March 2011

Our News Winter 2011

Well, if the circumstances had been different and we hadn't been swindled out of all that money last September, then we may well have been in Australia and victims of all that dreadful flooding. Instead we've been at home in England, working on the house and garden, seeing friends and of course making plans and buying stuff for the "Bird". Despite not having jobs, it's amazing how the tasks at hand seem to expand to more than fill the time available.

In brief, Penny spent a week at the London Boat Show, selling holidays. Richard revamped the website and did some other writing. Also he's been doing a bit of eBay trading, lightening the load of unwanted stuff in both our garage and those of friends.

The garden has been trimmed, pruned, weeded and mowed. The hall has been partially plastered, painted and made good. Libby's been enjoying the company of old friends at nursery and also resumed her swimming lessons. As well as being able to swim the length of the pool, she can now swim that distance, dive unassisted to the bottom to collect a stick and then swim back again. Before too long I hope to be able to send her swimming for our supper!


The next chapter is upon us. Re-launch. New Propeller


31st March….


I wasn’t getting very good sleep when I first arrived. Living on a boat on the hard is always a little worse than camping, but there was an ever-present chirping. Finally I realised a sparrow or tit was always there chirruping at me. I soon realised he was trying to chuck me off his “turf”. Peering down the inside of the mizzen boom I saw a mass of nesting materials, packed in solid.



When I flushed the poor fellow’s nest and materials out of the boom, that was it. War was declared, and the little bird turned up at all times of the day and night and just yelled and yelled at me.


Now we’re in the water, he seems to have lost me thank goodness. But an interesting philosophical conundrum I thought. At what point does occupation give you rights of any kind?


The launch went well. Only a day late due to mechanical breakdown of the lift. Good job there was no recourse to savage penalties if we launched later than the agreed time due to THEIR failure! Ah well, live and let live I say. It’s easy to say that at the beginning of the season!





See that fine hull colour? That’s red anti-foul paint. Red is supposed to be the most effective. I don’t know why, nor do I care! However, when scrubbing the cursed paint from your hands, make a careful mental note where the actual scars are first. (ie those caused by swinging a spanner to remove an old anode with VERY sharp surfaces.) Dragging a scouring brush over fresh wounds is not to be recommended!


20th March….


Dear people, welcome to the next phase of our adventure. I’m on countdown to departure with less than a fortnight to go. For some weeks now, there have been various bags strewn around the spare room, and much agonising over bathroom and kitchen scales in an attempt to get the best value out of aircraft baggage allowances.


We spent much too much time acquiring new stuff during the winter, and most of it will have to be shipped abroad for us. Most exciting items are a new propeller and a new (second hand) outboard motor. This has led to a slight re-arrangement of our schedule due to the difficulties in shipping to Turkey. We are arranging to ship a big box to Rhodes, and the prop is already on its way. The propeller I can fetch by hopping on the ferry from Marmaris to Rhodes and bringing it back in a bag, but the same is not true for a 36kg outboard motor!


We are also looking forward to new (ish) sheets for the Genoa, (and for our bed!) an old satellite phone for emergencies, a couple of new fenders, new (ish) bits of running rigging, some LED lights plus Marmite and shampoo.


So, I’ll be flying out ahead of the charter season, and consequently have to route via Istanbul. There won’t be any time for sight-seeing. When I get to the boat yard, my jobs include fetching the new prop from Rhodes, fitting it, anti-fouling the hull, launching the boat, cleaning out the fresh water tank, fitting new toys including water-flow meter and associated gubbins, new LED strip lights, cleaning bilges and stowing stuff and getting the cushions all back in place and generally getting the Bird back to liveable state.


Some folk might remember from last year my description of frustrations trying to drive Wild Bird backwards onto a dock. The new prop should make little difference. The purpose of this 2000 investment is that it is designed to fold up when we’re sailing.


The girls follow me to Marmaris 10 days later. My plan THIS year is not to go “high profile” in any local bars. Naturally the sadness of being parted from the family is mitigated with a temporary sense of freedom from responsibilities. Last year, at the invitation of the nice young local sailing club staff I was to be found thrashing tunes out on the guitar in a local bar. Consequently when Penny arrived, she was immediately put on her guard by the fact that all these nice people kept greeting me in the street like a long lost friend. Many of these nice people were attractive young ladies. It took a few days before reality finally set in, but for a while I was firmly in the dog house.