"Light Blue"

Well-dressed beaver hunter

Living the Dream, part 3

Home thoughts from abroad

It is now three weeks since we completed our trip around Ireland and the euphoria of having proven to ourselves that we were up to the challenge has abated somewhat.

Presently, we are sitting in Crosshaven Boatyard Marina, County Cork, awaiting delivery of parts from the UK and Dublin, via Royal Mail and Irish Post, both of whom are very prompt in their own realms. They do not, however seem to interface, so a parcel which would take a day in the UK or Eire, takes 10-14 days! All one can do is wait patiently, but when one is eager to be sailing off to warmer, sunnier climes, instead of splashing through cold wet puddles, kicking our heels, it certainly teaches one endurance.

We were lucky enough to have kept our VW Passat in Ireland, and it has been an absolute boon for us to travel back to the UK and now in Ireland to travel around visiting friends and relatives and collecting necessary parts for the refurbishment of “Light Blue.” Soon after we arrived in Kinsale, we decided that we would move 25 miles East to Crosshaven, as there are better yacht facilities here. You might be thinking that we should have prepared the boat before we left Plymouth, but please don’t forget that the Irish round trip was to test out all parts of the boat. In doing so, we have stretched a few parts and have realised that there are some more parts that would make our trip more efficient.

We left the boat in the marina, while we travelled back to Harrow and Watford for the wedding of William, my youngest son to Jennifer. This was a highly successful affair, with three excellent speeches from the groom (William), the best man (Adam, my oldest son) and Peter, the father of the bride. There were so many genuinely emotional words and tears. The ceremony was serene and went without a hitch, (bride and groom both on time — such a surprise). The couple looked like a prince and princess. The reception location was superb, guests well behaved and a great family disco organised by Adam and Tango, a close family friend. I retired to bed early babysitting my grandson, Thiery. Probably, a good idea, really, as I would only have ended up enjoying myself by dancing the night away.

The next day we drove down to Plymouth to see Mum and buy a new water-maker high-pressure pump, of which more later. From there we went to Taunton and saw our ex-neighbours and picked up some more of our belongings, which we had stored when we moved our household to Ireland. Then a quick dash for the ferry to Ireland, back to Kildare to store the said goods and meet some long lost friends and relatives.

We have now been back on the boat for a week and have achieved remarkable feats of engineering, which I did not believe I had in me. We have been able to pick up locally and in the UK those parts, which we needed to bring the boat back up to its A1 specification. In between, we have both been delighted that so many of our friends and relatives with a multitude of children have visited us on the boat, and all appear to have enjoyed the new experience in their own diverse ways.

Sometimes it is difficult to imagine oneself in other people’s lives, but we have to accept that although many hundreds of couples do attempt and succeed at what we are doing, it is not the norm. We hope that our friends and relatives are pleased for us and thus can feel a part of our joy at undertaking this grand life adventure.

A dophin accompanies us on our way to Galicia

We both believe, wholeheartedly, that it is important to place the sailing in its rightful position as an ancillary event in our life. It should fit in with our other more natural and permanent responsibilities as son and daughter, parent, grandparent, brother and sister, aunt and uncle, and friend. This is our selfish adventure, but it will not last forever and sooner than we perhaps currently want, we will need to bond into the lives of the land people and accept once again the joyful responsibilities and less than joyful ones, which accompany life on land. We have talked at length about what will happen when we decide to quit long-term sailing and are very sensible about it. We know that we will always have an affinity with the sea… it was one of those areas of commonality, which we discovered in each other soon after we met. It was why Siobhán embraced unequivocally my life ambition and it was the reason why we were married close to the sea.

Anyway, back to the reality of long-term sailing and the romance of the water-maker saga. The water-maker problem has I believe been successfully solved by my replacement of the high-pressure pump, which now operates superbly and is as steady as a rock. The smooth operation of the pump allowed me to test the water-maker, and while I was monitoring the pump and engine, Siobhán’s eagle eyes focused on the general area of the plumbing leak, which had soaked our bunk and clothes in the lockers underneath. Within seconds, thankfully, she had identified that one of the compression bolts attached to the membrane tubes was cracked and busily spouting a high-powered mist over its electronic Raytheon neighbour (ten contra points for whoever placed it there in the first place).

I immediately shut off the water-maker and planned my next move. The electronics had to be moved and dried and then the old compression fittings had to be removed and replaced. I went to bed to sleep on it as I worried that if I couldn’t do it, there was nobody in Ireland, who had the knowledge of this water-maker or the parts to do the job. However, the new day dawned with clearer and more positive vibes and the good news is that I have successfully replaced the compression fittings, so that the water-maker will not give us any more trouble — until the next time! I promise never to mention it again.

I derived great satisfaction from my investigation of this multi-faceted problem, and with quiet resolution, diagnosed the cure and then actually carried out the maintenance. I was certain that I was not going to spend any more on labour charges and realised I had to cope myself, even though I am not a plumber, electrician or water-maker engineer as Siobhán believes me to be. I should say that I could not have achieved this positive mental attitude without the constant support of Siobhán, plus the added impetus of Siobhán saying “Do you want me to have a go at doing it?” We have found since we met that we can put our hands to anything, within reason.

Lawry and Siobhán Nunn, 31 August 2006

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