Tuesday, January 08, 2008
What we got for Christmas
Our presents were much less sailing-related this year than in many previous years. Perhaps that's because we already have a lot of what we need?
By special request, my present from the boys (although I do suspect Sam of organising it) was a purple ukulele. They are said to be the easiest instruments to learn and I thought it was about time I caught up with Sam and his Fender. A key attribute is that a ukulele is also small, light, tough and cheap, all ideal attributes for an istrument played on a boat. I can already play half a dozen chords. If you fancy playing a uke there are some great videos on YouTube (including one from the Penguin Cafe Orchestra) and an excellent training site written by Pineapple Pete in Toronto.
I bought Sam an EcoBlast, a very loud horn for alerting French lock-keepers. Unlike most cheap horns which use gas canisters this one can be recharged with a bicycle pump or a garage air pump. The boys love it, because it's deafeningly loud (literally). I suspect there may not be much oomph left by the time we meet our first lock.
Sam also got a book, Sailing's Strangest Moments, which is good for dipping into when you want a slightly odd experience.
And I got Dee Caffari's Against the Flow. This is quite odd because in my current role at Aviva (who sponsor Dee) I've been publishing quite a bit about Dee on our global intranet, and the Ocean Racing website is coordinated a few feet from where I sit. When her mast fell down in a force 9 in the Bay of Biscay I was the only one in the office, so it was all down to me. I got a fair bit of stick from Sam for mentioning Aviva even more than usual when I got home... and it turns out he'd bought me this book anyway.