Friday, 24 December 2010

'Twas the night before Christmas...

..and all through the boat we are summoning up the spirit of the season!

The turkey is boned and stuffed with a pork,sage and parsley stuffing. It's covered in butter and bacon and sitting patiently in the fridge ready to go. Bread sauce is made. Pate is in the fridge, bread in the freezer. Vegetables ready for peeling and just the dessert to make. No Christmas pudding this year sadly.

TBH has just put the carol cd on and we are listening to I'm dreaming of a white christmas! Actually it's raining here this evening...

And now it's time to put up the decorations, unearth the tree that has traveled the oceans with us, wonder if the lights will work this year? Time too to open the vino and sit back to think of you all, where ever you are and what ever you are doing.

Merry Christmas to you all.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Bread Making

I love making bread, particularly on a cooler morning. The smell as the dough rises and the warmth of the oven make the boat feel very cozy.
The delight of taking the crusty loaves out of the oven and that first hot slice covered with melting butter, mmmnnn!

After the excitement of the pig killing yesterday I settled down to make my usual white crusty farmhouse loaf but decided to have a go at a new, to me, recipe for green onion and sage bread. It sounded like just the thing for those turkey sandwiches that I am anticipating later this week! Boy was it good....

This is the recipe I used. I didn't have any wholemeal flour so used all white, no fresh sage so I substituted one and a half teaspoons of dried sage. Two loaves are in the freezer waiting for the turkey and we've already finished the other one...

Dan Lepard's green onion and sage loaf recipe

    Green onion and sage loaf
    475g strong white flour, plus more for shaping 150g wholemeal flour 1 tsp fast-action yeast 2 tsp fine salt 1 tsp sugar 50ml olive oil 1 medium egg 250ml warm water 6 medium green (spring) onions, finely chopped 20g sage leaves, shredded Sea salt flakes and olive oil, to finish Put the flours, yeast, salt and sugar into a large bowl and toss with your fingers. In another bowl, whisk the oil, egg and water until smooth, stir in the onions and sage, then add to the flour bowl and mix to a smooth, soft dough. Leave for 10 minutes. On a well-oiled patch of worktop, lightly knead for about 10 seconds, then return the dough to the bowl. Leave for 10 minutes, then repeat the light kneading twice more at 10-minute intervals before leaving it at room temperature for 90 minutes. Divide the dough into three, shape each into a ball with flour, then sit them touching like a clover on a baking tray covered with nonstick paper. Cover, leave to rise for about an hour, then brush with oil, sprinkle with salt flakes and bake at 240C (220C fan-assisted)/465F/gas mark 9 for about 30 minutes.

Digital McCarthyism.

A really coherent interview with Julian Assange on the dangers to the first amendment and the American Constitution.


Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Pig Killing day!

'Gerry'

....the voice wafted through the hatch  sometime before dawn this morning. It was dark, chilly and starting to drizzle. I was already up and dressed, not warmly enough but at least I had some clothes on!

John, the manager, stood bundled up in a big jacket on the dock.
'C'mon it's pig time!'

Ephrine, the guardian here, and his family rear a couple of porkers every year. Today was D day for one of them. We cruisers were offered some of the meat to buy but we needed to be on hand once the butcher started his work as, how can I put this, butchery isn't quite what we understand  here in Guatemala!Their cuts are somewhat abstract to say the least!

We carefully made our way in the gloom down the boardwalk to the rear of the marina property where Ephrine and his family live, in amongst the swamp. Man those mosquito's were biting!

The slaughter had taken place around 2am right there in the jungle, the pig had been scalded and flayed by the time we arrived. It's quite a communal event. Two other cruisers arrived to point out the cuts they wanted and a convivial time was spent discussing 'animals we had butchered', 'hunting in Alaska' and ' strange joints I have cooked'!

The butcher was a scrawny little guy armed with a large knife and a lump of wood to use as a mallet. He worked away down in the grass under a lamp in the dark, sawing and pulling and chopping away at the fast diminishing corpse.Buckets and pans were pressed into use to contain the various cuts and the rest of the family busied themselves weighing and bagging and working out the cost of each parcel on the mobile phone!Young Allan, the eldest child(12), was contemplating the delights of a roast leg and various relatives were claiming the joints they had ordered.

It is quite different here to other 'pig-killings' what I have attended! In Portugal the occasion was a village event, all the women got together to process the carcass,making salami, blood sausage, tripe, brawn and all manners of delicacies. Not a piece was wasted. That doesn't appear to be the case here. No bacon curing, ham smoking or sausage making that I could see. I wonder why that is,  maybe the lack of refrigeration in such a humid climate ?

I claimed a pair of 'patas', trotters and yup, you've guessed it, I am going to make another mammoth pork pie! For now though the meats in the freezer, that's a job for after the Christmas holidays.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Nothing like a choirboy for Christmas...

oh lordy the tears are starting to flow! Memories of the son as Senior Chorister at his Prep School, so many years ago,,,,


Monday, 20 December 2010

Christmas...


Son James, took this last night from his window in a tiny, snow covered village in England....Brrrrrrrr!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Jolly Olly

I was reading yesterday about young Olly Rofix as he gets ready to set sail on a round Britain fundraising attempt in an 18 footer!
 Recovering from a near death experience with a particularly rare form of Leukaemia he has set a target of  recruiting a thousand new donors to The Anthony Nolan Trust . A most worthwhile challenge.

I have been pretty scathing in the past about some of the attempts at long distance sailing that you read about in the 'sailing comics' BUT this one looks like a well thought out, well prepared and praiseworthy challenge. I wish Olly lots of luck.

If you feel like sponsoring him or donating please do this looks like an excellent venture. I will be following his experience with enthusiasm. It's going to be quite a challenge in such a tiny boat but good on Olly!

Friday, 17 December 2010

Over the top Christmas lights...

Paul Tudor Jones, one of those infamous hedge fund supremos goes over the top at his home in Greenwich, Conneticut.Displaying how one of the richest men in the world likes to spend his money....

Boy I bet his neighbours just love this in their exclusive cul-de-sac!

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Assange speaks on his release.


As Julian Assange is finally able to walk from his solitary confinement he had these words for those waiting to greet him on the court steps.

Justice, Assange, Sanitary towels.

Just heard Julian Assange has been released by the Judge. At Last.

These are The Royal Courts of Justice in London where Julian Assange is having his bail appeal hearing this morning.

