Wednesday, 27 November 2013
We saw this above weather forecasting tool in Port Isaac a few weekends ago. Would save the government millions, doubtless.....
The singing weekend at Prussia Cove was great, if exhausting, and didnt get off to a good start when I had to swerve to avoid a stroppy driver outside Mr B's house and dented another bloke's bumper. Just waiting to hear what the damage on that one is. Second, my friend Joe was feeding Bussie and I gota phone call on Saturday morning to say that I'd left the key inside the french doors so Joe couldn't get his key in. Dear fellow, he went down to Tesco to get some cat food and left a plate outside which His Lordship scoffed and didn't seem unduly put out. And lastly, as troubles come in threes, the toilet in the house we were staying in broke. 7 people and no toilet is not a good idea but thankfully it was fixed by Saturday evening.
But we had some great singing, some good food and a good time was had by all. I was so tired by the time I came back that I crashed. And from then on it's been all go with another author interview - Rupert Wallis, whose debut novel comes out in January.
Then Alan (of 'Snap' fame) arrives tonight for a few days so it will be lovely to see him again and take him out in Echo - weather permitting.
Wednesday, 20 November 2013
This time last year three of us formed a breakaway group from our choir which we ended up calling the Hipflasks. Since then we’ve rehearsed on many an afternoon and evening, and forged a close bond between the three of us. Good friends are so valuable but good ones that sing must be even better.
Once a year Paul organises a singing weekend at Prussia Cove, where the International Music Festival, and other musical events, take place. It’s a big rambling house that can sleep 25 people and the surrounding cottages absorb the rest of us – last year there were 65 of us who gather to share food, wine, dogs and music for the weekend. We have four workshops which are always a joy to attend, we meet new people and always have a fabulous – if exhausting – time.
I'm off on Friday - six of us are sharing the Lodge as we did last year and all really looking forward to it. As we sang in a round last week, “Make new friends and cherish the old. Some are silver and some are gold.”
Tuesday, 12 November 2013
I got an email from his wife to say he was hoping to leave around midday on Monday 11th, so at 11.45 I legged it down to Greenbank pier with my camera. No sign of the sail covers being removed, so I hung around for a while, had a text from Alyson, his wife, and then thought I’d nip up and borrow Mr B’s telescope.
We watched out of his window for a while then I thought I’d better go home as I could just see the sail covers from my front window. Nearly two hours later, I looked out of the window – and the mainsail was being hoisted! I texted Mr B and ran down the hill once more with camera. Got to Greenbank Gardens and saw Andrew on board, making final preparations. I sent another text to Mr B saying, “We are watching history in the making.”
Then the jib was hoisted, and Elsi Arrub sped forwards. I was so excited, and so emotional by this time, clicking away at pictures as fast as I could, wishing we’d had some notice so we could have gone out in Echo to take better pictures and given him a good send off.
As it was, I jumped up and down and waved, shouting, “Good luck Andrew!”. He looked over, saw me and waved back. And then he was off, tacking towards the docks, and just then the sun came out and lit the sails like a blessing.
Andrew’s wife rang then so I told her he was off with a good enough wind to set him on his way (he has no engine so wind is crucial!) and headed back up to see Mr B. “I was emotional too,” he said, “and I haven’t even met the guy. That’s some undertaking.”
Andrew’s hoping to return to Falmouth next December and I’m determined to get out on the water to take some great pictures of his triumphant return.
Tuesday, 5 November 2013
However, Shelagh found out contact details for me (I was away at the time, not being lazy), so I was able to interview Andrew and his wife just before Andrew left Falmouth on November 4th.
Andrew’s first attempt at sailing round the world single handedly was interrupted in 2006 when his appendix burst. He was taken by container ship to hospital in Australia and had to leave his beloved boat, the Elsi Arrub, adrift some 300 miles off Australia. Months later, when he was back in Shetland, he had a phone call to say that the yacht had been found afloat.
You can imagine his joy, as he built this boat 26 years ago and she is now part of the family. “I know her inside and out,” he said fondly. After a good scrub up and hose down, repairs made, “she looked all dressed up and ready to go,” so his wife suggested he should have another go at sailing round the world.
And on Monday 4th November he slipped out of Falmouth. It was overcast with little wind at that point, but I wish him all the very best. You can too, for the website will be up and running soon – www.elsiarrub.co.uk - and read about it in January's Cornwall Today.
