Familiarity and friends

One week in. Two weeks to go. Some work, some family, some friends. My trip back to England so far has been crammed.  South Wales, Staffordshire, Northumberland and Derbyshire visited. Hampshire, Worcestershire, Southern Ireland to come this week. Then a quick reprise of South Wales and Staffordshire before it’s time to head west again across the Atlantic in a metal flying machine.

Dave meanwhile is hanging out in Bermuda until my return. His swimming is improving and he tells me it’s hot. Sounds tough. I look forward to my return and joining in the fun.

Dad and I spent a morning revisiting old haunts, House number one and House number two from my childhood. House number one had no bath. So my parents went across the road to the pub for a soak. I was only 3 months old so a sink was suitable for me and my older sister. House number two had both a bath and a large garden. Luxury.

Somewhat different times to today.




Books and Films

Finding Colin Firth sitting on your sofa early in the morning can easily be categorised in the “more unusual occurrences” column in my life. Cromford, our village, was staring in a film. Or maybe it was Colin Firth and Jim Broadbent, both now Oscar winners, who were the stars. Either way, Cromford was abuzz with cameras and lights, people with clipboards, catering wagons, extras hanging about seemingly for hours and curious locals.

No. 1 Mount Pleasant was an actually location for the shoot, No. 2, our place, was the Green Room, a place for actors to hang out waiting to be called for their next scene. From my admittedly limited experience of film making, waiting and organising the catering loom large in the production of films. Lots of waiting was done on our sofa. And the waiting always stops for the catering.

The film, ‘And when did you last see your father?’ is based on a book of the same name by Blake Morrison. It’s the story of the relationship between a grown up son, played by Colin Firth and his dying larger than life father, Jim Broadbent.

If you’ve never heard of it, (it wasn’t a blockbuster release), I’m not too surprised. In fact when we went to watch it at the local cinema, the lights went up at the end to reveal about 15 people, almost all exclusively Cromford residents who’d come to location spot. We all laughed. It’s an okay film, I’d give it 5/10, a little slow but that reflects the content and the mood the director is trying to create.

Why this little reminiscence from a few years ago? Being on passage at sea again means reading books is seriously back on the agenda. I’ve just read ‘And when did you last see your father?’. No surprises….the book is better than the film. But I understand a little of what was trying to be conveyed to the watching audience now. There’s lots of internal dialogue in the book which is tricky to portray well on film.

Here we are mid trip. Over 300 miles across the Atlantic towards Bermuda. A swift motor out over the Gulf Stream then 24 hours of glorious fast beam reach sailing. The wind has now died and the engine is earning its keep. The sea is flat, the dolphins playful. Arrival sometime on late Monday looks likely.

My other amusing recollection of being involved in film shenanigans was Dave trying to find keys for the front door of the house. I was still renting the flat at this point so we were staying there. The production crew wanted to leave their cameras and lights in the house overnight, rather than have to cart them up and down the path each day. “No problem” Dave said.

Finding out that the kit was worth substantially more than the whole of the small terraced cottage prompted a slight panic. Locating and USING some house keys might be good idea.

Stop press…. We’ve arrived safely into Bermuda. We had to leave the US as our 6 month stay was up. Don’t want to upset Mr Trump.

I wrote the above on passage. We motored into the anchorage at pretty much midnight, Monday night into Tuesday morning. 660 miles thereabouts. Thanks for being a red dot watcher.

Bermuda is not like North Carolina.
Here’s some photos to prove it.

Downside is I’ll be here for the briefest of time. I fly back to the UK tomorrow for some, whisper it quietly, work. Two Nando’s programmes and a two day gig in Ireland. I’m fortunate that my work is fun and rewarding so I am looking forward to it. Honestly. 🙂


Test sail


A few facts.

We depart in a few hours towards Bermuda. 15 miles today down to an anchorage. We’ll spend a quiet night away from the boatyard. Then set off properly tomorrow.

Nancy and Kenny Bock who own the boatyard have a property on the Intra Coastal Waterway and spied us creeping past from their dining room table, hence the photo. We had a few hours out testing the engine and the rig in preparation for departing.

All the crew that work in the boatyard have been generous, friendly and professional going above and beyond to help us. Sheets of ice the size of tennis courts floating down the river are but a distant memory. The trees are lush, the temperatures have risen and there’s so much more boat traffic on the river. Summer is coming.

650 miles or so …. 5 days ish we imagine. It’s feels so good to be on the move again.


The red dot is back!

77DE464E-2075-4419-A2BC-AED5CC5E811BI know you’ve missed it.

Tracking has resumed. You can stalk us again as we make our next passage.

Have a look on the tracking page and you watch transfixed as technology whirrs and beeps remotely.  I made those noises up.

Destination Bermuda.


Bugs are out

A local guy said to us….”we have every critter known to man”. That’s bragging.

Well, the no see’ums are out today. The North Carolina version of the Northumbrian midgy. Or Scottish midge. Blasted little blighters. Something so small creating such irritation. Attacking human skin with unseen knives and forks, munching randomly, swear words  and slapping sounds filling the air as we wait for a breath of wind to disperse the irritants.

Overnight rain, hot, steamy still conditions, perfect for a family midgy day out.

My other encounter with an animal this week was a dead one. I was in the boaters lounge at lunchtime and a plate of meat and potatoes came my way. It was wild Alaskan moose. Is there any other kind? The shooter gleeful showed me a picture of her next to the downed beast, all antlers and smiles. Well she was smiling. It was butchered in situ, loaded onto inflable kayaks and paddled out to the float plane. Quite a few air miles for this dinner. Tasty. Well it was meat and potatoes. What’s not to like.

We sail this week. A few more unexpected jobs reared their heads. A pinprick hole in a stainless steel water tank plus an engine valve problem, A pinprick hole necessitated grinding fibre glass away to get the tank out, welding, epoxying, fibreglassing back into place, painting, connecting pipes and a very dusty cabin.

The engine has had some TLC,  Dave and Brookes, the mechanic sharing the load.

Seriously watching the weather now. Our time has come.