It is Britain in all it's Gothic splendour.
Fingers crossed for him that finally justice will be done and he will be allowed to leave his confinement later today.
Sadly the Judge in this mornings case, Justice Duncan Ousley, has ruled that twitter will not be allowed from the court. Why not? Actually it just confirms the arcane and ridiculous attitudes of British Law. For goodness sake lets not live in the 21st century it's all far too scary for the learned lawyers, I ask you!

The High Court is a intimidating place. Many years ago I had occasion to appear in a case there(civil not criminal!) and I can tell you from personal experience that the echoing stone corridors and severe architecture of the place is quite a sight. Shiny leather benches line the corridors and they are littered with gown clad 'briefs', surrounded by piles of documents all tied up with red ribbon. Their little white wigs perched on top of their heads all add to the surreal experience. I wonder what Julian thinks of it all?

The courts themselves are lofty rooms, sunlight from high windows and old wooden fittings. I remember a dusty smell of old papers and mold!

On a lighter(!) note an ad for sanitary towels has gone viral in Pakistan it reads:

 "WikiLeaks, Butterfly doesn't"

Love it!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Can you believe this...

The WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, is to remain in jail after the Swedish authorities decided to challenge a decision by a British court to grant him bail on allegations of rape in Stockholm.
A judge in London granted Assange £240,000 bail with strict conditions, including a curfew and the surrendering of his passport.
But when counsel for the prosecution indicated it would appeal, the judge told Assange he would remain in jail until a hearing at a higher court within 48 hours.
Assange's lawyer, Geoffrey Robertson, had asked the City of Westminster magistrates court in London for bail on five conditions: £200,000 in security, surety of £40,000 from two people, a curfew, daily reporting to police, and surrender of his passport. The judge agreed, to much rejoicing among Assange's supporters.
But elation turned to anger as lawyers representing Sweden challenged the decision.
Speaking outside the court, Mark Stephens, one of Assange's lawyers, said: "The prosecution is doing no more than taking instructions from Sweden.
"They are continuing to persecute Mr Assange ... An innocent man is in custody."
The decision followed two hours of confusion as Stephens first said he understood that the prosecution would decline to challenge the court's decision.
Sweden's decision means that the next legal arguments will be heard at the court of appeal. No time has yet been fixed.


From The Guardian

Pretty appalling

So he is released on bail of £240,000. Held to a curfew of 10am-2pm and 10pm-2am, has to report to a police station at 6pm every night . And all this for a man who hasn't even been CHARGED yet. Disgusting. What a wonderful example of 'British Justice'. Not.

Oh and he's not actually free yet as they have to deposit the money in CASH. How antediluvian is that?

Assange gets bail.

With conditions he's released. Thank goodness. he has to reappear on 11th January.

It has been quite extraordinary to be able to sit here on a boat, in the jungle and watch the twitters from inside the courtroom as the hearing unfolded. What a change in news reporting!

I have been following Alexi Mostrrous of the Times, the Guardian and Heather Brooke a freelancer....

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Woohoo!

Well done James and Gramafilm, over 4 million views of the Danny MacAskill film....
Gramafilm
Danny MacAskill film breaks 4million views & remains top of the viral charts

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Justice for Assange


... and now the T-shirt. Vote to see our design produced, here: http://tinyurl.com/2dxyxyq
(If threadless.com have the guts to accept our submission!)
All proceeds will go to Assange's defense fund.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Justice for Assange.


As the news breaks that Julian Assange has been remanded in custody until 14th December I am ashamed to be British. This decision shows the contempt for democracy that our Government has.

I believe that we need to stand up and speak out for what we believe in. It is hard at times to do that, particularly when fear and threat are rife. When the foundations of free speech are removed in such a flagrant and outrageous fashion we will only have ourselves to blame if we stand to one side and allow these things to happen.

I believe in Assange's actions.
I believe that transparency and honesty are the way forward.
I believe that this is a pivotal time for the future of our world.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Antidote to stress.

The delightful Dylan Winter is still working his way, slowly, around the coast of Britain in his tiny boat, The Slug. This is a soothing piece of film from one of his wonderful video logs that are available on Keepturningleft.co.uk.

Make yourself a coffee and settle down to enjoy the sights and sounds of one mans journey.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Death in El Diamonte

El Diamonte is a well sheltered lagoon on the mainland of Honduras. It's a safe well sheltered anchorage that many boaters use when making their way east.

We have made use of it's protection on a couple of occasions, sitting out strong Northers with 40knots plus of wind in complete safety.Well we will no longer be able to rely on it's safety.

Last night at around 9.30pm a Canadian boat Adena was boarded, the captain shot dead and his daughter(25) left frantically calling for assistance.

Just last week in the adjoining bay a french boat was boarded and robbed by six men carrying guns and machetes.

More news here.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Wikileaks : Making it safe to talk.

We live in extraordinary times and this has been a hell of a week.

There's no doubt that the global economic meltdown is not just a minor slump or merely another double-dip recession but a one time event in the history of mankind. More and more of our traditional businesses and institutions are stalled or failing. Banks and countries are teetering on the point of bankruptcy, huge manufacturing companies are collapsing. Heath care systems are in crisis, education is in disarray and so it goes on. It really feels as if we are on the brink of revolution

And just as all this is happening the internet, which for so long seems to have been "a solution in search of a problem", a technology in waiting, seems to have come of age.

Books like the recent management bestseller "Macrowikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World "  tell hopeful stories of collaborative developments in manufacturing (Local Motors), health care (PatientsLikeMe), and regulation (wikileaks )

As a former reporter I am riveted by the unfolding saga of WikiLeaks and (I expect like everyone else) quite divided. On the one hand, I am not at all surprised by the breath and depth of worldwide corruption. On the other hand, I am left wondering where it all ends.For example, we know our financial institutions are bankrupt. Of course they are not going to "mark to market" their assets. Is it better to remain in blissful denial or to tumble into the precipice that awaits us?

I am particularly appalled at the death threats and persecution of Julian Assange, the front-man for WikiLeaks. I do understand the surge of patriotic feelings in the hearts of the nationals of countries that are having their leadership exposed. However I cannot, currently, even begin to come to terms with the attitude of those governments attempts to strangle the free speech from around the world.

There are some aspects of the USA that I don't particularly like, nevertheless I have always believed that their first-amendment adherence to freedom of speech was admirable. Well, it seems they lied about that. I am shocked to the core. The Australian government should be ashamed of its attitude to Julian Assange (one of their nationals).

Shame on  these governments, shame on their politicians and shame on all those that support attempts at silencing critics.

I found this speech of JFK very helpful. It explains why this is so important to all of us.




