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A new take on waiting for the wind!

April 19, 2010

The time has finally come, the Walrus said, to think of many things, including, I suppose sitting down and writing a new blog entry.  Whilst I do not have an excuse for not having put anything up on the site for some weeks, I do have an explanation, as you will see if you read this entry.

Charlie, Jess & Lily Byrne

My last post welcomed little Lily Alison into the world and saw Julia in Dublin and I was in Wrexham.  We’re now back in Barcelona; I visited Dublin and then came back with Julia via Manchester and Liverpool.  

Lily aged two days!

The day following our return (7 April), Julia’s brother Ian and his wife Barbara arrived from Andalucía to stay with us for a few days.  We took Rampage to sea for the first time this year whilst they were here and had a really good day sailing; force 3 – 4 winds, giving us 7 knots at times.  We had a really good day out and demonstrated to ourselves that we haven’t forgotten everything about sailing.

Ian, Meg, Barbara, Bron, and Julia

 Before Ian and Barbara left on 13 April, their daughter Bron and her daughter Meg (oh, do keep up) arrived on 11 April to stay for just over a week.  For the mathematically inclined, you will spot that this gave us 6 people on board – a fairly crowded boat.  We all survived without falling out too much and saw Ian and Barbara off for their flight back to Bristol on Tuesday.

 Since they (Ian and Barbara) left, Julia has been doing tour guide duties for Bron and Meg, whilst I’ve been catching up with various jobs on the boat, including servicing the engine.  Spanish prices for just about anything to do with yachting are much higher then UK prices (which are high enough in all conscience); having bought filters before we set out, I thought I’d managed to avoid paying them this year.  No such luck!  The oil filter turned out to be the wrong size, so I had to buy one from the local agency.  I almost had to take out a bank loan for it; it was almost 3 times the price of the same thing in the UK – in fact it’s cheaper to buy one on line and pay postage than to buy locally.

 The engine on the boat has to have the waste oil pumped out rather than a simple drain tap.  This led to a minor disaster in that the top of the pump came off during the operation and dumped a fair bit of waste oil all over the cabin and saloon.  I’d just about finished cleaning up when Julia returned to the boat to be greeted by and oil smeared husband and spots of sump oil on the bedding…….  The subsequent trip through a boil wash succeeded in dying the sheets and my BlueO2 tee shirt a gentle shade of light blue.  Ah well, at least that’s one job out of the way until this time next year.

 We’ve also taken delivery of a new sail.  It’s a cruising chute; a large, lightweight sail for use when there isn’t much wind.  We ordered it from Jeckells, who made it for us to our design (red, white and blue) and Steve brought it back from UK for us, as he is a Jeckell and his brother runs the company.  We tried the sail out yesterday when we took Bron and Meg out for the day.  The wind was very light and it was a great day for learning how to use it.  We didn’t think to take any pictures so that’ll have to wait until we go out and put the chute up again.

Able Seaman Meggie gets to grips with the chart plotter

Since I  started writing this last Thursday and since then, of course, the ASH CLOUD has arrived and caused chaos for many.  Typically, we didn’t actually notice anything amiss until about 48 hours after everyone else: comes of not watching TV because of visitors and being too tight to buy a newspaper.  To start with, we thought that it wouldn’t affect us as everything was bound to be back to normal this Monday when Bron and Meg were due to depart.  Not true!  In addition, Sue Macnab (an old friend – well, long-standing anyway!) is out here for what was meant to be an extended weekend with her daughter’s hen party (8 women it total) – they’re not satying on board but are in a flat near the Ramblas.  They were all due to fly back on Sunday but that didn’t happen either.

 Rampage has now become a travel agency as increasingly frantic efforts are being made to find a way home for the various waifs and strays.  J has just set of to Sants station with Sue and Helen Mee (another friend) to beard the car hire companies in their dens, whilst Bron is off doing laundry and I’m about to pop out to the chandlers for more rope and some engine bits that I’ve got on order.

I’ve no pictures to post at the moment but will have some later but I thought that I’d get this up on the site so that you got some idea of the fun that we’re having at the moment.  Once things have resolved themselves a little (ie a cunning plan emerges) I’ll put some pictures up on the site along with an update on what’s happening.  As they say, watch this site.

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