Monday, 28 October 2013
I went and saw my mum last week which was lovely, then stayed in Shaldon with my dear friend Av, and although it was only a brief time together, I came away feeling more refreshed and positive than I have done for several weeks. We’ve known each other for about 20 years (Av, you’ll put me right on exactly when we met!) and seen each other through various heartaches, falling in and out of love, death and disasters. So we know each other pretty well by now.
We’ve also been on holiday a lot – just because you’re good friends doesn’t necessarily mean you get on well when you go away. But we always laugh, cry, talk, walk and generally have a great time. So does Moll, who adores Av.
So I came away feeling much better about life. On Friday I managed to send my next walks book off to the publishers - ahead of deadline – and, urged by Av, also sent off a collection of poems to a competition. I’ve put my growing anthology of pomes into a book which Mr B says he will illustrate. Av read them and said I must find a publisher. (And she doesn’t say that kind of thing lightly.) Not an easy thing to do, but I love writing them so that bit isn’t a hardship.
This is written on Monday, for a change, and as my youngest brother and his family are coming over for a meal, I am cooking vast amounts of food to feed the Kittow Hordes. I haven’t seen them for a year, so it will lovely to catch up with them.
Later on this week, I’m off to Budock Vean ( a Very Smart Hotel) to review their dog friendly accommodation. The irony of this is that we went there on Mr B’s birthday intending to have a drink there. We turned up straight from the beach and were told we couldn’t have a drink unless we ate there, so we departed. Several weeks later I had a phone call asking if I’d like to review the place….
They even have a dress code for dinner (Smart for ladies, jacket and tie for men), which isn’t something I’ve ever come across before. Excuse me while I dash down to the charity shops to find something to wear……
Saturday, 19 October 2013
I had a few days in Coverack which was a lovely break, and I do love it there. Last year we stayed in flat in an old converted hotel on a headland about 20 minutes from the village, and I love the sense of space and wildness and the sheer, raw elements of nature at its most beautiful.
A couple of friends came over to see me which was lovely but without a certain person it really wasn't the same. So I came back to sort myself out before going up to Devon tomorrow for a few days and see my mum then my dear friend Av and I are going to have a couple of nights in a B&B nearby - we visited there in the summer and it was lovely. Actually the forecast is terrible, but it will just be good to have a few days with one of my oldest and dearest friends.
We'll be near the sea, too, so if I can't actually get on it, at least I can be near boats, and very much look forward to Mr B's return so we can get on the water again.
Wednesday, 9 October 2013
On Monday Al and I had our last sail. I suddenly started to be incredibly cack handed and forgot to do things that I know perfectly well and then got cross with myself, till Al said, “perhaps it’s because you’re a bit emotional,” and of course he was right. I was so gulpy I couldn’t speak for about half an hour.
Like any Last Times, the three or four hours we spent out were so poignantly beautiful it made me ache. Snap took us round the docks to show her off – which was where I took the above picture, as we sailed into the sun towards Falmouth Docks - then we headed out to sea where the waves sparkled and the wind was perfect and we just wanted to keep going.
We surfed back with the spinnaker up most of the way, but used it like a second genoa, so it blew out to the side like a balloon as we sped along. Snap makes a wonderful rushing noise when she sails like that, and you can almost hear her joy as she surfs the waves. Ours, too. All too soon we were back on the pontoon, to take the sails off, a job that we did in near silence.
And that was Snap’s last sail of the year. She’s going back to Derby for the winter, so it’ll be May before she and Al come back and I will sorely miss them both. But we’ve had the most special times and for that I am everlastingly grateful.
Last night I had dinner with Al and Anne, which was incredibly kind of them – we had the most fabulous meal and it was a fitting end to a great summer’s sailing. Today, after 3 hours sleep, I went down to meet Al at Mylor when Snap was lifted out of the water. Having said I’d cheer him up as she was lifted out, of course I was absolutely of no use at all and stood there with tears pouring down my face as she was craned out, onto her trolley, to begin the long trip back to Derby for the winter.
After another hug goodbye, I ran down the pontoon, howled my eyes out on Echo for a bit, then blew my nose, gave Moll a cuddle and headed back to do some work. Hopefully Mr B will be back soon and we can get on the water again soon, for I do feel bereft without it.
I’m off to the Lizard next week for a few days, possibly longer, for a much needed break. See you all soon.