Friday, October 27, 2006

Catching up

We're gradually returning to something like normal here. You know the way, when you go on a two-week holiday, it seems as though you've been away for four months? Well, despite the fact that we have been away for four months, it does sometimes feel like two weeks. Really, very little has changed. I did encounter traffic gridlock in Diss* on Tuesday when we went to buy Ben some school shoes, but I see the traffic problems have made the front page lead of our weekly paper so clearly it's not normal.

*Diss: population 7,000. Main cause of traffic jams in normal times: ducks crossing main road.

Have gone through phase 1 of unpacking and clearing up, we're now going through phase 2 - bringing life back to normal by working out what's still missing! Grocery shopping is a real challenge, as I'm still thinking in terms of buying enough for storage on Kalessin and have problems with getting stuff for a full week. Also, I keep finding things we have run out of which I didn't know about, and then over-compensating - total crisis last weekend when we ran completely out of loo paper and had to borrow a roll from Alex - but we now have more than 20 rolls which should keep us going for a bit. In my mind I thought we had plenty, because I knew we had spare rolls on Kalessin - fat lot of use if they're 1,000 miles away and you need to wipe your bottom right now.

Yesterday Guy and I spent the day in Norwich. Most of my purchases were to replace items left on Kalessin - new butter dish, new weights and gasket for the old pressure cooker as the new one is still in Portugal, new comfy trousers as the old ones are... etc, new oven glove to take out to replace the one we burned through. Note, how can an oven glove cost twelve pounds? I finally found one for £1.99 in the Co-op. And as for food prices in the UK... well, best not to go there. On the other hand, clothes seem extraordinarily cheap - I bought a leather jacket for £35 from BHS. I don't believe leather jackets have ever been that cheap in my whole life.

As mentioned in the last post, we looked at a Folkboat (see drawing) last weekend as a possible restoration and sailing project for Sam and Ben. The boat looked good, although not entirely original, but eventually we decided against buying it because Sam is already so busy at work he doesn't think he could devote enough time to it. If we bought her she'd be sailed mainly in the winter, as Kalessin would be priority in the spring, summer and autumn, and there's also the perennial problem of the cheap yacht, that it costs far more to moor and maintain than it does to buy. We may still buy something for sailing in the UK, but not this year.

And we still have two dinghies (a Topper and a Miracle) which we haven't sailed for well over a year.

We also have to decide whether to restart things that we've cancelled. Yes to milk deliveries, as buying milk in supermarkets is a pain. No to a daily newspaper, we might just get a Guardian on Saturdays. Jury still out on organic veg boxes.

A few other little decisions still in the pipeline, like what I should do with the rest of my life. I can't work up much enthusiasm for internal comms at the moment, but there's the chance of some part-time work which might start in mid-November, with some people I know and like - but it might not start until January, or never, who knows.

I think both Sam and I are still clinging on to the feeling that the trip isn't over yet. We spend lots of time reading the sailing discussion groups on, and tracking down and reading the blogs of those we met on route - especially Moondance (now in Gibraltar) and Birvidik (who have comforted us by saying they've had five solid days of rain in Lagos). I've also just received an update from Declan on Khepri - they have been in Porto Santo, Madeira for the past two weeks or so, and say "In the main the weather has been great, but we have had, gales with rain, thunder and lightning and torrential showers for the past couple of days - still in shorts though!"

I remember shorts... just. I did put on one of my beloved cashmere sweaters this morning though, and had to take it off again - too sticky and claustrophobic. So it can't be winter yet.

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