Monday, 19 May 2014

SPLASH!!! - An awkward and potentially dangerous end to a wonderful weekend

Bruce and Molly enjoying the warm autumn sun at the bow of the boat.
We've just arrived back home after 3 terrific days on the boat with our very close friend Leona and her new partner Bruce who came up from Canberra on Friday night.  So much to tell, which I'll get to in a minute, but first I have to share our rather unfortunate entry into the yacht club about midday today. 

Our boat is on a mooring which means we have to first lug the dingy ( heavy!), the outboard (also heavy), and all the food, provisions and clothes for the weekend down two fights of rough stone steps to the water.  Its a bit of a bother but it does keep the 2 of us reasonably fit doing it as often as we do.

Which means it is so much easier to launch the dingy - still at the stone steps - and have George take the boat around to the RPAYC yacht club to load up.  Its also much easier when we have guests to get them on at the club - that way they don't have to go through all the chores before enjoying the boat.  And that's what happened this weekend.  We dropped Leona and Bruce back at the club on Sunday afternoon so they could drive back to Canberra and then spent the night on the water before starting home this morning. 

It was easy pulling along side on Sunday - there were plenty of spaces out the front.  Not so today.

Today it was full.  Always the ultra careful one I suggested we either anchor off or pull up a spare mooring and then George could take me over to the club dock and off load there so I could pick up the car.  Well of course that suggestion was silly! 

So, in a huff of "just give me the boat" (I was driving), George proceeded to back down an arm headed for a space right in front of the club and perfectly abeam of a slight - but still significant - breeze blowing on the side of the boat. 

The breeze made getting alongside very difficult.   Every time we got close I unhitched the side gate and got ready to jump on the dock and every time we were blown off.  Then someone came to help and we got a stern line on ... but the bow was getting blown off about 90 degrees and on the way to the stern of boats on the next marina arm.  "Get me a rope", I was told by the captain.  I did.  He went to throw it to the helper on the dock.  And then he leaned on the side gate I left half open.  It released under his weight and right there in front of the whole yacht club he went - quite spectacularly - into the water still holding the rope.

At first it was funny.  George even came up smiling, swam the rope over to the dock and we pulled her along side - all good.  But then I realised he could have dived head first into the side of the dock if we had been about 10 feet closer, hurt badly or killed, and I got mad - at myself for not locking the gate all the way and at him for wanting to put us there in the first place!   Anger, in any situation, isn't a helpful emotion.  Luckily people passing started to call out and laugh ... and the atmosphere calmed.

George isn't looking forward to the spectre of almighty ribbing he's going to get from our friends at the club - not to mention from people we barely know!  But he's safe, we've both learned a valuable lesson about locking the side gates - first! - no matter what, and we had a great weekend!

The time on the boat was, as usual, delightful.  It was lovely meeting Bruce who absolutely loves sailing.  Unfortunately we didn't have much wind to sail but we still managed to have fun, drink some nice wine, eat lots, and have some good gab-fests.  Saturday night we moored near boat mates on 'Bogart' and 'Celay' and enjoyed drinks before dinner and morning tea the next morning.  Fabulous.

Then, Sunday night after dropping our guests off, George and I went for a quiet evening in Towlers Bay.   I wrote about this bay once before in my post -  Mystery in Towlers Bay  (click on link to read again) - and the lone man that mysteriously arrives after dark.   Last night was the first time we've been back to the bay in over a year and we were wondering if we'd see him again.  But as the twilight turned to darkness and we were busy aboard we forgot about him.  Then around 9:30pm as George got in the dingy to take Molly ashore for her final toilet break of the day we saw the tin dingy on the shore.  And there, deep in the trees, we could see a dim light and the faint glow of a cigarette.  Who is this person?  What is his story?  Later we heard the dingy leave and we jumped up to peer at him through the gloom.  He came down through the woods carefully with just a small light, got in his little boat, turned off his light and proceeded slowly up the bay - no nav lights, no lights whatsoever - slow and deliberate.  Geez, too spooky.

We're home now, safe and happy.  Hope whatever that man's story is he's OK.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Sitting on a Nail

A few weeks ago a Facebook friend of mine, Lauren McDonald, shared this parable ....

A man walked past a dog that was sitting on a porch. 
 The dog was moaning and groaning and making a lot of noise so the man walked over to the dog.
Just then the dogs owner appeared. The man asked the dogs owner...

"Why is your dog moaning and groaning?"
The owner replied,
"because he's sitting on a nail".
 The man laughed and said,
"why doesn't he just get off the nail?"
The owner replied,
"because it doesn't hurt bad enough to get up, it only hurts enough to moan and groan about it"
She finished it by saying, "Get what I'm saying? This is the reality most people live when it comes to not liking their situation and WANTING to change. They just bitch and moan about it without actually doing something about it.  Don't be that person. Either get rid of the nail or MOVE!"

It hit home with me.  I loved the message and it came, like so many things, right at the best time to touch my 'get moving' button.  So I thought I'd share the parable around .. now you (yes YOU!), like me, can stop procrastinating.

And Speaking of Dogs....

Don't you wish sometimes you knew what goes on inside dogs heads!  This for instance ...

We have a very large and ancient camellia bush which is as big as a tree in our backyard.  It's a joy most of the time except right now - this time of year.  Every year beginning mid to late April it flowers presenting us with a backdoor vista of lovely pink and variegated blooms. 

