The Owl and The Pussy Cat

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea In a beautiful 'red and white'(!) boat, They took some honey, and plenty of money, Wrapped up in a five pound note. The Owl looked up to the stars above, And sang to a small guitar, 'O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love, What a beautiful Pussy you are, You are, You are!What a beautiful Pussy you are!'

Edward Lear

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

New improved 'sailing pics'

We're home from our 'big trip', so I can fill in some more pictures and text.
First there was a bit of engine maintenance
 Then off we set for Fowey
 It went well to start with, then as we approached Fowey Vince wanted to calibrate the log (thing that tells us how fast we are going) using some transit lines (sorry if this is a bit technical, I can explain if you want, but sometimes life's too short). We got to the start line and there was some mutterings and consulting of instruction books and pressing of buttons while I sailed the boat to and fro, and then we set off, in a straight line from A to B. I was under the impression we needed to do A to B, then B to A then A to B again. Following so far? We did A to B, turned around, did B to A then somebody (not me) pressed a wrong button and we had to start again. I was becoming mrs grumpy by now, and then it turned out we needed to do A to B FOUR more times, ho hum. We did it, and our log is now more accurate than it was, which we will be glad of if we are lost at sea one day. And it was a good day for sailing. Click on this picture for a video... (sorry about the offending fenders Peter!)
Click on this picture for video

The following day, moored a little upriver from Fowey was glorious sunshine, so mrs grumpy was restored to mrs happy!

 I get to do the rowing because I love rowing. We rowed/drifted upriver a bit further and had a lovely walk along the riverbank in Golant, upriver from Fowey

Then, refreshed and restored we set of for Falmouth. The winds were very light and coming from behind the boat, so we had the two sails out, one on each side, which is called a goosewing. One of my favourite, and one of the few self explanatory, nautical terms I know. 
Below is a very similar video with me at the helm, smiling! (and note the calibrated log at the end showing 6 knots)

The wind gradually picked up and we had a great sail, particularly because it's about the first time I haven't felt at all sea sick or stressed. Here's St Antony's Head lighthouse at the entrance to Falmouth.

We then spent a week in wet and windy Falmouth. We went ashore a few times (more rowing opportunities for me), walked here and there, ate lunch in cafes, visited the maritime museum, admired the J class yachts and met up with two lots of friends who also happened to be down there.
Some days we stayed on the boat and read books, watched boats going in and out and did jobs such as rope splicing
 and sewing leather onto the oars to prevent them from wearing out in the rowlocks.

Oh yes, and we did a bit of sailing (not much) and took some friends on a trip upriver, part motoring, part sailing. It would be nice to think we did a lot of this..(home made elderflower champagne of course)
But unfortunately there weren't many evenings it was warm enough to sit outside, it's only June after all!
We had a few lovely sunsets

A very foggy last day. (this is the same view as the sunset one)
 And finally a very lovely sail home, with a foggy start but sunshine later. We sailed all the way back to Plymouth from Falmouth. We were pretty tired, but I wasn't at all sea sick again, Hooray, there's hope (!) for me yet..
This is us setting off, taken by friends from the shore
The owl and the Pussy cat finally set to sea.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

A quick bit of quilting

One of the things I've been working on while at home, sheltering from the wind and rain is (one of!) my quilt(s).
Here are the three layers spread out on the floor. On the bottom is the top (?), on top of that, for the padding, is an old blanket I bought from our local recycling centre for £1.50. On top is the backing, which is a not-quite-big-enough old sheet. This is a traditional frugal quilt made entirely from reclaimed/recycled offcuts and scraps. I don't quite understand quilters who buy new bits of material, cut them into small pieces and then stitch them all together again.
note what a not-very tidy room I have?!
here's the back, pinned and partly stitched together
 A close up of the stitching on the front
 And a general view of the pinned and partly stitched front/top.

I've been putting this bit off for ages because I kept reading that it was difficult, that it's easy to end up with wrinkles and uneven bits. But of course that doesn't matter, this is a quilt made to keep us warm and look pretty. It's not been made to win any prizes, and it certainly doesn't matter if it has a few wrinkles, after all it will match Vince and I as we grow older together!
There's still lots of stitching to do, and I need to resolve the not-quite-big-enough backing sheet, but I feel I'm nearing the end now, and I think it will be stitched together enough this autumn to go on the bed, even if it's not quite finished.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Back home AGAIN!

Oh dear, the best laid plans and all that....Well, here we are at home again. Anyone reading this recently after I've written it will know that the weather still isn't too good for sailing. We went back down to the boat on Monday, which involves a short ride in the dinghy as she's moored out in the river. Here's Vince with his trusty 'seagull' engine. It had been in his shed, unused, for 20 years. A little bit of tinkering and vroom, off it went. They don't make 'um like that anymore. Mind you they also don't make them as leaky, smelly and noisy as that anymore! We use the oars if we can, but sometimes we need the engine if the tide and/or wind are against us, so we are at times grateful for our leaky smelly engine.

