Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Speed sailing!

Ok for anyone reading my Blog who's not quite sure what this mad pastime sailing is all about, here at 20 knots plus in a big swell is Pirates of the Caribbean - one of my all time favourite sailing videos!

Hmmm, now I wonder if we could match that on Friday evening's English Channel crossing?

Putting my sea-legs on again!!

This Friday I join the other ‘Long John Silver Sailing Club’ guys at Hamble Point Marina – we’re off for 10 days sailing across to the Channel Islands and France!

The plan is to leave the Hamble at around 6pm, aiming to pass the Needles just off the western end of the Isle of Wight at approximately 9pm just before the light fades; and then it’s a straight passage across the busy English Channel to Alderney where we hope to arrive around 8am – 80 miles or so at roughly 5 knots per hour will take us a total of about 16 hours so with fingers crossed for the weather and sea state, I guess we’ll be still all be a little tired when we tie up in the picturesque harbour at Alderney.

The English Channel at night is always a challenge as its one of the busiest shipping areas in the world so everyone will be ‘alert’ and watching the eerie dark shapes of big ships moving this way and that in the darkness! We usually arrange shifts – 2 hours on and 4 hours off depending upon how many crew we have. One guy always on the helm of course and at least one on permanent look-out which is such a critical and important job to do while everyone else tries to sleep below until woken and then immediately get up on deck, blinking and rubbing eyes, ready for their shift.

Although busy, mid-Channel is also a very lonely place especially at night, regardless of the weather and there’s a lone single buoy mid-Channel which looks surreal when you pass it by – it marks the midway point of the 5 mile wide separation zone of the two 5-mile wide shipping channels (westbound and eastbound) so it’s a fairly important feature in an otherwise featureless seascape, completely out of sight of land!

The boat we have this time is called Jane’s Buoy, a 10-berth Sun Odyssey 43 built in 2005 – if anyone is interested, you’ll find it here. At this moment there are only 6 of us on board so I’m sure we’ll be able to spread out a little! I usually get allocated a cabin to myself anyway because I’m told I snore – what, who me??

The overall plan is to cross the Channel and visit the Channel Islands of Alderney, Guernsey and Jersey before heading further south to the lovely port of St. Malo on the Northern French coast. Then afterwards heading north again passing the Channel Islands again to port and then around to Cherbourg where we’ll rest up before the return crossing to Cowes, Isle of Wight probably on Friday 27th July; then finally back up to the Hamble to return the boat on Sunday 29th July, hopefully undamaged!!

Of course, the weather, wind, sea-state, crew state etc all play a part when sailing so if everything goes ‘pear-shaped’ its possible we could just stay put on the mooring at the Hamble for 10 days!!!!!! Anything more than a Force 5 or 6 on Friday will certainly make us rethink the plans!!

Watch this space………………….!

Hello Bandicoots!

Now here is a nice photo which I’d like to share with everyone – it’s of (l to r) Ian, Barbara, Jon, Chris, Craig, Chris, Robert and Lin - otherwise known as the Bandicoots!! – enjoying a quiet evening out together and a ‘curry’ at the Rupee Room in Collaroy.

We’re very pleased to be ‘honorary members’ of the team when we’re in Australia – every Wednesday evening at the Pittwater RSL when it’s ‘Quiz Night’!!

Good friends, good times! We look forward to joining you again hopefully in November!

‘Go Bandicoots!!!!’

Clare – update

As everyone probably knows, Shirley has been staying with Clare in Yorkshire to help her through the first couple of weeks since her operation; I travelled up to Keighley on Friday and brought Shirley back home here on Sunday evening.

Clare seemed fine, still more than a little sore and heavily bruised of course but she said she felt better and stronger as each day passed; obviously having ‘Mum’ around like a cross somewhere between a house-chore ‘White-tornado’ and Florence Nightingale helped!