What does it all mean? Where to now? I wish I had some answers. Currently I am struggling to keep up with the deluge of information coming out, the rhetoric of the worlds powers and the chatter of ordinary people like you and me.

My gut feeling? This is a revolution, a change that will impact all our lives. A moment when we see through the veil of polite chatter and glib spin of modern life. We have an opportunity to make a difference, but will we have the courage to take that chance? I truly hope so: to each learn, and weigh, and balance our own views in order to contribute to the future that we want to see after this amazing event

TBH unearthed a book that he read decades ago "Straight and Crooked Thinking". It shows us how dishonest most of this propaganda is, and how to tell the difference. It was written in 1930 and is about to be re-published! You can currently download or read it online HERE (note: it is a pdf file just under 1MB in size, so it may take a minute or two to download). I really encourage everyone to arm themselves with the skills to discriminate between truth and fiction. Our future could depend on it.

Lets move from leveraging phony financial instruments to leveraging our integrity. Wouldn't that be an amazing change! Keeping secrets doesn't necessarily mean that you are covering up some dishonest act; but keeping your honesty secret is self-defeating.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

From a dribble to a gush; Wikileaks

Well since the dam opened at around 3pm our time I have been glued to the computer watching the 'leaks' start to spill around the world.

Absolutely fascinating. The Guardians journalistic coverage is unbelievably excellent. Whatever you may think of the subject matter the superb presentation of the information and the in-depth coverage of individual aspects is something the like of which I have never seen.
And to think that these documents will continue to made public over the next few months, it's mind boggling.

I have been randomly looking at the available documents, since Wikileaks came back on the net after an attempt to block the site at the initial release, they quickly fought back with a new website...

It's too soon to formulate an opinion on the basis of what I have read BUT I have no doubts that there is some interesting stuff to come that will make many sit back and reassess their attitude to Government, both their own and those of other nations.

At one point Twitter output mentioning the subject was running at 60-70 twits per second! Made my head hurt.

One I particularly liked was ' Well I guess the Ambassador will need a shitload of Ferrero Rocher chocolates to sort this mess!'.

(An old TV ad that I include below for those not familiar with it)

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Parental Pride.

The youngest daughter, Lucy, and her significant other, Alex, were proud winners of the Bournemouth restaurant of the year award on Thursday night. Along with their partners they opened the restaurant just a year ago and we are delighted for them!

Koh, is a Thai tapas restaurant and bar and if you are in the area (Boscombe) do go along and try it out....

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Around Cape Horn.

Wonderful piece of film from the BBC....

Robin Knox-Johnston, Ranulph Fiennes, John Simpson and Skip Novak. Four of my greatest heroes on a boat,amazing!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Unexpected gifts...

It's one of the twice weekly Casa Guatemala days today. The visit from the store run in aid of the local orphanage that delivers fresh fruit and a selection of frozen meats and dairy products to the boaters scattered around the Rio.

We have been customers as long as we have been here. The pork they sell is exceptional and I enjoy trying out my appalling Spanish on the ever patient Jose and Esperanza who roll their eyes at my dreadful pronunciation and politely laugh at my weak jokes!

It is only recently that they have started to bring along fresh fruit and the odd veggie for our delight but it is a great success. Strawberries, papaya, pineapple, grapes and sometimes one of those unidentified tropical fruits that cause me to wrinkle my nose and ask questions....

I will try anything on the culinary front so they delight in breaking open something new and watching my reactions as I tentatively nibble the fruit. Mostly its great but just occasionally I struggle to suppress a grimace..

This morning Jose was enjoying a small yellow plum like fruit that he peeled and offered me, it was lovely, really sweet and succulent. I shall be looking out for that in the market later in the week.
As I was leaving Esperanza beckoned me back and held out a peculiar drab brown offering, about the size of a large avocado.

' Sapota', she said.
Oh for me?, I asked,
Si un regalio(a present)

How sweet! By now some of the other boaters had regrouped to see what was going on and Esperanza dug out another fruit pulled it apart and offered it to the crowd...I tried a bit first, sort of sweetish and dense, not too good to be honest. The others pulled back and pointed out the wriggling maggots in the fruit. Yuch! I discretely grinned and thanked Esperanza for the gift and rushed to check that I didn't have any maggots stuck between my teeth....

 Sapote

alternate names: Mamey colorado

Characteristics: The dark brown exterior and shape of this fruit make it look like a giant almond, but inside, there's a fragrant, rosy pink-orange flesh, which gets creamy, smooth, and sweet, like sweet potatoes, when ripe. Unlike many other fruits and vegetables that find suitable growing environments throughout the world, mamey remains in the New World, grown throughout South America, the Caribbean, and in Florida. Although mamey is typically eaten raw, its culinary applications are expanding; it's used to flavor ice creams, shakes, and desserts such as flan and mousse. Final note: It's pronounced "mah-MAY sa-PO-tay."

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Heads you lose!

Thank God it was TBH who blocked the heads. It means I can maintain the moral high ground as he stands up to his ankles in evil-smelling shit (his own) whilst swearing and cussing more than I have ever heard.

To compound this unpleasant experience the weather has decided to add insult to injury by absolutely pissing down! Ah well such is life. It means the hatches are shut, the smell is EVIL and I don't know where he's sleeping tonight but I hope its some distance from me!!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Social week.

Goodness, it's hard to believe that it's a week since I last wrote  anything here. Guess that time flies when you are having fun.

We have been busy, gunkholing, provisioning and..visiting the dentist. Yes TBH's teeth are on the agenda again. We headed into Morales on the chicken bus,'room for one more'. The twelve seater van had 25 on board at one point, cosy! I love Morales, not a gringo in sight and the vibrancy of the Friday market is amazing.

There is a flood of returning boaters to the Rio, the ones that head to their home countries for their summer months. That has meant a lot of socializing as we catch up with old friends.

One particularly fun occasion was entertaining our Brit friends David and |Linda on their 40th Wedding anniversary. Forty years! Blimey I've never been married to anyone for that long...
we dined on champagne, duck a l'orange and strawberries with ice cream. Sometimes life is good!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Decisions...

Once upon a time I was a normal housewife. You know one of those with a washing machine, dishwasher and refrigerator. From time to time I even had a lovely girl who did the housework too!

This week has delivered a new challenge. About three days ago the  refrigerator stopped working. There I was running the engine, to charge the batteries and cool the fridge, when the old girl(engine) started to work really hard and emitted a  blood-curdling squeal from somewhere in the bowels of the boat. Before TBH could yell I had the thing turned off and we looked horrified at each other.

