It’s Sunday 28th December and I am listening to the Archers Christmas omnibus whist sitting at the chart table. The news from home is of snow, ice, blizzards and train delays caused by network rail … I was watching it all unfold on SKY News now that we can get Apple TV through the Internet. These images underline why we are happy to have made the decision to be in the Algarve. I have been thinking that I am not keen to live above 45 degrees ever again and 30 or below would be better. Mark is still pondering!
Mark is at the gym in the Marina Hotel Spa – a month’s membership was one of his Christmas presents – Mark goes stir crazy if he cannot go to the gym – something I will never understand!! There is a perfect beach and sunshine and even an outdoor gym in the town – but he loves to go to the indoor gym…odd behaviour. We have been enjoying settling into life living aboard. There are frustrations but the joy of our new life out weigh those.
The frustrations include – a strange rotation of losing things and finding things – you lose something on a Monday – then lose something else on a Tuesday – then when looking for the Monday thing you find the Tuesday thing and then the Tuesday thing turns up on Wednesday – it’s weird and very frustrating – it drives me crazy. I am aware that the practice of putting things back in their right place is the answer but somehow that skill is one that I have never managed to achieve in a lifetime of trying! Another frustration is that everything seems to break or get damaged – a light bulb pops or a switch falls off or a dent arrives in the floor – perhaps it is because we do so much in such a small space – or perhaps it is that the boat is 7 years old and it is just time for things to break…. Which ever it is, it’s bloody frustrating. Then there are the big things –we are exasperated that the heating, which was finally fixed and working after 4 days of graft by an engineer, broke again on Boxing Day. The nights and early mornings are chilly so it’s a big pain. Then there is our main sail, which still cannot be used as we are waiting for our main sheet to arrive and then we have to splice it and rig it before we can sail again.
But the good things are many – the sun shines every day and the people and fun here are fantastic. The beach is a constant joy and reminds me of the simple pleasures of walking along perfect natural beaches in Northern Ireland collecting shells. When you recall a feeling like that is goes deep into your sole – lovely.
We are delighted that the music, TV and Internet are all working. The engine and the autopilot are now too so it feels like we are taking a big step forward.
We were planning on having Sardines on the boat with a good bottle of wine for our Christmas Lunch but we had a lovely invitation from Tony and Clare to dine with them on their yacht. Tony and Clare are extraordinary people – intelligent, warm, funny, generous and talented sailors. They are sailing their boat ‘Hai Mei Gui’ from Thailand.
Our Christmas morning began on board Magic with a delicious breakfast of scrambled egg and smoked salmon (a favorite) May enjoyed some of that too. Then we opened our gifts – Christmas jumpers from Mark’s mum and dad – two new tops for me from Mark and sunglasses for Mark from me.
Then off to the beach. Going to the beach is something that we both wanted to do on Christmas morning. It was the first time either of us has been in the sunshine for Christmas so the idea of being on the beach was exciting. It is a funny thing – but the blue sky and sunshine really wakes us up and makes us want to jump out of bed and enjoy it. I think that is born out of the rarity of sunny days at home – we have been programmed to make the most of each sunny day.
It was beautiful – the beach here at Lagos is stunning. A perfect arc of fine golden sand stretching for miles. May loved the sand and skipped with joy. It was so warm we even had to take our Christmas Jumpers off!!
Going to Tony and Clare’s boat for our Christmas Lunch we didn’t know what to expect but we had such a fantastic time – We came aboard and were greeted so warmly. We were introduced to their friends – an antiquarian bookseller who has a shop in Mayfair and his wife Fran, a neuroscientist who specialised in Alzheimers – what important work. Tony and Clare’s boat was stunning – a beautiful steel yacht all hand built and finished inside with cosy beautiful wood. A much more traditional yacht than Magic. They have sailed from Thailand and are on their way home to Burnham on Crouch in Essex.
In the cock pit we were served, our starter, Goose Barnacles – they tasted like prawns but looked like dragon’s toes – very odd… but delicious.
Then we went down into the cosy nest of a salon and enjoyed a delicious fish stew – apparently the key to deliciousness is to ensure that every trace of blood is removed from the fish prior to making the stew! We had lost of lovely food and drink and great fun with this very educated and well-travelled crew – we though it was such an honor to have been invited into their Christmas Lunch.
The days following Christmas Day – we have allowed to blur – last night was lovely – Each Saturday night some of the people who live aboard and who love music gather in the Marina Hotel Bar and play. There were singers and guitar players and James even played both his Clarinet and his Saxophone – whist his partner Jana brought along a portable Didgeridoo – a hand painted box that worked so well – it was a wonder. Mark and I joined in and it was easy, as we were once again made so welcome. Susan (one of the orange people) had lots of copies of all the words for all the songs. I even managed a solo of ‘Summer Time’ one of my favorites.
We are already planning our route for when we depart – Sara and James are coming out on the 2nd of April and we have to figure out where we will be and what would be a lovely cruising area and fun port as well as easy flights from the UK… this is good..