Monday, 20 June 2016

Precious Time


June. The summer solstice. The year, it seems to me, is turning before it’s begun. At home, there are personal reminders of the wheel of life turning full circle. Was it only a year ago that I sat with my daughter and son-in-law, watched as Bee came into the world, listened as she took her first breath? We didn’t know this little person at all then, never imagined how much love she would bring. Now she’s very much a character in her own right, someone who on Saturday at her first birthday party, trotted round the room smiling and clapping with pleasure at everything that was going on. I’ve seen my daughter and son-in-law put Bee at the centre of their world, giving her all their love and care, and I’ve watched my daughter blossom into the most loving, attentive and generous mother.

June also marks the number of years since my dad died, eleven now, but the sense of loss is no less for the passage of time. I so wish I could tell Dad about all the things he’s missed. That’s part of the reason, I’ve decided to run for Pancreatic Cancer UK again this year, in the Cardiff Half Marathon. I know that there are many deserving causes out there, but I have set up a JustGiving page because pancreatic cancer survival rates remain shockingly low and this grim disease is still taking too heavy a toll.

On a far more trivial note, I’ve been fighting a losing battle with my hair colour which has bleached thanks to the combination of a sunny holiday and sailing. I’ve decide not to fight the tide any more but go with the flow…. but I’m taken aback by how difficult it’s been! I’m not vain - there’s no turning back the clock as all those strangely Botoxed and filled faces prove - but I am struggling with a certain loss of identify. The change has happened so suddenly that I don’t recognise the person I see in the mirror at the moment. My regular makeup looks wrong, some of my clothes drain me of colour so I’m back to experimenting like a teenager. And just to cheer me up, waiting on the horizon at the end of this month is my appointment with the consultant ophthalmologist closely followed at the beginning of next month by a mammogram.

Whatever my personal trials and tribulations, everything’s been put into context by so many sad and bad stories in the news and in particular the tragic death of MP Jo Cox. I may not like my grey hair, but it's a sign of age that too many people never see. I’m lucky to have seen my children grow up to be wonderful people and I have the pure joy of being a grandmother. Time is too precious to waste it fretting about the colour of my hair!


The painting is 'Sunset - Bardsey' by Tom Tomos

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Heading for the Rocks

Blue Nun and the rocks!

Aaaah! The joy of having a boat again! Blue Nun’s so much more responsive than our wooden boat, lovely as she was, and so nippy too! We enjoy a brisk sail from Neyland to Dale where we spend a couple of restful days, reading, writing and generally watching the world go by. On the third morning we decide on a change of scenery and potter round to a sheltered bay where we can pick up a mooring buoy. Well, we would have, if I’d been quicker. Now, I’m pretty good at picking up buoys, but make a right dog’s dinner of it this time.


‘Never mind,’ says Tom, ‘we’ll give it another go!’ He puts the engine in reverse and Blue Nun obediently travels backwards (something no previous boat of ours has ever done!) … and a rope which trails the dingy behind the boat whirls round the propeller. Yikes! Tom manages to free enough to regain control of the engine, but he’s pretty sure that some of the rope is still tangled up.

Whilst I would quite like to pretend it doesn’t matter, ignoring the problem isn’t a solution - there are huge ships manoeuvring in Milford Haven and the last thing we need is for the gearbox to pack up or lose control of the boat when one of those is bearing down on us. There’s only one option; we’ll have to run the boat up the beach, dry out and free the prop that way.

A Chris-eye view of the beach as we approach
Although Tom has planned the operation very carefully, I have a very disturbed night during which I decide I would quite like to be airlifted off the boat. Low water comes and it’s time to begin. I sit on the bow scanning for rocks - and see bloody millions of them - but there is a clear stretch and Tom navigates it superbly. What a star!


Success!

He frees the prop - which does indeed have rope wrapped around it - and then we spend a couple of hours in the sunshine waiting for the tide to rise again. A glut of sand eels has washed up on the shore and the seagulls are having a field day feasting on them. They’re beautiful birds in their natural environment and it’s great to be able to watch them closely. The tide returns and we lift the kedge anchor and cruise back to our berth, no harm done. Another adventure in a small boat!


And I wonder why I'm going grey!