Friday 25 May 2012

Glorious Sun and Sail

Well what super weather we are having.  Its been in the 20s for the last few days here in Chester with a cloudless blue sky.  Just as well as our sail training is now in full swing at the sailing club with 8 adults learning to sail we have been kept very busy indeed. Most have never been in a dinghy before so its right back to basics.

Sailing conditions have been absolutely perfect for learners and our intrepid matelots have been quick to learn.

Yours truly on the right briefs the trainees before we launch (yes it is a beer barrel under the boat)
 After some basic tuition ashore in glorious sunshine its off to the river for some sailing with a lovely background of Chester and the river Dee (its a tad bit bigger here than at Llangollan)
All Aboard - Getting under way
 First of all we take them out for a joy ride so they get the feel of sailing.

Then we teach them how turn the boat and sail up wind (tacking) followed by down wind sailing and turning the boat with the wind behind (gibing).  Once they master that we let them sail on their own but shadow them in a rescue boat to give them further advice.

Tim gives the trainees a helping hand to get under way
 It is hard to believe these guys are sailing on their own after just 4 - 2hour evening sessions but they have all picked up the basics and sail really well.
Looking good sailing down wind

Getting ready to tack the boat as they sail up into wind

The boat on the left is an RS Vision (modern design) and the other a Wanderer (old design)
Once we are happy they can handle the dinghies well we then let them try out smaller single handed dinghies called Toppers.  A Topper is almost a surfboard with a sail.  You can recognise one as it has a top hat Logo on the sail.

Learning to tack round a buoy
Whilst Andy and I instruct from the rescue boat (its a hard life for an instructor you know)

It can get very busy on the river
The end of a lovely evenings sail and a lovely sun set in the background
Finally we come ashore and teach them some theory on wind awareness, safety aspects, a few basic knots, and how to rig and de-rig the boats.  All this is done over 6 weeks for 2 hours a week after which they can sail a boat safely and proficiently.  I have to say I do get a great deal of satisfaction teaching someone to sail and then see them sail on their own for the first time.  

Together with the club racing in our own dinghy on Sunday mornings and Tuesday evenings Chris and I are out sailing pretty much most evenings now.  With the great weather we're having its so nice to be out on the water, beats gardening any day!

Tuesday 15 May 2012


As I sit and type its 3.30am in the morning.  

I went to bed at just before midnight and lay there wide awake until now.  

I tried counting sheep but lost count several times.

I counted the cracks in the ceiling but that just made me want to plan to decorate.

I counted the noises I heard but then got paranoid that someone was outside.

I counted Chris's breathing and then got annoyed she was asleep and not I.

I gave up, got up and made myself a mug of drinking chocolate.

Its a strange world, the dead of night.  So dark, still and moody, silent but also full of noises.  

Silent while everyone is tucked up sound asleep in bed, no traffic, no conversations, no phones ringing, no TV or radios, no shouting, giggling children. No bright and dazzling daytime cacophony of activity.

Then again the night is noisy in its own unique way. The house creaking and groaning when the central heating boiler fires up and pipes ting ting ting as they expand or the steady tick tock, tick tock, tick tock of the mantle piece clock as it beats out its rhythmic time keeping.  The occasional mumble as a family member dreams, of what, we may never know or want to.  The drip, drip, drip of the gutters full to the brim with the rainfall outside that in itself gently roars in the background.   Then, occasionally, the whir of the freezer compressor joins in as if not to be left out.  All of this punctuated now and then by a very faint, far far away baritone bark of a distant dog somewhere else.

Little wander sleep evades me.  

But oh the peace and tranquillity of this hour, just me, myself and I.   Listening to the night's symphony. 

At least until the alarm clock goes off that is.

Saturday 12 May 2012

Back to our roots

Hi all,
Been a while since my last post.  Chris and I have been back to Essex visiting the family keeping the parents happy.  Dad recently had a artificial knee replacement as his joints failed leaving him walking bone on bone which was agonising for him.  After 5 weeks we're glad to say he is making excellent progress with his recovery.

Dad having a frozen pea ice pack whilst being waited on.
He is still in pain from the op but together with the pain killers and home made ice pack in the form of cheap frozen peas his knee is improving and he is managing to stay quite chipper.  He walks with crutches for the time being but now he can walk upright, something he could not do for a long time.  Mum, bless her, is fussing over him like a mother hen and she won't let him miss his tablets or walk training for one minute (glad I'm not on the receiving end).

A rare moment when mum stopped fussing and has a cuppa.
Next it was Chris's mums turn and we were surprised to see how frail she is becoming.  She is eating well be her weight is getting a worrying.  We treated her to a meal and she put it away quite happily.  We spent a few more days with her and then made our way back home.

Still no word yet on the build and we still wait with anticipation for Ferwoods to call and let us know.  Guess with Crick coming up they are flat out preparing for that. The suspense is really killing us but we don't feel it's right to badger them just yet until after Crick.  Chris and I intend to make the most of the extra day there as its our anniversary on the 3rd June so we're planning to make the most of the time away.

I see some of the restrictions are starting to be relaxed and that is all for the good.  Lets hope people don't go mad and forget the shortage is still there.  

Well that's all for now folks will post again soon.