021
Stopped from sailing but not from walking
64 Photos
Created 22 March 2020
A small little fishing harbour, quaint and beautiful
15 Photos
Created 25 August 2019
121 Photos
Created 20 August 2019
Denmark 2019
58 Photos
Created 20 August 2019
Copenhagen, including visit by Ruthy
20 Photos
Created 20 August 2019
21 Photos
Created 30 July 2019
30 Photos
Created 30 July 2019
18 Photos
Created 30 July 2019
One of our favourite places.
40 Photos
Created 30 July 2019
Laboe in Germany
23 Photos
Created 30 July 2019
23 Photos
Created 18 July 2019
48 Photos
Created 18 July 2019
University town, in Holland. Really beautiful place to sit out some bad weather
43 Photos
Created 18 July 2019
German Frisian isle, just loved it.
40 Photos
Created 18 July 2019
Sandbanks, sea bats, cranberry pie, raw herring, seals, submarines, spoonbills and wildflowers. We just love these islands
124 Photos
Created 26 June 2019
11 Photos
Created 20 June 2019
18 Photos
Created 20 June 2019
10 Photos
Created 20 June 2019
A Fresian Isle with great cycling and beautiful scenery
28 Photos
Created 20 June 2019
A beautiful day cycling out to the National Park and then hiring kayaks
13 Photos
Created 20 June 2019
A privilege to go round her house, she saved hundreds of Jews and resistance workers during the war.
8 Photos
Created 20 June 2019
We loved it here
32 Photos
Created 20 June 2019
Beautiful houses
18 Photos
Created 20 June 2019
A beautiful old town
38 Photos
Created 20 June 2019
Over four days all the children of various clubs and societies walk between 5-15 km a night. On the fourth night the adults line the street and tie presents round their necks in celebration.
8 Photos
Created 7 June 2019
A great day out
33 Photos
Created 7 June 2019
The UNESCO world heritage site for windmills
3 Photos
Created 7 June 2019
9 Photos
Created 1 June 2019
11 Photos
Created 1 June 2019
Town on the coast
9 Photos
Created 1 June 2019
41 Photos
Created 1 June 2019
Loving the canal system, beautiful towns and tea and cake
33 Photos
Created 1 June 2019
Enjoying Belgium
29 Photos
Created 19 May 2019
A great place to be, especially the midnight crypt visit
16 Photos
Created 16 May 2019
9 Photos
Created 16 May 2019
Guernsey April 2019
44 Photos
Created 16 May 2019
My little boy
12 Photos
Created 16 May 2019
French food and Belgium Drinks May 2019
18 Photos
Created 16 May 2019
Tinker enjoying all the fun
11 Photos
Created 16 May 2019
May 2019
29 Photos
Created 16 May 2019
May 2019
20 Photos
Created 16 May 2019
Cherbourg, Le Harve, Dieppe and Boulogne
36 Photos
Created 16 May 2019
5 Photos
Created 20 March 2018
57 Photos
Created 13 August 2017
July 2017
72 Photos
Created 31 July 2017
28 Photos
Created 19 June 2017
12 Photos
Created 6 June 2017
Spring 2017
44 Photos
Created 18 May 2017
63 Photos
Created 26 April 2017
March and April 2017
19 Photos
Created 2 April 2017
32 Photos
Created 8 November 2016
88 Photos
Created 4 October 2016
78 Photos
Created 24 September 2016
35 Photos
Created 14 August 2016
June 2016
186 Photos
Created 28 June 2016
2016
136 Photos
Created 2 April 2016
59 Photos
Created 30 January 2016
2 Photos
Created 24 September 2015
51 Photos
Created 11 April 2015
37 Photos
Created 23 January 2014
120 Photos
Created 14 August 2013
70 Photos
Created 11 June 2013
17 Photos
Created 7 May 2013
48 Photos
Created 1 April 2013
Two small black dogs turn pirate. Click the photo of the van to see more photos
9 Photos
Created 10 March 2013
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