Insomnia. A cough like a cold engine struggling to start. Eyes aching. A pint of squash, a bottle of cough syrup, a dwindling fire and a single light on in the galley so as not to wake Rich. Hello blog.
We’re busy. The kind of busy that we have learned can turn in to “too much”, particularly as it manifested earlier this winter and all of last. It’s not good for us to fill every day, to miss at least one day of rest together every week. And yet, somehow, we seem to be making it work. Aware, perhaps, of our previous pitfalls, but also buoyed* by excitement at this being the year we might finally start out on the dream voyage, we are slogging away and making time for one another when we can. The daily jobs of washing up, making the fire and cooking dinner are allotted in terms of who gets home first from work and who has any energy left. We’re sympathetic companions whose conversations ramble in to practical problem-solving and whimsical dreaming like the best of times.
The to-do list plods steadily by, with jobs that require clear skies and big jobs we need to do together mentally filed away under “we’ll get to that in spring”. Rich, when not at work, is absorbed in the creation of our dinghies. His is almost finished and is even prettier than I imagined it would be. Mine, which will nest inside his on deck, is going to be called “Bob”.
I’ve been attending an RYA Dayskipper Course twice a week, which is fantastic. Sometimes we’ll learn some exercise of navigation or calculation that sets my mouth open, teeth bared, as my brain stumbles, catching up with the logic I need to employ. Practical, spacial, mathematical – these are not skills to which I am naturally predisposed, but fortunately I do love to learn. Rich did this course many years ago and has forgotten chunks, and I often cosy beside him under the table he’s erected in the saloon to step through my homework. There are so many new things for me to try out when we venture back out to sea – plotting and predicting our course, calculating depth and tide, memorising lights and markers and their corresponding chart symbols. Next will be a VHF radio course and a whole new set of brain-burners.
The main focus at the moment is money. I have never been a money person and my hourly pay is really low, but I have forged a new capacity for squirrelling. Money, the need of it, just enough, will steel me against the growl of my chest infection to work a long cafe day tomorrow. It will keep me saving in one job that I used to love, and plodding by in the other that I do to keep us going – food money, pocket money, laundry money. I stay sane by telling myself of the money for adventure, money for summer, money for as many months as we can take of cruising Cornwall and beyond. I hope. We’ll both be out of our overdrafts this month and looking to save, but Gwen requires a grand or two’s worth of gadgets and materials and Rich’s work comes when it comes, so nothing is certain.
There is time for leisure, in between all this, and we’re hoping to take Serenity for a spin as soon as the weather stops being wretched. Working different days to each other means I have a day a week to myself in which I’ve almost finished writing the play and have hand painted some cards to sell at the Canteen. I get to walk and dream a little, and appreciate the beauty of this place we’re fighting to leave. I don’t doubt that Rame will always feel like home, but wanderlust is a yearning that’s been suppressed long enough.
* There are a few Americans subscribed to this blog so I’d like to pose a question I’ve always wanted to ask about the word “buoy”. We pronounce it “boy”, you pronounce it “boowee”. I, rather childishly, find this particularly entertaining when watching the America’s Cup, and have been known to call out “boowee!” with the commentator (sorry). So: when you use it as a verb, do you pronounce it the same? Do you say “I was booweed by her enthusiasm”? I ask because I watch a lot (too much) of American television and I’ve never heard anyone use it like that.