Friday 2 August 2019

Plans; this weekend and beyond

Having not sailed last weekend, I then didn't get to sail Wednesday evening. I've been racing a friend's Enterprise with her at the Club, but unfortunately she had to work late so couldn't make it. I toyed briefly with racing the Laser instead, but discretion being the better part of valour, eventually decided to head straight home after work and took the dogs for an earlier walk than usual.

They were pleased.

Having no gigs this weekend, I did think about heading down to the boat in Plymouth with Dad. But Nik pointedly pointed out in a very pointy way that I think only a long-suffering, eternally patient woman can who wishes to make a salient point to her errant husband that we were going away for "a whole two weeks next weekend", so on the theme of you can have too much of a good thing, I didn't need to go away this weekend as well.

She's not actually technically correct. We don't head down to the boat until the evening of Monday 12th, as we have friends down for the weekend itself, and a couple of gigs booked on the Saturday and Sunday evenings. But she's otherwise right, as we don't come back until Monday 26th, if all goes to plan, so we do have two whole weeks of it.

In some of the quieter moments of this week, I was toying with the idea getting a bigger boat. Calstar is perfect for two of us, but she gets a bit cramped with three adults aboard. Although Nik suffers the trips away with us with good grace, I think it's fair to say she tolerates the conditions and does it for the sake of my company, rather than actually enjoying the confines of our little yacht. 

These days, with Calstar as collateral, the budget would probably stretch to something bigger, and that would (might) make a difference for Nik. But then, as Dad says, there are other more pressing priorities for the money, and I'd be better of showing a little more patience and waiting until such a day as I'd have more time myself to enjoy a bigger boat.

And, to be fair, although Nik would enjoy the comfort of a bigger boat, she'd probably enjoy a (long overdue) refit of our bathroom more, or a (long overdue) replacement boiler for out central heating system, or (much needed and long planned) a redesign and tarmacking over of our front lawn so we can fit a couple of cars on it (and a dinghy) and it stays looking tidy for a change with minimal maintenance. Because I'm a minimal maintenance kid of guy when it comes to yards front or back these days.

I'm also conscious that, in the last year or more leading up to his retirement this spring, Dad has been throwing money continuously at Calstar to make her pretty; new sails, new upholstery, new headlining, new spray-hood, new windows, etc, etc. A lot of it doesn't make her sail any faster (except the new sails, obviously) or in any way increase her value beyond that which she is, because she is, at the end of the day, a 1980's Westerly Griffon. But it gives him pleasure to have one of the neatest, best turned out little boats in the Marina (and driest - he oddly takes much pride in an unnaturally clean bilge, and that the loo roll in the heads stays crispy),  so who am I to judge or complain.

Of course, that money is never coming back, so if we don't enjoy the fruits of his spending for a couple of years at least, then it's wasted.

So all in all, Dad's probably right.

In other news, I have a ride for the Holms Race this year! My friend Tom of "Sundance", a 30' Albin Ballad out of Newport, has confirmed he's filled in the form and paid the entrance fee this week, and has a spare berth for me for the race. Really can't wait, it's going to be a great weekend of sailing. It's an odd thing to discover you feel quite sentimental about such a muddy brown expanse of treacherous, fast moving, estuarine water. But I really do miss the Bristol Channel.

Not quite as much as I suspect I'd miss Plymouth Sound and the seas surrounding, mind you.

So I have to decide how to spend this weekend. Saturday is a long overdue trip to the local tip and maybe an afternoon looking at bathrooms I suspect. I hope you can t

Forecast for Sunday is next to no wind and rain. Maybe I'll take the opportunity to go race the Laser down at the lake after all. A dose of Ibuprofen and a wet-suit should to the trick.


I didn't sail last weekend. Just the one gig, but a Saturday night, so it put paid to any chance of heading down to Plymouth and Calstar; Dad really doesn't like going down and coming back same day, but with two and a half hours drive each way I guess I can't blame him.

The kids came around Sunday. All three of them in the house at the same time, that hasn't happened for a while. Although it was the pitiful, painful state of my arm, specifically my right elbow at the moment, that stopped me from heading down to the lake to sail. The dermatitis was also a consideration, and the thought of reigniting it with fresh dunking; it's much, much better now than it was, but not entirely cleared up yet.

They cleared the weed out from the centre area of the lake last week. Tonnes of the stuff. That's given us a clear patch in the middle where we can race. It might have mitigated the snail problem that's triggered the allergy I've previously mentioned and turned the greater mass of my skin's surface area into an inflamed nightmare that's plagued me for a couple of months now.

Unfortunately, the only way to find out would be to try it and see. I'm generally not adverse to controlled risk or calculated odds, but I really don't know how I feel about that. Interestingly, I've asked around, and nobody else at the Club has had this problem. Which is a good thing, but leaves me feeling somewhat isolated.

Misery likes company. Selfish, I know.

Anyway, back to last Sunday's gardening leave. My daughter Tash decided she was going to attack the overgrowth of the back yard with a set of pruners. She did a fine job, taking out whatever demons were driving her on a rampant Virginia Creeper that had taken over most of the shrubbery on the right hand side of the garden. It is, to my pleasure and relief, pretty much totally gone now.

Although I expect it'll grow back. Such is the nature of the beast.

Ben and Sam between them decided to drag out the old metal incinerator from the shed and incinerate the dried out cuttings of last year's overgrowth. I say overgrowth, but that's a bit of an understatement; last year I had to use a chainsaw to clear the worst of it. Boys and fire, somethings never change. It kept us both warm and entertained for most of the afternoon and well into the evening.

With three large dogs, I'm neither proud nor fussy of my back lawn. Probably just as well.

It was so good to have the family all in one place together for an evening, happens so infrequently these days. I didn't miss sailing at all.