Clare had her follow-up appointment at the hospital this morning (Tuesday) – its two weeks tomorrow since the surgery. The news seems good although there’s a slight problem. The good news is that the operation to remove the lump in her breast was successful and there’s apparently no cancer in the lymph nodes – the not-so-good news is that the surgeon feels that he would like to remove a little more of the tissue around the margins of the area where the cancer was which means that Clare will have to go through another (slightly less traumatic) operation on 8th August to do this. I think this is really just a precautionary measure to make sure that they have got all the cancer and it hopefully won’t return.

The surgeon has assured Clare that the surgery will be less severe and it is possible that she will only be in for 24 hours. Following this they will decide what treatment, if any, she will require.

So with just a little proviso, we’re feeling somewhat relieved!

We would like to thank everyone again for their support and continuing concern which we very much appreciate.

Saturday, 7 July 2007

Clare - update Saturday

Good to report that Clare was discharged from hospital yesterday afternoon - into the care of her Mummy! She's tired of course but otherwise in good spirits.

I talked to them both earlier and all seems fine - Clare gets the results on July 17th so 'fingers crossed'. She'll probably learn then what treatment she needs.

She's still sore but less so as each day goes by so hopefully she's on the mend.

Thanks to everyone for their concern and good wishes which we really do appreciate.

Friday, 6 July 2007

Clare - update - Friday

Just sent a 'good morning' and wakey-wakey' text to Clare - she says she slept like a log after taking some strong pain killers last night. She says she's ok but still quite sore and she's hoping that she'll have her 'drains' removed later today.

Oh and the photo? Well it was taken at Studland in Dorset in July 1977 - wow that's 30 years ago!!

Pictured from left to right are Andrew, Clare, Richard Lally and Simon Lally (standing) - today between them they now have a total of 7 offspring of their own, amazingly 6 boys and only one girl, our Jessica!!

And coincidentally, Richard and Simon's parents, Chris and Diana were with us only last weekend - so there's another long-standing friendship which we cherish so much; I think good friends are a precious gift - don't you?

..........where DO the years go to??

Thursday, 5 July 2007

The most important day

This is the most important day in your life. Because this is the day that you are now living.

If your life is headed in an undesirable direction, this is the day you can change it. If there are dreams you are longing to fulfill, this is the day you can follow them.

This day, right now, is the day when you can put to use all the knowledge, experience and wisdom you've accumulated. On this very day, you can do the things you've been meaning to do and connect with the people you've been meaning to see.

On this day, you have a world full of choices. On this day, there are more possibilities than ever before.

Of all the days you've ever lived, and of all the days to come, this is the one special day that now matters the most. For it is on this very day that you can now think and speak and act and love and live.

Give yourself a quiet, peaceful moment, and grasp the immense value that is now yours on this very day. Then step forward and fill it with beautiful life.

-- Ralph Marston

Clare - Bulletin

Clare had surgery yesterday to remove sentinel lymph nodes in her breast - she apparently went to theatre around 12.30, earlier than scheduled and I'm told she came round about 2pm.

John visited her and said she was ok but still obviously groggy from the anaesthetic but sitting propped up and quite chatty.

She's since had a reasonably good night and she tells me in a text that she's sitting by the bed more than just a little sore which I guess is to be expected; but she seems in good spirits and ok.

Shirley is going to see her later today so I expect I'll get more news and detail afterwards.

Monday, 2 July 2007

Concert for Diana

….an old Rocker gets excited again! What a great concert!

And would you believe it I even enjoyed some of the Rap too!

Elton John, Nelly Furtado, James Morrison, Lily Allen, The Feeling, Fergie, Duran Duran , The English National Ballet, Status Quo (oh yes!), Joss Stone, Orson, Roger Hodgson of Supertramp (oh yes, again!), Tom Jones, Will Young, Natasha Bedingfield, Pharrell Williams, Bryan Ferry (YES!), an Andrew Lloyd Webber performance, featuring Donny Osmond and Andrea Bocelli, Rod Stewart, Kanye West, P. Diddy, ‘Take That’ and then Elton John again.

Oh yes and then of course even Freddie Mercury got in on the act as a video of Diana’s early years played – and Freddie sang, ‘Those were the days of our lives…………..’ – a very poignant and emotional finale.

A wonderful and very entertaining 6 hours!! And the new Wembley - WOW!

More here