Still BBQ weather here in Cartagena. 50+ adults today. Great company and music.
Winter Arrived, Well Kinda
(post written 3rd March 2016)
To be honest, compared to the UK it wasn’t really Winter but comparatively February was colder and wetter than any other month so let’s call it Winter. We did after all have ice on deck one morning. Didn’t think I’d see that again after Falmouth but it was only the one day so can’t complain.
There have also been a couple of hail storms. The weather over the weekend just gone was pretty rubbish. Wind, rai, hail and cold (still double digits but again in comparison to what we had been having, cold with the wind). Neil was a nightmare all weekend as he couldn’t get on with his jobs. It was his birthday but that didn’t help improve the mood, probably made it worse! It is hard on the boat when the weather is poor and you can’t open the boat up and do stuff. However, we survived days and days of rain and damp in Cornwall in the winter so a 2 day “lock-down” before you see the sun and 18º again isn’t bad.
Neil has been really busy getting the boat ready for sailing again. I know he will get round to a post documenting his jobs so won’t list them all here. One thing he did do though was to paint the outside (and inside) of the deck pod. Replacing the yellow roof with white. It was a shame as I liked the yellow but the burgundy enclosures look better against the white.
I asked Neil for some more hooks in the galley for storage. True to form, the same day I have a nicely shaped wood block with hooks for my twiddly bits in the galley. Note the pot holder with the cats on. From my favourite home store, A Loja do Gato Preto. I’ve told Neil that this is for show only and not to use it!
I had boat jobs too. I made a waterproof cover for the top of the storage box which we moved from the deck pod to the deck and I also made covers for our new water carriers to protect them from the sun and a new round cushion for the deck pod’s newest seat. I made the water carrier covers from a cheap blue tarp to see if they work as we want and as a template before I cut up the more expensive burgundy fabric. We’ll stick to the blue ones for now, until they need replacement.
As well as my few boat jobs I’ve been cracking on with my crochet. It doesn’t add to our coffers but I enjoy doing it and it gives me something to do. I finished my Attic 24 Coastal Ripple Blanket and it’s now on the bed. I’m really pleased with it. Not perfect, but a lot of satisfaction knowing that is was made by me. It’s really warm too. I’m waiting for another Attic 24 kit (Jolly Chunky Bag and/or Rainbow Raindrop Cushion cover) to arrive from the UK. (update: arrived today). While waiting I made up the bag pattern from the leftovers of the colours from the blanket. Initially I had the handles in the wrong place, then I decided to put a liner in. Again not perfect but made by me. It might yet wing its way back as a present for someone, who knows.
Pam, our American friend from Deja Vu had asked if I could make her some squidgy baskets. After I finished the blanket, I gave it a go. I had some navy t-shirt yarn (yup as it sounds, made from t-shirts) that I had bought for this purpose. I have to say, way more difficult that I could of imagined and hard on the hands. Initially I was using a 12mm hook and my thumbs on both hands ached after a few minutes. I then went up to a 20mm hook and this was better. I think I frogged (took apart) the project over a dozen times before I got something I was vaguely happy with. I tried it with a narrower t-shirt yarn and this was easier. I also have some pretty cotton yarn and I’ll try that as a basket. I’ve made a couple of dishcloths out of some blue cotton yarn that I had in my stash – I think it was from a raffle prize when I used to go to Knit & Natter. These are great as they can be washed and re-used numerous times. Less of the throw-away culture that we are so used to.
Being February also brought us Valentines Day. The one day of the year when I refuse to cook. I don’t mind if we go out or if Neil cooks but I do not. Neil cooked. I lay on the bed reading while he prepared a fantastic supper of duck breast with dauphinoise potatoes and red cabbage with red wine. It was really tasty. I didn’t want a bouquet of flowers but picked a brightly coloured Gerbera which lasted a week.
In February Team Essence, a 5 man team attempting to break the transatlantic rowing record of 52 days 23 hours from Portugal to Venezuela (3,807 miles) trained and departed the marina here in Lagos. They left with quite a fanfare and have such communication on board that they are able to send regular written and video updates via their Facebook Page and Twitter. They have had a tough time, been rolled a few times and dunked in the Atlantic. If 5 marines find it tough then a 4 person (2 guys, 2 gals) team which left this week, Row to Rio 2016 will surely find it hard too. The team of 4 were here for a couple of weeks waiting out the weather. However, they slipped out of the marina for their challenge very quietly on Monday morning. Unfortunately their website and social media did not confirm when they were leaving or invite people down to see them off. Neil happened to see them go on his way to the shower. I sincerely wish both teams the best of luck with their individual challenges.
