|In November we made a
quick trip back to the UK to see friends. Until that point we hadn't
really thought that living in Southern Spain as being particularly cheap,
but a week back in the UK certainly brought it home to us. The week
was spent either having dinner with friends or buying presents for
Samarang. We then spent many happy hours packing and repacking in
different ways in order to avoid excess baggage on the flight back.
Back to Rota,
Spanish lessons, working on the boat, exploring, drinks with friends,
etc. We'd also acquired a CD/DVD copier and had become a sort of
floating software/audio factory. We didn't seem to be this busy when
we were both working full time in the UK - and friends in England couldn't
understand what we did all day!
Part of the
Thanksgiving party on Shibumi
A high spot of the winter was
Thanksgiving aboard Shibumi a 65ft American ketch owned by Chris & Jackie.
I think there were 12 of us. A mammoth undertaking from Jackie, even
with a little help from the other cruisers, including desert from us.
We went with Chris & Jackie to
Gibraltar (they'd bought a car for the winter). Unfortunately, we'd
got so used to moving about in Europe that we forgot to take our
passports! So we spent the day in La Linea whilst Chris & Jackie
sampled the delights of Gib. Now La Linea may be a nice place when
its finished; there were demolition or building sites on every
corner. Though, any town that highlights as its main tourist
attraction a series of dilapidated WW2 grey concrete bunkers (not
unfortunately subject to any of the demolition works) has probably got a
way to go before earning 3 stars in the Michelin!
Top German &
Swiss surgeons discuss how to remove the growth from Harm's nose.
|It was now moving
towards Christmas when we'd be returning to the UK and visiting Lindy's
mum in Leeds. Life in the marina started to settle into a steady
routine - none of us were going anywhere. The one new arrival during
was the Canadian yacht Dotty-Dee skippered by Lesley Anne (Hairdresser and
fishing boat skipper - its a long story!) and crewed by partner Ian from
the UK. The new arrivals added extra energy to an already busy
social scene which immediately moved up a gear. During another very
late night with them and Gerry & Geoffrey from Katinka , I received
a very long lecture on how to think like a fish, even though I
kept explaining that I didn't know how to tie on a hook - LA really was a
fishing skipper. And shortly after Lindy had her hair done on the
pontoon - LA really was a hairdresser as well!
|So home to a cold and
damp Leeds for Christmas & New Year. More shopping for presents
for Samarang and more juggling with the luggage allowance (just like
the last trip). At the same time, on Christmas Eve, we put the final
details of our new main sail design with Rob Kemp, who had been absolutely
fantastic throughout what had seemed a never ending process (slowed down
undoubtedly by continuous often stupid questions and dubious "good
ideas" from yours truly).
We also had the opportunity to meet
up with Rob & Maggie from Tanglewood who were back in Saltaire for
Christmas. We also met Peter & Sue who were getting ready to
head off for the Med in the spring. Talking to them made us start to
feel like 'old timers' rather than the novices we normally felt!
It generally seemed to us that
almost everyone we met had almost god-like experience compared to us:
They had circumnavigated, sailed in the southern ocean, visited Antarctica,
been sailing since they were children, were doing there 10th year in the
Med, built their own boat with trees they'd grown themselves, etc,
etc. Even Loic the 7 year old Swiss boy on Reine Marguerite had more
time on board/miles under his belt than us - he'd never actually lived in
a house and fell out of bed when visiting relatives!
|Back to Rota, via Jerez,
courtesy of Ryan Air. The flight was severely delayed by
Spanish air traffic industrial action - so a taxi back to the marina
and straight to bed, rather than a lift and dinner with Chris & Jackie
as originally planned. Awake in the middle of the night when Lindy realised that
Barry had left the rucksack in the taxi. This
contained, as well as a lot of the heavy "presents", our laptop
which in turn contained our whole life. All the data was of
course backed up in best ISO 9000 fashion onto our iPAQ. The iPAQ
was also in the rucksack!
We (Barry) panicked a lot, and then
Stella as early as we reasonably could. Did we have the receipt with
the taxi's licence number? What do you think? Nonetheless it
all ended happily and the bag was returned care of Stella the following