My first thoughts are total catastrophe, I know it's boring but I always think the worst. TBH was convinced that it was the refrigerator. We had trouble a couple of years ago with the compressor and he was adamant that it had finally seized.We let the engine cool right down, switched the refrigerator off, restarted the engine and no squeal. Turned the refrigerator on, 1000 dying cats in the bowels again...

We are anchored in a lovely quiet spot, enjoying the solitude. We had to make a decision would we go back to town, buy ice and order a new part or be hardcore and live on the edge, sans cold box? What a choice. Well when I tell you that I have spent the last three days cooking up a storm you'll realise that we decided to stay here. The refrigerator stayed cold for about three days so I have been using up the perishable food as quickly as possible.

It's been a bit of a challenge! The meat went first and we have dined superbly every day..the finale yesterday was roast pork, roast potatoes and Brussel sprouts followed by lemon cheesecake. The bacon and hard cheese have turned into an assortment of flans and this morning I have been using up the fast liquefying butter by making fruitcakes with a good long shelf life.I have managed to use most of the ricotta and cream cheese but so far am fighting a losing battle with the yogurt and sour cream. Actually just had a thought, I can do dauphinoise potatoes tonight that'll use the sour cream up!

So the next few days we will be into pizza's and all those lovely lentil dishes that use no refrigerated ingredients. Then it will be back to civilization again and see if we can repair the fridge. Wish us luck!

Do I miss the past life of domestic ease? I'm not telling!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

More nasty weather in the Caribbean.

As the boats line up to head out of the Rio on their travels there are a couple of nasty weather systems lining up to kick some butts....

Just hope that patience is one of their virtues!

This chart shows the wind/wave forecast for 72 hours time. Not nice.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Retiring Richard..

TBH was right, yet again, grrrr.

Richard turned North, making landfall 20 miles south of Belize City yesterday. We had one squall at around 2pm. maybe just over 20 knots of wind and a lovely downpour that filled our tanks with water, thanks Richard.

I celebrated with a long hot shower bliss!

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Hurricanes hardly happen...

...in Hertford, Hereford and Hampshire....and Guatemala. but being a bit of a nervy type I am keeping a very close eye on Tropical Storm, soon to be Hurricane Richard.

We are told that there has never been a hurricane hit the Rio but I really, really hate it when people say Never. Certainly nobody here seems too concerned and the thinking is that we are likely to get a great deal of rain but little wind. Certainly that is what we have experienced in the past. And yet...

So I have made sure the batteries are charged, extraneous equipment on deck is well lashed down or bought below. We are anchored in a reasonably sheltered bay with all our chain out and no boats nearby. TBH refuses to consider taking down any canvas and in my heart I am sure he is right but I am a woman and it's my duty to panic from time to time!

This is the latest projection of this troublesome weather systems path, looks like Southern Belize is in line for the major hit.


Friday, 22 October 2010

Happy Birthday...

..to TBH!

Yes it's the great man's birthday and NO I am not going to tell you how old he is...I value my life.

We had hoped to be in the salt water today but with Tropical Storm threatening to become Hurricane Richard we have decided that discretion is the greater part of valour. So we'll stay put until the current nasty has decided which way he is headed and when.

There have been a couple of good downpours at night so we have managed to top up the water tanks. Fresh food is still going strong. I picked up a tip reading another blog about keeping celery fresh and crisp. We get great stuff here but within 24hours its gone all limp and floppy, even in the fridge. Well all you do is take off any leaves and wrap the stalks tightly in kitchen foil. IT WORKS really, really well. just wish I had bought more of it!

So I am off to bake a cake for the beloved and look at the latest weather updates...

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Pears and repairs.

We had a lovely sail down river. Just enough wind to blow us along at a gentle 3 knots, no waves, not too much sun. Sometimes a plan comes together....

For now we are anchored in our favourite spot, enjoying the cool weather and getting to grips with the little niggles that always arise after weeks at the dock.

So far TBH has serviced the main bilge pump that suddenly stopped working. Never an easy one this as the heart of the thing is almost inaccessible in the main lazarette. But after three goes at emptying the locker it finally succumbed to his ministrations and is working better than ever. Note to self to buy another couple of service kits, that was the last one!

A new starboard side kicking strap. This is our 'insurance' line that stops the boom suddenly swinging from one side to the other and either decapitating one of us or ripping the boom in half! A new line that require a very complex splice, cored rope you see always difficult. Fortunately TBH is a master with his 'fids'(special metal tools for splicing rope).

My job? Cooking and keeping the captain happy!Well somebody has to do it...

So yesterday his lordship having rejected the pears I had aboard I looked around for a suitable recipe to use them up, this is the one I used.

Chocolate Pear Pudding.

4oz butter
2tbsps soft brown sugar
3 pears, peeled, cored and poached in sugar syrup till soft
1 oz walnut halves
4oz castor sugar
2 medium eggs beaten
2oz cocoa powder
3oz flour
1tsp baking powder


Heat oven to gas 5/ 375C
Butter 8 inch sandwich tin
Sprinkle brown sugar on base.
Arrange pear haves,cut side down and fill gaps with walnut halves, flat side down.
Cream butter and castor sugar till light and fluffy
Gradually beat in eggs.
Stir in flour.
Sift cocoa and baking powder together and stir into mix, adding a spoon or two of the poaching liquor to make a soft dropping consistency.
Spoon mix over pear halves.

Bake for 25 mins until well risen and top springs back when pressed.
Remove from tin and invert, pears uppermost.

Serve with lashings of cream!

The captain approved...

The sponge is a bit like a brownie and the sugar caramelizes to coat the walnuts. No calories at all, NOT!!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Looks like a YES!

Well the provisions are onboard, the heads cleaned, the washing up to date and TBH has just gone to fill up the petrol cans...

We will lift the dinghy when he returns and then tomorrow morning we are outta here. Scary or what. Of course just as we prepare to let go the lines Hurricane Paula spins up in the NW Caribbean but she's not going to come anywhere near us, are you Paula! And I am running a temperature, that I am putting down to excitment.

Looking forward to some sailing and maybe even some salt water under the keel at last. See you....

Friday, 8 October 2010

Will we...

...manage to leave as planned on Wednesday?

Your guess is probably as good as mine BUT we did start to clean the outside of the boat this morning!
Detergent and scrubbers in hand we were on deck at the crack of sparrows fart, trying to avoid the frazzling tropical sun. With a concerted effort we got all the way from the bow back to the cockpit. A holocaust of spider deaths, good job I'm not buddist, all the rellies wiped out in one swipe!