BUT it drops all those petals on our paved paths and back porch steps making a slick, sticky and, if left to sit on the pavers, black mess staining the bricks.  The flowers fall thick and fast some days thanks to the birds - including loudly squawking parrots - voraciously ripping the blooms to get to the - apparently - delicious nectar.

So we have to sweep up the pink carpet - everyday - to try and keep from sliding on the residue.  Yesterday I spent a good 45 minutes sweeping up what was a considerable pile of flowers left there over the weekend while we were on the boat.  The whole time I worked on the mess the parrots were sitting in the branches mocking me - and consistently adding to my work.  Molly took exception and tried to bark them away but they paid no mind.  Safe high in the branches they mocked us both.

Then, when finished, Molly did this ....

I watched her do it and she deliberately did the whole turning in a circle doggie thing finding just the right place to sit down and mess my pile up.  What was she thinking?   Wish I knew .. it would be fascinating.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Taking it Easy

Sorry, kind of a weird photo. 
I didn't know Molly had her tongue out until I downloaded - the sun is too bright.
We've spent the past 4 days on the boat.  Lovely it was too.  This time of year is magic for the weather in Sydney.  We've had warm sunny days followed by cool crisp nights and spectacular skies of deep blue during the day and full of stars at night.  Right now we're headed back to our mooring.  George is driving and Molly is riding shotgun in the cockpit.  All is well with the world.

The bay at Coasters Retreat - or The Basin - as we slip anchor and head for home.
It's been quiet.  Not much socializing.  Over the last few weeks we've been sailing with our friends from the yacht club which is always busy, an absolute laugh and socially non-stop good time.  Over the Easter weekend we went away with our friends Ian & Sharon and Peter and Sue - plus others from the club - up to Newcastle and then on to Lake Macquarie.  We spent 10 fantastic days away .. I'm planning on blogging about it as soon as I can get some pictures downloaded from the trip.  Silly me, I left my camera at home and I've got to use other people's photos but can't figure out how to change down the size for blogging.  I've sent them to Robert, my brother in law in Ireland who knows all there is to know about computers - who should be able to help I hope.  Ian is also working on a solution.  All of us together should be able to work it out!

This weekend our friend John Carter and his friend Adrianne joined us in Broken Bay and in The Basin.  John hasn't quite got the hang of this cruising life yet though.  With others there is always an invitation to drinks or dinner or lunch.   John, however, just seems to like to anchor in the same bay with not much else. 

In my book the social side of sailing is the very best.  Everything else I could just about leave behind but good wine and good conversation is an absolute must!!

Friday John pulled up a mooring next to us at Castle Rock (there must be 1 million Castle Rocks in the world .. and this one is very nice too).  I said to George he should go over in the dingy and ask them over for a drink - not a cup of tea which is John's default drink - and then we'll carry on into lunch.  He did and they came over to a very good afternoon.  But that was it.   No more socializing for the rest of the weekend although they were anchored only a few boat lengths away each night.  Odd.  We'll drag him along to the "entertaining side of sailing" before too long I'm sure.

Back at the mooring now.  Captain George and the first mate Molly had to have a lie down after the strain of motoring for 10 minutes!  So, as soon as I finish this post I'm going to try and catch up on all the emails I've been meaning to send and haven't yet.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Power to the People (well not quite .. or yet ... but you have to keep trying don't you)

Last Wednesday morning was very cool in Sydney .. probably about 15C .. but the sun was shining brilliantly and promising another spectacular autumn day.  I got up early, got myself ready and George drove me to North Sydney where, for the 2nd time in as many months, I took part in a public demonstration against the policies of the Abbott government.

This time the demo planned to visit the office of Joe Hockey and deliver a signed petition in support of the ABC - our national broadcaster.  The same thing was happening all over Australia with over 61 electorates visited by regular voters delivering a 250,000 signature strong petition to demand funding for the ABC remain strong and untouched.

It was a small crowd in North Sydney and mostly made up of people around my age group.

I guess 8:45 in the morning on a Wednesday is a hard time for younger working people to get away although there were a few younger people there.

Even though we were a small contention of about 30 grey haired ladies and gentlemen we were greeted outside his office by 3 police and one security guard!

Bit of an over kill I thought but they were all very nice.  One young policewoman was all smiles and asked what we were doing.  Bless her.  We were such a dangerous rabble that they would only let 10 of us go up to the office and deliver the petition .. in case we went nuts and started demolishing the place I guess.

Anyway in spite of the (very small) ruckus we created on the streets of a busy North Sydney there wasn't a single mention of it in the paper - local or otherwise.  And in spite of petitions being delivered in electorates simultaneously around the country there was no coverage or mention - that I saw - on TV. 

Of course the Murdoch media wouldn't cover it.  They want very badly for the ABC to be broken up and sold off so they can either buy the rights to the programs for pay TV or ensure an independent voice in Australian news is shut down for good.

George wouldn't go with me.  His excuse is it won't do any good.  Same excuse as the 'March in March'.  But I feel strongly that something has to be done even if left to a tiny band of greys.

Nevertheless all the bad news will be delivered on Tuesday with the first "horror" budget of the even more horrific Abbott government.  Apparently the egalitarian days of Australia will be well and truly over by Wednesday morning.  Pity.