One Wednesday morning (17th Feb to be precise) Neil was drinking his tea on deck and noticed a large amount of coaches (looked like team coaches) passing followed by cars with bikes on the roof. A quick Google search told us that it was the first stage of the 2016 Volta ao Algarve cycle race due to leave the square in Lagos later that morning. Neil was keen on the Tour de France and neither of us had seen a cycle race start before so we headed down. All the team coaches were parked along the river front by the main square and the teams busy getting bikes sorted. A stage in the square was no doubt telling us all about it (in Portuguese) but some names were recognisable like Geraint Thomas (I’ve just checked, he won overall). We had a mooch between the coaches and then stood next to the barriers at the start line. The teams started to line up and then one of the Cannondale team members gestured to me and then threw me his cap. Number 24 Marino Moser must of been ditching weight (not that the cap weighs anything) as there were no merchandise giveaways anywhere. I was chuffed to be what appeared to be the only member of the public with a team hat.
Garry next door on Friendship has just been up his mast trying out his new climbing kit. It was quite something to see him climbing up. Let’s hope he doesn’t actually need to use it for repairs.
I have just finished listening to an audiobook (Those who know me know I listen to these all the time. I also have an earlier blogpost about audiobooks) called ‘Elizabeth is Missing‘ by Emma Healey. I’ve put the short blurb below so you can see what it’s about. I was trying to explain to the girls at Coffee Klatch how it made me feel to listen to it. Some of you will know that my Nan has Alzheimers (could they not of given this condition an easier to spell word, particularly given the symptoms!!) my Dad has Fronto-Temporal Dementia and my friend, at 54, has just been diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimers.
“Maud is forgetful. She makes a cup of tea and doesn’t remember to drink it. She sometimes thinks her daughter Helen is a total stranger. But there’s one thing Maud is sure of: Her friend Elizabeth is missing. The note in her pocket tells her so. And no matter who tells her to stop going on about it, Maud will get to the bottom of it”
In the book, Maud (the narrator) talks about her daughters reactions to things she says or does and I can so relate to some of these when dealing with my Dad. I know that I’d sigh when explaining for the 4th time why something needed to be done, or as he read out all the road signs or notices on walls. Maud talks about her fear and embarrassment when she can’t think of the right word to use for an item or if she’s asked a question she can’t remember the answer to. To “hear” the mind of a person suffering from Dementia was quite an eye-opener, although the author is not a sufferer herself, anyone who has spent time with Dementia sufferers can appreciate that this is likely to be close to how they thinks/feels.
Review from Philippa Parry, The Independent:- Not only have we several genres in the one novel, we have two main themes. How it feels to experience dementia, and a page-turner of a detective story. If I had to describe it in one word, it would be beautiful. It is a gripping thriller, but it’s also about life and love: the love of an exasperated daughter for her mother; the love of sisters and of friends and the love I felt for Maud. Our narrator has taught me to be more patient with my own demented father when he is insistent that something is important even though I find it hard to believe him. Somehow Emma Healey manages to get into Maud’s head without making it depressing or boring. It’s moving, but not bleak. You follow the strange logic and it suddenly makes sense.This is an extraordinary tale of believable, ordinary tragedy.
I wish I had read/listened to this before Dad was ill. I’m not sure it would of changed my actions but I think I would of had more understanding of how his mind might of been working. Things I found frustrating, some of which were in the book:- I’d get Dad to promise not to go out in the dark, which he would promise – then go out in the dark. At the time of the promise, he was genuinely sincere and meant it but using Maud as an example, that is then forgotten or seen as not that important. Also times when he’d tell me something and I’d dismiss it as probably not true. One time he told me on a few occasions that his pressure mat next to his bed didn’t work so the carers didn’t hear him trying to get up in the night. I thought that wouldn’t be right as he said he had told them. However after he told me a few times, I tried it for myself and he was right, it didn’t work. Just because he is confused a lot of the time, doesn’t mean that it is all rubbish. I’m probably not explaining it well but I do recommend the book. There is a good mystery from Maud’s past running through which weaves itself into her current situation and her search for her friend Elizabeth.
Things to look forward to in March:- Mum and Bry are coming out next week to visit for a week then a week after that I go back to the UK for 8 days to catch up with other family and friends before we leave the marina for the season of sailing.
Confucius say:- “We all have two lives. The second one starts when we realize that we only have one.”