The old girl, the boat not me, is starting to look like an ocean going vessel again. We are cleaning the green slime away and checking the boat hardware as we go. The teak deck is looking a bit sad, it's really starting to wear. A lifetimes work for TBH to replace the worn planks, mind you we have what seems to be a whole teak tree onboard, cut to just the right size. His current excuse is that the Stanley Plane he needs to complete the work is waiting to come out from the UK with the next visitor, humm.

Currently the dinghy is full of cans waiting to be scrubbed so I must get back to work...

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Bragging rights...

Yeah, I know, my kids hate it when I do this, but thought you might be interested in this short clip of film currently being directed by the son. Dead chuffed to see all the nautical bits and boy do I wish I had this guy's sense of balance.



If you'd like to see more of James' work take a look at his site Jamesmh  or  Gramafilm

Sunday, 3 October 2010

BBC World Service.

Ooh so excited! TBH has managed to install a link to the BBC so that I can listen to the World Service on the blog. How amazing is that? Choices of news, documentaries and so much more...

Scroll down the blog and you'll find the link just under TBH's Twitterings.

This morning I have indulged in 'The Archers', the quintessential English radio soap. Made me realise how long it is since I last listened, many of the characters have aged beyond belief! Phoebe, last known to me as a babe in arms is now a truculent schoolgirl and Jill Archer is about to celebrate her 80th birthday. Cripes.....

PS. Both TBH and I recently read 'The Poisonwood Bible' by Barbara Kingsolver. It's a fascinating novel that centres on the culpability of western Colonialism in Africa. The BBC World Service is currently broadcasting an audience with the author that makes for interesting listening.It will be available to listen to for the next six days. I recommend it to you.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Rum, Sodomy and the Lash.

We have a standing tale in our family of a conversation when the eldest daughter Charlotte was at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth. TBH and I were attending a parade that she was taking part in and were chatting to the Commanding Officer. He asked us how Charlotte was getting on and whether she was enjoying the experience.
Quick as a flash I came back with 'Well the rum and the lash are going okay but she's having a bit of a problem with the sodomy, can't get the cat to keep still!'

(The story goes that after being told by an indignant member of the Admiralty that the conversion of the fleet from coal to oil would scuttle its tradition, Churchill replied: 'Don't talk to me about naval tradition, it's nothing but rum, sodomy and the lash.')

Well he roared with laughter and she turned scarlet with embarrassment(a common condition for our kids). All ended well though as he certainly remembered her as he saw her around the college.

The reason for this story being Rum, sodomy and the lash... that was the least of it: 19th century Royal Navy medical journals reveal the perils of a life at sea , that I read this morning, have a look it's fascinating about the dangers of sailing in the Royal Navy in days of yore.

Seven-foot worms in the stomach, tarantula bites and lightning strikes made life at sea a dangerous activity in the 19th century, medical archives revealed today
Strikes me that not a lot has changed, we still have the big spiders aboard and the lightning strikes, the snakes and the malaria. Thank God no seven foot worms in the stomach yet though....


Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Stonesoup.com

I guess that by now you may have realised that I am a pretty keen cook, bit of an understatement that!

What I am also interested in is cooking without all those 'wonderful' appliances and gizmos that the marketing world seems determined to sell us. The rice cookers, breadmakers,egg boilers et al.

Much as I am tempted by some of them, no lets be honest here many of them, there is no way that we can supply the required power on our boat to generate them.

So when I stumbled upon this site, STONESOUP I  was delighted. Here's a wonderful guide to cooking simply but well with minimum fuss. Just what you need on the boat. You can download a FREE e-cookery book here and I can vouch for the excellence of the contents...

Sunday, 26 September 2010

My family's crazy gap year.

Just caught up with this series from the UK, My Family's Crazy gap Year. First set of programmes followed a couple on an amazing jaunt around the world and this set follows a couple on their sailing adventure...
You'll find all the episodes on YouTube.

!

OMG that first episode had me cringing in my seat, and yet we too were that inexperienced once!
But with two small children in tow, certainly not for the faint-hearted. I can empathize with their wonder at how quickly conditions change, how fear arrives and the speed at which you can recover.

I was so pleased that they finally slowed down and started to smell the roses, what's the rush? Just a chase to get miles under the keel or a truly life changing experience.Their learning curve was immensely steep and with potentially lethal consequences, thank goodness they all survived.

You can read their blog here.

England to Marquesas in eight months. Not for me. I love the slow pace of life, the understanding of a culture that can only be experienced over time. maybe it's my age!

What struck me was how new their clothes looked and how many white ones they had when they started and how as time went by the colours became significantly darker!! Think I need to do some internet shopping...

Thursday, 23 September 2010

A raggedy sort of week...

..one where the days are filled to the brim but at the end of them I just am not sure what I have been doing all day!

TBH has been busy with some extremely complex computer work so I have been trying to keep out of his way. Let me tell you that's not easy on a 40 foot boat, even if you are in a marina. So a lot of the time I have been perusing ,my selection of cook books and trying out a few recipes, both new and old ones that haven't been used for a while.

Coronation chicken was a great success, original recipe from Constance Spry back in the 50's. The light creamy curried sauce and apricots combined with chilled moist chicken breast went down a treat in the hot and steamy climate here.

A baked lemon cheesecake turned out far better than I had hoped. I am not a great fan, often find them a bit sickly but this one had just the right 'tang' to it, not even crumbs left on the plate.

And the climax of the culinary week was a full Chinese meal. Something that we have been fantasizing over for a while. Sweet and sour ribs, lemon chicken and egg fried rice. Pretty good though I say so myself. Didn't quite get the ribs as tender as I would have liked but I have plans for a rerun.

It was great to thumb through my small collection of cook books  again. Space being at a premium on the boat I still dedicate more than a fair share to my cookery library. Elizabeth David is my favourite. Such a literary writer I can read her books like the best fiction. I am looking forward to the next visit from the UK so I can get my hands on the copy of English yeast and bread cookery that I bought on ebay recently. Yum.

Rick Stein gets space, of course. Fish is a great thing for us so his wonderful pictorial guide to preparing almost every monster of the deep is well thumbed and a little stained these days. (As an aside I first met Rick some 45 years ago when we used to stay next door to his family home in Cornwall,the  boy has come a long way since then. My family now live close to Padstow in Cornwall and we have been fortunate to eat at his famous restaurant a few times. It's good. I look forward to returning on the boat one of these days, tying up in the harbour and walking over for a meal!)

