Sunday, 28 March 2010

Who's a happy bunny then?

It's me!  Me! The one over here waving her hands in the air and jumping up and down!

And do you know why?

Is it 'cos my bread rose beautifully again this morning? Nope...

Is it 'cos there is roast pork and roast potatoes in the oven cooking? Nope.....

Is it 'cos the sun is shining and all is well with my world? Nope...

It's 'cos we have been sailing and it was WONDERFUL. The sun shone, the wind blew, the spray sparkled and my running tacks were just AWESOME.

Happy bunny sitting here with a BIG grin!

Thursday, 25 March 2010

It's a (very) small world...

Okay I know I said we were off sailing but TBH's teeth have their own agenda. So they chose this week to start causing problems, and wanting to be safe we made an appointment with the 'white mans saviour' Dr Sonja.
Sailing is postponed for a few days so I would like you to picture the scene...

Early this morning we scrambled around for an early brekkie(yes it was a pancake day) and headed upstream in the dinghy to catch a 'collectiva' for the town of Morales, some 40 minutes drive away. Feeling very lucky we found an empty van and leapt aboard, claiming a whole seat each. Now this is a rare event on these buses, technically seating around 12 they regularly stuff 20 plus onboard! Makes for an intimate journey with the local who is either sitting on your lap, peering down your shirt front or politely lifting a thigh to allow you to insert yours underneath! Maybe you don't want to spend too much time on this picture in your head...

A lovely drive through the countryside, past lazy Brahma cattle with just gorgeous floppy ears laying under any shade they can find. A cowboys horse tied beside the road whisking the flies from it's back as it awaits it's gaucho and more work. Stalls piled high with freshly cut pineapples. You get the scene.

We arrive in the bustling town. I love it here. A gringo is still a rare sight and the vibrancy and colours are amazing. Everything underlined with the insistent rythmn of crazy latin music. It gets under your skin this sound, you find your toes starting to tap and hips swaying all on their own! A gang of ladies mounted on bright red motorbikes crept past the bus, sort of heavens angels I suppose. One with mum, daughter and granddaughter all mounted on the one machine. Another with mum and small daughter dressed in matching neon pink outfits...

As we sat on the balcony outside Dr Sonja's surgery overlooking the market another gringo couple puffed their way up the stairs, she heavily pregnant and obviously feeling every degree of the stifling heat, he carrying a small boy, not happy at the outing!

After a while we started talking, he is a journalist covering Guatemala for an international news agency and she a BRIT! Well blow me down, as I commiserated with her  she explained they were down on the Rio for a short holiday from their home in the Highlands, but she had a nasty mouth infection and was feeling like shit.

Would you believe that she came from about 3 miles from my home in the UK!! And went to the same school as my two daughters....good grief what are the chances of that meeting!!It really can be a very small world!

(And we were very relieved that Dr Sonja gave TBH a clean bill of health, false alarm...this time!)

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

My cup runneth over.

It's the little things in life that matter don't you think?

I love my stove, not a surprise to regular readers! Recently TBH gave the burners a service much to my delight, and yesterday my cup really ranneth over! No I didn't overfill the muffin cases. John, from Monkey Bay Marina took two of my oven shelves off to be welded back together again where some of the pieces of metal had come adrift. Returning with it yesterday afternoon I was so delighted. Poor chap was a bit confused by my gratitude, guess he'll put it down to the fact I don't get out much! So for the grand sum of Q75 I have the final repair completed to my  beloved cooker. Life is sweet.

On the other hand TBH is varnishing the cabin sole and the area from the companionway back to the salon is currently without covering. It has made me bad tempered and bolshy. One VERY grumpy old woman.

But never mind we are off again tomorrow for a bit of a sail so I can't stay cross too long!

Sunday, 21 March 2010

To hell in a hand basket.

Yesterday was a rare social event for us...

We met up with a number of old friends who have been away , either on their boats or travelling back home for a while.It's always a delight to meet up with a face that you thought you wouldn't see again, one that belongs to a person that you liked and connected with of course!

