Thursday, December 16, 2010

Report & Accounts of ourselves

Festive berries
Merry Christmas, and welcome to our annual report.

At the end of 2009 Guy discovered that he really did like sailing after all (just not with his family) and in January he embarked on a four-month training course with Flying Fish to become a Yachtmaster with commercial endorsement (and other qualifications covering such diverse areas as food hygiene, fire fighting and PADI diving qualifications). 

Guy runs away to sea
For the first half of the course he was based on the Isle of Wight, and for the second half in Sydney, Australia. During the summer he did a delivery trip from the Netherlands to Valencia in Spain, and he passed his Yachtmaster exam in November. He's now doing the rounds of the flotilla companies applying for skipper roles, with quite a few possibilities on the horizon. Next month, Guy and Beth will have been together for an astonishing five years.

Camilla spent much of the year working with Aviva Europe, creating a single intranet in multiple languages for each market. It's included some brief but interesting trips to cities where you might not normally go, such as Moscow, Bucharest and Vilnius, as well as weekend break hotspots such as Madrid, Prague, Budapest and Paris. Possibly the travel highlight was a sleeper train from Budapest in Hungary to Bucharest in Romania. After a while all airports look the same, but train travel is always interesting. 
Russia from the air

Getting on the sleeper train in Budapest
She is now working with Aviva Group Centre on an intranet upgrade, due next year. It really must be time to do some work for another client.
One advantage of the new contract is that Camilla can spend more time working at home in her magnificent new office, converted by Sam from the old workshop which formed the end of the house. 
Camilla's office
The theme is grey, silver and minimal – the family sneered but it's amazing how often they come and sit in the office thinking chair for a while. 

Tim and bikes at Pretzfeld
Sam is slightly less retired following changes at M&CM this year. We suspect he is enjoying being indispensable and doing the odd bit of training. He's still finding time to work on the boat (new radar and plotter this autumn) and undertake motorcycle tours on the Continent with his oldest son Tim, this year to Luxembourg and Germany.
Ben likes to paddle his own canoe
Ben is going through the pain of A-levels and UCAS. He is still hoping to do engineering but his fifth choice was classics, just to show that he is truly a Renaissance teenager. For practical reasons he has had to drop Philosophy and Further Maths but he would really like to study a little bit of everything. Away from school he is a dedicated nerd, playing online games and building amplifiers for his increasing collection of headphones.
View from the balloon basket
Camilla's father Frank is looking a bit fragile, with a number of trips to hospital this year, although he's still soldiering on at 83. Patricia is coping well but not surprisingly getting worn out. Otherwise, our families are doing well. In July, Camilla and Patricia fulfilled a long-held ambition and went ballooning together.
We started the year with a New Year trip to Schloss Pretzfeld with all the family, Beth, plus our friends Alex and David and their family. In the summer Ben joined us for a sailing trip to the Netherlands. 

Redesigned rudder
Unfortunately we made an attempt to redesign Kalessin's rudder on the rocks at the edge of Breskens marina – we like Breskens, but never planned to see so much of it, although we were immensely lucky that Breskens Yacht Services were able to haul us out, straighten and repair the rudder and get us back in the water within four days. Sadly the weather was also not on our side in August, with a fair amount of wind and rain. In the end we had to leave Kalessin for a few days in Oostende and take the train home, although that did give us an unexpected chance to see Brussels. Subsequently, Kalessin starred in a secondhand test in the December edition of Yachting Monthly (86%, and a cover shot!)
We're already looking forward to 2011, when Ben will be 18 and Guy will be 21. We hope to take Kalessin to the Baltic in June for a few months, with one or more boys. Don't forget we'll be updating this blog with our adventures (if any).
Much love to you all and wishing you the very best for 2011
Camilla, Sam, Guy & Ben

Sam and Ben playing Poohsticks in the snow