Copies of an old 'Farmer's Weekly' collection of recipes, including one of mine. It's also filled with nostalgic tips for making your own furniture polish and hair setting gel!!

There are quite a few more too...

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Avast there ye landlubbers ye!

Twas on the good ship K..... I did spy this fore noon an ancient and barnacl'd old salt aloitering aroun' the forstay of me ship.

A hangin' thair in me riggin' repelling boarders, dragonflies and any man a downwind o' him!

His swarthy countenance  makin' me girlish heart a swoon wi desire, okay so I don't get out much...
'Ahoy there me hearty' says I. 'come below wi' me and I'll show yee sum fancy knotting!'
'Belay yur blatherin' wench and get thee t' galley. It's vittals that a pirate o' these parts is wantin, damnation to the knottin' I wants me grub!'

Oh well such is life... Let's be grateful that 'Speak like a Pirate Day' only comes round once a year.



And this lovely dragonfly stopped by to observe the strange habits of humans who have been alone on a boat just that bit too long...

A sobering video.



Left me with tears, just imagining the horror of losing your boat....

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Fujiwhara effect.

Ooh goody, something new to worry about on the weather front!

Have you ever heard of the Fujiwhara effect? No, me neither. That is until I was perusing the YBW site earlier this morning.

It seems that with the current pile up of Hurricanes Igor and Julia in the Atlantic conditions could be conducive to the formation of this rare and potentially lethal phenomena.




When the cyclones approach each other, their centers will begin orbiting cyclonically about a point between the two systems. The two vortices will be attracted to each other, and eventually spiral into the center point and merge. When the two vortices are of unequal size, the larger vortex will tend to dominate the interaction, and the smaller vortex will orbit around it.
The effect is often mentioned in relation to the motion of tropical cyclones, although the final merging of the two storms is uncommon. The effect becomes pronounced in these storms when they approach within about 1,450 km (900 mi) of each other and are at tropical storm strength or stronger.

Seems that makes predicting the path that much more difficult. It'll be interesting to see what happens with these two...
 

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Monkey Bay Marina.




A little bit of heaven here on the Rio.

This is one of my favourite spots to sit. Gently rocking under the soothing breeze of the ceiling fan.

Watching the patterns on the water, the boats going about their business...

And listening to the squawks of the parrot from the neighbouring property who thinks it is a duck!


Cruisers gather here in the evenings to spin a yarn, meditate, share a drink. There's no pressure to take part.

The choice is yours...





This morning I took a stroll around the gardens and buildings here, it was HOT, humid as hell and with the sweat trickling down my back I stood and looked at the tiny gem of a property that makes up the marina here at Monkey Bay.

Raised pathways keep your feet out of the mangrove swamp and the owners have done a wonderful landscaping job.

I love the huge jungle versions of the plants that I used to raise so carefully in the hothouse back in the UK.


Butterflies, dragonflies, bees, beetles and even a  domesticated hermit crab!

All these and more can be seen feeding on the plants and vegetation around the property.

Humming birds a-plenty, the occasional glimpse of a bright green snake in the bough of a tree and a frantically paddling freshwater turtle down in the swamp.

We have been to a number of places here on the Rio but like that old saying goes - 'They don't make diamonds as big as bricks'. That's certainly the case with this little beauty. If you're looking for a base on the Rio it doesn't come much better than this. BUT the slips are all full so you'll have to wait, Ha!



 Calabash and coconuts, wonderful vibrant colours that change with the progress of the day.


And all within just steps of the boat.

It's going to be REALLY difficult to leave this place...

Monday, 13 September 2010

Talk like a Pirate Day.

http://www.talklikeapirate.com/partykit/tlapdbanner2.gif
This Sunday, 19th September, will see those of us with romance in our souls join in the talk like a pirate day.

I can promise you wild pictures of Mad Dog in his complete pirate attire. Including, wait for it, his Johnny Depp look-a-like hair and hat. Be still my beating heart!

You may even hear such immortal lines as 'Prepare to be boarded.'
'That’s the finest pirate booty I’ve ever laid eyes on'

And as the day continues songs may be heard drifting across the sweet waters of the Rio....
When the day draws to a close we'll be drinkin' rum and watching Pirates of the Caribbean, what else could you possibly do? 



Bet you can hardly wait! Me neither. TBH isn't quite so sure.....

Pork Pie Heaven.

It worked! Well mostly, the decorative finish maybe needs some refining but it tastes great, came out in one perfect piece and has transported my tastebuds back to England.

A bit of a performance though.....

Day One.
First was the making of the aspic to top the pie off with when it had been baked. This is where the pig's trotters came into the equation. Boiled for HOURS in a pan with celery, carrot, onion, peppercorns, bay leaves. Strained and left to cool.

Day Two.
Started with finely chopping 2.5 kg pork, 250g bacon into tiny pieces. Of course I had to do it by hand, would have beeen easy-peezy in a processor. But hey I'm out cruising...

Swiftly followed by making the hot water crust pastry. The recipe I used calls for lard but you can't get that here, or at least I don't know what to ask for so I took a chance and used Crisco, it's a vegetable shortening. I googled to see if it would be ok but found no definitive answer. What the heck I used it anyway and it was perfect!

Few dicey moments as the pastry has to be worked when it's warm and moulded into shape. Filling in, top on, cursory decorations(I'll try harder next time) and into the oven.
Fortunately it was a lot cooler yesterday as we endured 30 minutes at Gas 4, followed by 90 minutes at Gas 3. Quick paint job with beaten egg and back for another 30 minutes.

Break for wine, for me not the pie!

Out she came golden and perfect, I couldn't believe it.
Final stage was filling the voids in the pie with the aspic. That was warmed till liquid again and at this point I lost my nerve a bit. With such high temperatures here I decided some help was needed and I added an envelope of powdered gelatine in to ensure a good set.
Putting a small funnel in the center of the pie I started to dribble in the golden liquid, man did that smell good!
But is was SO slow! I thought I was going to have a lot left, however I persisted until finally, 2 hoiurs later, I had the thing full.
Then let it all cool down until putting in the refrigerator overnight....

Day Three.

The unveiling... Heart in mouth I sprung the clasp on the tin and out she slid. Perfect, golden, complete!
The knife slid through the resistant but not tough pastry case slicing the succulent filling and seperating the well set aspic.

Oh My God! It tastes wonderful. It was a lot of work, there is a lot of it but it was certainly worth it.

Must go a slice awaits me!


This is the recipe I used from Nigel Slater.