 We set off for Fowey on Tuesday not without a minor drama as we needed to leave the mooring before the tide turned, and when we tried to bolt the trusty seagull outboard onto the bracket on the back of the boat it wouldn't fit! This meant leaving the mooring and pottering up to the pontoons where we had to get in and out of a tricky tight spot to drop the outboard off. We managed it with only a gentle lean against the (fortunately) plastic coated pontoon edges! We got out of Plymouth harbour and got the sails up without too much problem, and I even did some helming feeling more relaxed than I usually do. However Vince noticed that the engine was leaking a bit of diesel. Being a safety conscious person he didn't want the engine to pack up on us out at sea so we pottered back to our mooring. It then turned out that we didn't have the right sized spanners to do things to the engine, and as it was raining we thought we'd come home!
We set of home on Wednesday, by which time it was glorious sunshine and a lovely breeze ho hum!
Here's the dinghy loaded up with stuff to take home again (note lack of engine)
 and I finally remembered to take a picture of the boat on the mooring..

and in case you think I haven't been getting my crafty fix here's my anti seagull 'bunting'. There are a few boats near ours with buntingey stuff on them, so I felt ok about prettying the boat up like this. It also serves a purpose as it deters the seagulls from roosting (and pooing!) on the boat
it's made from scraps of ripstop nylon that I salvaged from the bin from the Moreton banners project that I helped with earlier this year, so they fulfilled my frugal tendencies as well.
Sadly we've missed the Shanty festival in Falmouth but, undaunted, we plan to set off again for Fowey on Monday, spanners at the ready!......

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Bringing the boat home to Plymouth

Friday 1st June was pleasantly spent sorting the boat out, stowing food and other stuff, and the highlight for me was swinging from the mast to sort out some of the rigging.
We left on the high tide on Saturday morning and had a successful, if gruelling, 30 hour trip from Hayling Island, (between Southampton and Chichester), back to Dartmouth.
I was ok for the first few hours, but after that I 'slept' (see below) most of the way, rousing myself to help with a couple of minor crises and to make the occasional cup of tea. David and Vince did all the serious sailing stuff, doing 2 hour shifts through the night. Very impressive. We finally got to Dartmouth about 4pm Sunday

 ............ had a big feast of chili con carne and crashed out.

I would have liked to stay in Dartmouth for a few days, but the weather was good so it was decided we should set off again early Monday morning for Plymouth. It's a good job we did or we would have been stuck in Dartmouth, in horrible weather, for several days! Not long after we left I dived below and 'slept' a lot more!. I did manage to pop up and take a few pictures of the coast. We made it to Plymouth in only 6 hours and it was a lovely steady sail. We even got to play with the cruising chute (like a spinnaker) outside Plymouth

We got the boat tied up on her new mooring, and David went home Monday evening. Vince and I did a quick shop (we'd left the van in Plymouth earlier in the week) and crashed out on the boat again.

We got up to pouring rain on Tuesday, and as we'd been planning to come home anyway at some point we thought that was a good time to do it! We cowered in the boat doing 'stuff' all morning then escaped in the afternoon and eventually got home in the evening when we promptly had baths and a jolly good sleep. On Wednesday we went back down to finish off some more jobs, got the mooring ropes sorted out and had a clean up inside.

 That seemed to take all day, and then Thursday was taken up with driving to Hayling Island to collect my car! The weather was foul, but we were very very glad we weren't out at sea!

We went down to the boat yesterday to do some more sorting out ropes/electronics stuff, and I baked my first 'boat cakes' which Vince was very impressed with. It's a lovely simple 'stir it all together' muffin recipe my friend Ren gave me, and I didn't even have any eggs, but it worked out fine!

Vince and I near the end of our long trip
photo courtesy of David
The plan now is to sail down to Fowey Tuesday (when we hope it will have stopped raining!) and then on to Falmouth where there's a Sea Shanty Festival where some friends of ours will be singing, so that will be fun, even if it does rain!

Much shorter trips from now on, Fowey should only take about 4 hours, so I think I'll enjoy the sailing more.

More on Sleeping...

The above description of our trip was sent to some friends, several of whom thought it was great that I'd got to 'sleep' a lot. Below is a different definition of my sleeping during the trip...................

I spent most of the trip lying on the sofa/bunk, sometimes sleeping, sometimes just lying there, feeling ill cold etc. I tend to feel a bit seasick on long, rough trips anyway but the whole thing was made much worse for me this time by the fact that I was having my period, which, even on a good day in the comfort of my own big warm comfy house can make me lie on the floor groaning and feeling uncomfortable and generally sorry for myself. Lying inside a large fibreglass box that is constantly pitching and rolling, accompanied by flailing ropes and big ocean waves slapping and rushing against the sides of the boat, which are less than 2 feet from my head, made it not really like the 'sleeping' experience most people know of!