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June – The half way mark

Posted in: End of Month Recap on Sunday, July 14th, 2013

It’s surprising to think that we’re half way through the year. Organised people are already preparing for Christmas. People working in finance are busy with the end of financial year. Shoppers with money to burn are enjoying the EOFY sales. People are rugging up for winter as the cold really starts to bite and the first two State of Origin games have been held. But most importantly of all, our window replacement has been finished!!

1. We flew to Bundaberg to catch up with Ben’s family, particularly his Aunt Barb and Uncle Kev who we don’t get to see very often as they live in Victoria. It was as usual a great trip and we had fun catching up with everyone. The highlights of the trip for me include spending time with Ben’s grandmother learning how to crochet and Matty and Ann’s visit. Matty is practically like a brother to Ben so it was great to see them chatting and laughing together. And Matty’s big bear hugs are the best! But the best bit was Matty and Ann brought with them some of the catch from a recent spearfishing trip and we had some of the nicest crumbed fish I’ve ever had.  There was Parrot, Hoki, Cod and another type I can’t remember.

2. We enjoyed good food and good company on a double date at Kings Indian Restaurant with our friend Richo and his girlfriend Carla. It was a great night with lots of laughs and delicious food. Who knew I loved papadums so much. The restaurant was small and had an intimate feel, the nicest part were these lovely artworks on the walls.

3. I began an unhealthy addiction to the new Choc Orange flavour of Tim Tam. Normally I’m a Tim Tam purist, it’s either original or dark choc mint for me. That was until Arnott’s changed the game. Forever. These Tim Tams are simply divine. No other Tim Tam or any chocolate biscuit for that matter will ever compare to them. My only complaint is that they only come in packs of five. Seriously Arnott’s what’s with the odd number of biscuits in every pack? Don’t you know that they’ll most likely be shared by a couple deeply in love but who nevertheless will be driven to fighting over the last one?

Choc Orange Heaven

4. Rain. Rain. Rain. We seemed to get a lot of it. This was the view out our hatches for most of the month, well at least it felt that way. I shouldn’t be complain though, other parts of the state would love to get this rain. And as far as i’m concerned, they can have it!

5. I finally finished the hooded baby blanket for my friend Liz and as always it was very satisfying to finish a project and especially one that was a gift for such a special occasion and a special person. You can check out more pictures and read about my experience knitting it over at Stitches and Sails.

6. The blanket was finished just in time for Liz’s baby shower. The theme for the day was baby jungle animals with these awesome cupcakes featuring animals made entirely out of sugar. As well as fantastic cake pops made by the father to be, oh my Lord they were fantastic. I think from now on I’ll only eat cake in pop form.  There was a scrap booking station, a bib painting station, guess-the-weight-of-the-jelly-babies-in-the-bottle table, baby photo guessing and a game where you had to name as many nursery rhymes featuring animals as you could.  Can you believe I spaced on Baa Baa Black Sheep, and Mary Had a Little Lamb?

Chocolate surgary goodness

7. Okay lucky number seven, our window replacement has been finished!!! (yes is really does deserve three exclamation marks)  The new windows and hatches are a big improvement on the old ones and the best thing is they don’t leak! Tygress is once again watertight above deck, take your best shot rain! I’m still not in a good head space to write the blog post about It but I promise to do it soon.

Shiny new windows!

 8. Mother Nature reminded us she still has a nice side by giving us a beautiful rainbow on one of our few days of sun.

9. Ben attended a LAN party hosted in style by Liz and Nathan and I tagged along to hang with Liz. It was fun to catch up for girly talk and watch the boys kill each other in Halo Reach.

10. We got the car  back with it’s new-to-it engine and it works great. While we’re lucky where we are at Manly that most of our essential needs are within walking distance I’d forgotten the luxury of being able to just jump in the car and drive further afield. Best of all we can now go visit friends and family without relying on long tedious trips on public transport.

 Now for the not so good parts of June

a) The weather obviously. July more sun please.

b) There has been marking to our nice red paint work on our port side hull which isn’t washing off and which we will be addressing with our window contractor. At this stage we think there has been some sort of spill that we weren’t advised of or maybe it was the deck wash he used at the end of the job.

 If (1) is considered a complete cluster-whoopsie of a month and (10) is considered a month full of happiness, sunshine and success then I’d rate June a 9.

How was yours?

