Tuesday 24 May 2016


We had our first proper sail yesterday which, despite not being as confident as I would like, was great. We've had a few problems with the outboard - C had to strip it as it wasn't working properly, and even then wasn't happy with it - but it worked beautifully, the wind was enough for us to get a really good sail, and the sun shone so everything looked fabulous.

Even Moll came with us, though we had to keep her down below as it was a bit busy. Her dear little face kept poking up to see if she could join us, but she was very good. We've got her a lifejacket - a pink one (that was the only colour they had in a small, I wouldn't have dared get a pink one otherwise) - and she is not impressed. I'm getting her used to it by wearing it round the house (her not me) and she gets a biscuit afterwards, but you can see from her face what she's thinking. "My god what does she think I LOOK like?"

Serenity is a dear boat and although taking off and landing is tricky on a pontoon, we've managed it both times and it can only get easier once we know more of what we're doing. Ever hasty, I wish I could re-learn everything I've forgotten instantly (such is my nature) and that my confidence would come pinging back in a flash. It will come back, I know, and we're both really pleased with the boat, and a fabulous sail yesterday.

So here's to more good times and making the most of what we've got. Whatever it is. For as long as it lasts.

Tuesday 17 May 2016

The illusion of love

I went to see the film of Florence Foster Jenkins yesterday, and found it fascinating. For those that don't know, she was a wealthy woman who long aspired to be an opera singer, despite the fact that she couldn't sing. Her ambition was to sing at Carnegie Hall, which she did - and recordings of her voice are quite excruciating, though she believed she sang beautifully. Her devoted husband supported her in this, wanting her to be happy. But was he supporting an illusion, or merely doing her best to make her happy because he loved her?

Meryl Streep, who plays Florence, talks about the illusion of love in an interview. But I'm interested in this dilemma. Was Florence's husband being cruel, going along with this illusion that his wife could sing, when it made her very happy - and was her whole raison d'ĂȘtre? Would it not have been more honest to tell her she couldn't sing? But that would have crushed her hopes and her spirit, could well have wrecked their marriage.

AT the end of the day, he did what he felt was best for her - he protected her and made her happy. That was his decision, and if they were both laughed at throughout society, that was his decision. As always, there are different ways of looking at it.

What do you think?

Wednesday 11 May 2016


Devon Bay Holiday Park, Goodrington Sands, Paignton, South Devon

Despite my advancing years, I'd never stayed in a holiday park before and wasn't sure what to expect. But we received excellent directions to Devon Bay, and the receptionists, despite being very busy on a Friday evening, were cheerful, courteous and extremely efficient.

Our (enormous) Platinum caravan was situated, alongside many others, in a quiet wooded valley near Goodrington Sands in South Devon. The caravan was brand new, and had a large enclosed verandah area (with tables and chairs); ideal if you have a dog, like us.

The caravan had a large lounge area with very comfortable settees, a 32” tv/dvd, a well equipped kitchen, three bedrooms (the double room en suite) and central heating as well as a flame effect electric fire.

The well stocked shop was a few minutes walk away, with a large launderette next to the shop, and recycling bins are posted all round the site, ensuring a scrupulously clean park. We sampled breakfast in one of the site's three restaurants where the food was freshly cooked and delicious, as we sat overlooking Goodrington beach.

There were plenty of entertainments on site, from water based activities in the indoor and outdoor pools, Bingo, cabaret and dance sessions - ideal not just for children but adults as well. However, we discovered several car boot sales in the area, and walked along the coastal footpath down to Mansands beach and along to Scabbacombe Head, enjoying the first hot weekend of the year. The views are quite stunning here, where yachts sailed over the bay and the sea glimmered and sparkled in the sun.

After our walk we called into Coleton Fishacre house and garden (National Trust) for a cup of coffee and a delicious slice of cake. The 1920s house was shut, being later in the day, but the gardens were well worth a visit, with interesting landscaping on varied levels, the use of water in unexpected ponds and waterfalls, and extravagant bursts of colour from rhododendrons and azaleas.
The next day we explored Kingswear and walked along the coastal path to Froward Point, enjoying the spectacular views over Dartmouth harbour and the famous naval college.

There's something for everyone here, and we noted people of all ages enjoying a break - there is so much for children to do that the family next door didn't move off site at all. All in all, this proved an excellent place for all ages to enjoy. You won’t be disappointed!

Directions: A38 to Exeter, take A385 to Totnes, follow through Paignton. 1mile past Ocean BMW come to large junction with traffic lights turn right to Brixham. Continue past Asda, Sainsbury and Aldi on right then turn left at traffic lights by Alan Kerr Camper van sales, signed to Goodrington. Follow road down the hill then turn left just past Methodist church at bottom of hill to Hoburne Devon Bay.
Nearest station Torquay 4 miles.

01425 282358

Wednesday 4 May 2016

Boats, Penzance and sunshine

I woke up with a hollow feeling today - it’s Pip and my wedding anniversary, and however much my life has moved on, I still, obviously, feel a great sadness at having lost such a lovely man. But he would be delighted at having bought this boat, and giving her so much loving care - which is badly needed.

I’ve got an aching back now but in a good cause - we’ve just been scraping the bottom of our boat, Serenity. And now, courtesy of a lot of creme cleaner, she has a much whiter deck and a clean bum as well!

It’s good for me to learn more about this boat from the bottom up, pardon the pun. And I’m beginning to realise that owning this boat is much more of a journey than either Piran or Echo. In a good way….

But today the sun is shining and we’re off to Penzance this afternoon - I’ve got a meeting with forager Rachel Lambert, with whom I will be giving a talk at the Penzance Literary Festival this summer, and C has to go to the auctioneers to collect some unsold items and drop off some paintings. I then have to sign some books at Edge of the World bookshop in Penzance, and take Moll for a walk probably along the Prom.

“You’ve got a lot going on,” said Tony when we had a walk yesterday.

“Yes, I replied. But sadly none of it paying at the moment!”

But hopefully a bit more work will come my way. Fingers crossed, and in the meantime, let’s enjoy the sunshine!