Pork pie

1kg boned pork shoulder
250g pork belly
250g streaky bacon
2 bushy sprigs of thyme
2 sage leaves
½ tsp ground mace
½ tsp ground white pepper
2 good pinches ground nutmeg

For the pastry:

200g lard
220g water
575g flour
1 beaten egg
1 x 20cm cake tin

For the stock:

bones from the pork (left)
2 pig's trotters
1 onion
1 small carrot
1 small bunch of parsley stalks
1 rib of celery
6 black peppercorns

DIRECTIONS

Make the filling
You need to chop the pork into small cubes, about 5mm in size. You could mince it, but the texture will be much more interesting if you can bear to cut it by hand. Or you could chop half, then whizz the other briefly in the food processor.
Finely chop the bacon.
Remove the thyme leaves from their stems, add the sage leaves and chop both finely. Mix the herbs into the chopped meats together with the mace, white pepper, nutmeg and 1 tsp each of salt and coarsely ground black pepper.

Make the pastry

Put the lard and water into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Sift the flour with a good pinch of salt into a large bowl. Pour the hot lard and water into the flour, mix with a wooden spoon, then leave until cool enough to handle. The pastry must be warm when you start to work it.
Set the oven at 180C/gas mark 4. Lightly grease and flour your mould or cake tin (with removable bottom). Pull off a quarter of the pastry and roll it into a lid that will fit the top of the cake tin. Roll the remaining pastry to fit the base of the tin. Lay it in the bottom, then firmly push the dough up the sides with your hands. It should spread quite easily. If it slides down, leave it to cool a bit more. Make certain there are no holes or tears. This is crucial, as the jelly will leak out. Spoon the pork filling into the lined cake tin and press it down. It should come almost to the top of the pastry.
Brush the edges of the pastry above the meat with beaten egg. Lower the lid into place and press tightly to seal with the edges. Poke a small hole in the lid to let out the steam and put the tin on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, then lower the heat to 160C/gas mark 3 and bake for 90 minutes until the pastry is pale gold. Brush with the beaten egg and return to the oven for 30 minutes.

Make the stock

Put the bones into a deep saucepan with the onion, carrot, parsley stalks and the celery rib. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and leave the liquid to cook for an hour, watching the water level carefully and topping up where necessary.
Remove from the heat, decant the liquid into a bowl and leave to cool. Refrigerate overnight. If it has set very firmly, simply remove the fat from the top of the stock, transfer to a saucepan and bring to the boil. If it is still on the runny side, then remove the fat as before, pour into a saucepan and boil hard until it is reduced to about 400ml. Season carefully with salt.
When the pie is ready, pour the stock into a jug and then pour it carefully through the hole in the top of the pastry. A funnel is invaluable here. Leave the pie to cool, then refrigerate overnight.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Twitter ....

TBH has started to twitter, does that make him a twit?

He is trying the thing out to see what all the fuss is about. I am not convinced, I guess if you don't have time to read, trawl the net etc yourself it's a quick way to gather knowledge from others but there seems to be an awful lot of dross out there. I mean who can take in info when, as some are, you can subscribe to thousands of feeds. All becomes just so much hot air doesn't it?

Anyway if you want to see what he is thinking about, catches his fancy etc you can find him at https://twitter.com/geoffreymh 

Me? I'm off to defrost my trotters ready to begin the great pork pie challenge! Wish me luck...

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Now that's a BIG wave!

I have been known to shriek 'BIG WAVE' in moments of stress on board, but I can see that I have never had anything to worry about after watching this piece of video...

A cruise liner caught off the New Zealand coast, oh my.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

The Devil made me do it....

...well TBH's desire for cake actually. Still as this is my 666 post on blogger I think the devil may have had a hand!
So Tres Leche Cake, THE celebration cake here in Central America. Served chilled it's rich but not sickly, simple to make and oh so moreish!!

 

Ingredients

  • 1/2  cup  unsalted butter
  • 1  cup  sugar
  • 6  large eggs
  • 1  teaspoon  vanilla extract, divided
  • 1 1/2  cups  all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  baking powder
  • 1  cup milk
  • 1  (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1  (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2  cups  whipping cream
  • 1/4  cup  powdered sugar

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 13- x 9-inch baking dish.
2. Beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; mix in egg yolks and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder; add gradually to butter mixture, stirring to blend.Whisk egg whites until stiff and then gently combine with the mixture. Pour batter into prepared dish, and bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Pierce cake with a fork all over.
3. Combine the 3 milks, and pour on top of cake; cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.
4. Beat whipping cream, powdered sugar, and remaining vanilla at medium-high speed with an electric mixer until thick; spread over cake, and serve.

I am afraid that we may never walk, let alone dance again after this very successful effort at a local recipe!!

Saturday, 4 September 2010

N'Kosi Sikeleli, God Bless Africa.

Last night it was TBH's turn for an emotional musical ride...

As we were looking through our vast collection of DVD's we turned up the copy of Paul Simon's famous concert Graceland from back in 1986. A time when Nelson Mandela was still imprisoned and apartheid was very much a part of life in South Africa.



TBH was born in Africa, in a place that was called Nyasaland, it's now known as Malawi and is on the eastern side of central Africa. His birthplace was the town of Blantyre some distance from where his parents lived in Zomba. It was here that his Dad was a bigwig in the colonial police force of the day. TBH's Mum used to tell me stories of their lives there. Very few white families, TBH was raised pretty much by African wet nurses, he loved to tease his Mum about that!

He says that he remembers sitting around the campfires in the evening being fed mealie-meal and fish by the staff when his parents were off on one of their many official engagements. To this day he has nightmares about hippos and elephants, a result of the dire warnings that he was given as a child not to leave the compound.

Returning to the UK aged 6 he remembers driving to Cape Town via Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe.They came through the Kruger National Park and there he experienced his FIRST taste of Coca-Cola and peanuts. Not a good combination on a long road trip.

He recalls traveling to and from the UK on the Union Castle Shipping Line.He traveled on the Arundel Castle and was often to be found visiting the engine room. Some things never change! Even at that age he says he loved the roll of the ocean!

The picture is of that ship in Capetown (I just love the internet).

They say that the call of Africa never leaves those born on that continent and this morning he surprised me by saying, 'That's my country'. I have never heard him identify with any geography before, having lived all over the world he is a real gypsy. So I was a bit shocked by his statement.

Later in life he returned to live and work in South Africa, at the goldmines and then in Alexandria a predominately black area of Johannesburg. His work took him into Soweto, this was just before the riots...