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The Mexican Fisherman

Posted in: Food for the Soul on Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Image Source: http://susiesbigadventure.blogspot.com.au/2011/04/saudi-man-dies-saving-american-child.html

A boat docked in a tiny Mexican fishing village. An American tourist complimented the Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them.

“Not very long” answered the Mexican

“But then why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?” asked the American.

The Mexican explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family. The American asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

“I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings, I go into the village to see my friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar, and sing a few songs. I have a full life.”

The American interrupted, “I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you! You should start by fishing longer everyday. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat.”

“And after that?” asked the Mexican.

“With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you can then negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant.  You can then leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge new enterprise.”

“How long will that take?” asked the Mexican.

“Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years,” replied the American. “And after that?”

“Afterwards? Well my friend, that’s when it gets really interesting,” answered the American, laughing. “When your business gets really big, you can start buying and selling stocks and make millions!”

“Millions? Really? And after that?”asked the Mexican.

“After that you’ll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife and spend your evenings drinking and enjoying your friends.”

Okay, I had a headache today and phoned it in with this post. Some of you may be aware, but I wasn’t, that this story has been reproduced on blogs too many times to count. Some of you may be rolling your eyes thinking ‘not this old chestnut again’ and to those people I apologise. To everyone else I hope you enjoyed this little bit of zen and find some meaning in it. It was sent to me by a collegue after I had applied for a VER and helped me decide to be the Mexican fisherman and chase wealth of a different kind. 

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Through the porthole

Posted in: Daily Life Aboard on Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

Blissful sleep broken by the distinctive crunching coming from the litter box. Scratch, scratch, scratch and the tinkle of a bell as the cat shoots to the other end of the boat.  Tense waiting, pee or poo? The smell, Oh Lord the smell! Can’t sleep through it.  It’s still dark as up I get with all the grace of the elderly. It’s a few freezing seconds before I reach the snugness of my dressing gown.

No light or it will wake Ben, grab the lantern, hold breath, scoop poop. Hand sanitiser, two squirts just to be safe.

I look out the windows to see that dawn is just about to break, the first light of day reflects off all the stainless I can see. Despite tiredness and the cold I consider staying up and watching the sun rise. But the promise of warmth and sleep win out. Grab the cat, hang him upside down to check butt, all clear, he can return to bed. I do too. Ben waits, arm outstretched, big spoon waiting for little spoon.

Dawn breaking across the harbour

Just about asleep. Cat out of bed, wide awake and scratching madly at cupboard doors, clawing the carpet, running laps of the boat at surprisingly high speeds.  Sigh. “Fluffy, here boy” I call in a sing song voice, like a siren luring a sailor. The cat comes, got you! Suppress him in a cuddle, which Fluff won’t have a bar of, squirms and squirms, whiskers in my face, lick lick lick. I just about pass out from his unholy cat breath. Somewhere in the back of my head a little voice says “you know he’s licked his butt with that tongue”. Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! I make a mental note to sanitise my face.

Have got the cat settled, three crew in the bed. Big, medium, small and furry all cuddled up. “BLURGH! BLURGH! BLURGH!” the alarm goes off. Dammit! Hit snooze. Twice.

Get up, back in my dressing gown. Flick on the gas detector and open the valve behind the stove. Avoid looking in the mirror above the galley sink. Fumble around for the parts of our coffee maker, assemble parts, adding coffee and water in appropriate places. Use puzzle solving skills to fish the milk out of the fridge, pour it into pot. Light the stove taking care not to set my bed-head hair on fire, stand a few seconds and glory in it’s warmth. Put the coffee and milk on the stove.

Mmmm freshly brewed coffee!

Feed the cat so he’ll shut up and stop climbing my leg. Consider going back to bed for another precious 10mins. Couch is closer, curl up there instead. Tygress’s couches aren’t really made for curling up but I persist all the same.

Can hear the coffee starting to peculate, mmm what a beautiful smell, I hope it’s wafting out the boat and making someone jealous. It’s definitely wafting to the main berth. Ben smells it, and rises slowly like a zombie rising to the call of brains. We drink coffee together and chat as much as any two half asleep people can in monosyllables and complex mumbles and grunts.

Ben gets ready and has to leave for work, group hug and a long goodbye. It takes a while to adjust to the solitude. The cat promptly curls up and sleeps peacefully, the adorable little s**t. “Now you sleep!” I feel like yelling but he’s a cat so he won’t understand. I spend a few minutes thinking up ways to annoy him before moving on starting my morning boat jobs.

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