It is interesting to listen to the views of others as they return from the 'other world'. The one of politics, consumerism and bureaucracy. It is good, well sort of, to hear your own view of the current world situation confirmed by others. For a while it convinces us that we are not completely insane in our view that the world that we knew is going to hell in a hand basket! 

Far from the UK and the USA recovering from the economic crisis it seems to us that the crisis has hardly begun. From the disgusting self serving financial shenanigans of politicians and finance houses, to the depletion of the earths resources. I wonder where it will all end, and try not to think of it too often. Thank goodness we know how to fend for ourselves, to be self reliant and self sufficient.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Fishermans Friend..., not the throat lozenge but a group of shanty singers from Port Isaac in Cornwall. From very close to where my family live.

I was amused to read an article about the group in the newspaper.

Cornish fishermen land £1m deal with Take That's label... for an album of sea shanties

With their weathered faces, waterproof clothing and rugged lifestyles they are as different from your average boyband as it's possible to imagine.
But  this group of Cornish fisherman has just signed a major record deal - with the label behind Take That.
The ten-strong Fisherman's Friends, from Port Isaac, signed a deal with Universal said to be worth £1 million.

Read more:

TBH loves a good shanty, 'specially when he's doing ropework. Says it makes him feel "nautical", hmm

Port Isaac is where much of the movie 'Saving Grace' was filmed, must be something in the air!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Mother's Day

It is Mother's Day in the UK. So hoping that my own Mum had a good day, we didn't speak as the boat was on the move....

All my children called which was lovely. For all of them a few pics of our last week.

TBH up the mast changing the decklight bulb. We had terrible trouble getting the old one out until the conceptual breakthrough of using one of the suction hooks from the heads to get a good hold on the old bulb, it worked like a charm!

 Bread making is reaching new and undreamed of heights of excellence.

Watching the sunrise just after 5.30am is an unforgettable moment. Curled in the corner of the cockpit with the first cup of tea of the morning. Listening to the amazingly loud birdsong and ducking as our adopted swallow family swoop under the bimini to have a good look at what is going on...

TBH's latest piece of decorative ropework, a new cover for the grab rail on the sprayhood, and very fine it is too!

Using the oil lamps in the evenings gives a wonderful soft light that is very forgiving to us older girls! Cooking is a picture as the flame glints off the copper and steel cookpots.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Sailing and jammy doughnuts!

The week started early for us, around 5am on Monday. Just as the full moon was setting over the town. Gentle blues, hazy greys and florid pinks merged and swirled across the sky as in the opposite compass heading the sun rose. Magical.

Strawberry Jam making was my first task and by 7am(!) the batched was made and bottled. I was eager to get that completed before the berries had gone too far over and would refuse to set. It has been a challenge making strawberry jam without the use of additional commercial pectin but finally I have a recipe that uses 1/3 cup of lime juice to every 2lbs strawberries that works like a dream. It's the best jam I have ever made, and that's in 35 years of making the stuff!

The boat squared away we headed off down river, by the time the water opened out into the lake there was a nice breeze blowing and we hauled the sails up, all of them, no reefs! Can't remember the last time we did that...The wind was on the nose, of course, so we spent a happy 4 hours tacking back and forth getting up to 5.5 knots out of the old girl and finishing up in a spanking 18 knot wind heeled well over and reveling in the sense of sailing.

She chuckled along and we even perfected some great rolling tacks, in fact we tacked more in those 4 hours than we probably have in the last two years I am ashamed to admit. We were exhilarated as we pulled in to our favourite anchorage and let the anchor down. What bliss. How lucky we are.

Whilst TBH continues with the job of replacing worn teak decking I have been facing some culinary challenges that I have been promising to try out. Today's event was jam doughnuts. Oh boy, I'd better not make these too often or we won't be able to move again. They worked magnificently. Rising to soft billowing puffs of yeast dough, stuffed with homemade strawberry jam, fried in hot oil and coated in fine sugar. Talk about heart attack on a plate! By 10 am we were stuffed! Though we did manage to recover by lunch to tackle the fresh baked bread that had just come out of the oven. Life's a bitch huh!