I've asked him if he wants to go back and his answer is that he would find returning to Africa too heartbreaking.

So that's enough musical memories for a while, my emotions can't stand the ride! Red eyed and exhausted by the memories. The DVD's are firmly back in the box as we concentrate on creating a new set of memories to pull out in the future. I wonder what they will be?

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Let's Dance!

Diddley, diddley dum. Diddley, diddley, deee.

Guess what we did last night?

Can't guess?
OK I'll tell you.

We watched a DVD of Riverdance! Remember the amazing stage success that was an offshoot of the Irish half time display during one of those interminable Eurovision Song Contest TV specials?

It certainly was awarded more that Nil points (has to be said with a strong French accent), and went on to be a massive international phenomena.

This is a video of that original performance back in 1994, from that six minute entertainment came the whole show!



Oh my it was wonderful, my feet were tapping, tears misting my eyes as those irrepressible Irish lads and lassies twirled across the stage of Radio City in perfect formation (the envy of many a drill-sergeant), hair whirling and feet moving faster than the speed of light. Must be my Irish blood coming to the fore...



Anyway rampant emotions aside it opened a maelstrom of memories, and kept me awake half the night as I relived them all. When I really get down to thinking abut travel and wondering what it means to me there are a number of avenues that my mind can take me down. The iniquities of wealth and poverty, the cultural imperialism of my country, but the avenue that brings me most pleasure is that of music.

My first visit to the South West of Ireland began with a wild ride from the airport in Cork to a local ceilidh and an immediate introduction into the Bacchanalian rites of Irish Dance. I danced my feet off, whirling and laughing,struggling to keep up.Handed from person to person,trying not to trip over my own feet. Partners from the youngest to the oldest members of the community. It was wonderful. Everyone joins in, they all know the steps and the invigoration of social interaction was intense. Mind you I could hardly move for days after, sweet memories.

Countries will be forever associated with musical events in my head. The soulful singing of the drunken fishermen in Portugal. They were sitting in the only bar in the village where we were anchored, their voices floating down the hillside to our cockpit. Sad, slightly off key but immersed in the words of their culture. It made us think of the continuity of village life.

Spain where the rhythm of flamenco lit the fire in my blood, the drumming of heels on the wooden stage, the violence of the staccato hand claps. The intense sexuality of the dancers , creating extraordinary forms of the human body, writhing and whirling across the stage. Did you know that the female flamenco dancers often dance their way to orgasm?? A round of applause from the troupe, a glass of water and a quick sit down to recover from the event and they are off again. Fascinating.

Gibraltar where the 300th birthday of the Nation was celebrated with a concert by Elton John. We sat on the deck of the boat in the drizzle with a bottle of wine and sang along to 'Saturday Night', 'Crocodile Rock' and all the other wonderful classics.

The Caribbean islands with their gospel and steel bands. TBH's Dad always claimed that he was one of the sponsors of the first steel bands in Trinidad, where he lived back in the 40's, donating his dustbin lids to the cause of music making!

Central America with it's wild Latin beat, even the music in the supermarkets gets your hips swaying. Little kids sashay across the room with that Latino strut that makes me smile every time.

And Cuba! Ah what can I say about Cuba. Music everywhere, dance, classical, latin, contemporary. All accompanied by the infectious sound of laughter and the wide smiles of the Cubans. If ever there was a place that could win over your soul it is here.
Walking across the town late one night TBH and I spied a group of local youths clustered around a bench. Oh Oh , could be trouble. Were we ever wrong. The dozen local lads were practising their Beatle numbers to the accompaniment of a lone guitar. Magic, pure magic.

The cry of the muezzin early in the morning as the faithful are called to prayer in Morocco. It sends a tingle up my spine just thinking about it. So foreign, so alien to where I come from, so evocative of the heat, the desert, the vast continent of Africa.

Oh and drums, and kids singing and and. I could go on and on.

It made me sad too. I can't remember the last time I danced . Too old, too fat, husband with no sense of rhythm, bless him. But that's gonna change!! You are never too old, so they say and as the newspaper's are telling me that 54 is the new 40 my time has come. Stand back world!

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

I love...

...the sound of rain on the cabin roof, reminds me of camping when I was a kid.

Waking up to a blue sky over my head EVERY morning, then remembering that the raincover over the hatch is sky blue.

The gentle caress of a warm breeze floating down the hatch as I lie in bed, until it turns to stinging tropical rain.

TBH curled up in slumber, blonde hair standing on end, until he snores like the 12.22 express from Paddington.

I love the luxury of ice cubes in my glass of water, until they melt in zero seconds flat 'cos it's so friggin' hot here.

The elegant origami like egrets that fly across the boat, til the bastards crap on the sailcover.

I love the surprised look on a cormarants face when it surfaces next to me in the water, aagghhhh!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Hold on to your hats...


...looks like this could be the first biggie of the season.

I was looking at a sailing forum that I like today where a poster was asking advice about safe places for hurricane season. To my horror a number of posters were suggesting that various islands in the windwards and leewards were possible if in a hurricane hole!!!

Quite honestly words fail me. Either they are idiots or simply have no concept of the power of these things. We were 60 miles from the centre of Emily a few years ago and that was plenty close enough for me. The Rio may be hot and humid but there have never been records of a hurricane getting this far inland. I know what I'd rather take my chances with...and it's NOT the hurricane!

Monday, 23 August 2010

Keeping it in perspective.

My state of mind really seems to affect how my day goes, not to mention week. It's been an odd few days, being  the 'dog days' of Summer again and the 21st anniversary of my last husband's death I have been feeling a bit down. Even as you remember all the good times that you had  it causes the opening of old memories and wounds, thank god TBH understands how irrational I can be during this time of year.

Just love this picture, is your glass half full or half empty???

I spent yesterday chatting to the kids and losing myself in memories, self indulgent I know but hey, it's only once a year right.

Then the computer that TBH uses for his work started to play up. The screen wouldn't come on although we could hear the innards working away, then the disc stopped working. This kind of problem sends me into a tail spin. I guess it's because I feel totally out of my depth in this area of life. Computers are like a black art as far as I am concerned.

Surgery commenced, connections checked. Damn, the thing is only two years old. Then to top it all we found that the hard drive containers that we carry for just such an eventuality(mean we can get the stuff off the memory) don't fit this computer. F...g hell why does everything have to be so difficult. TBH remains calm, as he so rightly tells me it's only a computer, we will survive, we have another one, nobody is dead....I really must learn to keep things in perspective.

Makes me feel vulnerable though.