Different ways to die

Monday, July 21st, 2003

We're back home from the boat alive and well, which isn't as facile a thing to say as it sounds – only hours after we left, a woman died a little downstream of where we had been when the cruiser she was on capsized. Here's some links:

Under those circumstances, the handful of problems we had seem rather irrelevant.

Our purpose in arranging a proper training course was to get over our fear in Fair Breeze – we were convinced that every time we went on board, something would go wrong. In fairness, we had a lot of evidence to back this belief up.

Thanks to a very good tutor, and a bit of testicular fortitude from ourselves when previously we might have gone 'wibble', the plan worked. Although Saturday's accident has made us think a bit, it's such an unlikely thing to happen that I can't see any direct connection with anything that we might do. Sailing cruisers handle differently from motor cruisers and that's as true when things go wrong as when they are going right. Apart from anything else, most parts of the Broads are only 5ft deep, which makes it difficult to capsize a boat with 33ft of mast sticking out the top.

So, a spectacularly successful three days for us, marred by sorrow over what happened after we left. And by the colony of ants that have taken advantage of our long absence to build a nest in some inpenetrable nook or cranny of the hull.

Also, managed to grab a couple of shots of us off the boatyard's webcam, which I'll post when I get the chance. (Thanks hon…)

Back home on Saturday, we had friends round for the evening and I cooked the main course – three different Chinese dishes to go with a great steaming pot of baked, buttered rice prepared by , who also made vegetable tempura, hot and sour soup, apricot fritters and hand-crafted vanilla ice cream (I list all this not to embarrass her, or to give an unnecessarily detailed view into our life, but simply to ensure it doesn't look as if I'm trying to claim credit for the entire meal).

One of the dishes I cooked included beef – prime Norfolk steak in black bean sauce. It was the first time I've cooked with meat for about 13 years. I've been vegetarian longer than that, but I've worked in restaurants and canteens since I went veggy and prepared meat dishes in them. Not for years, though. I think I'm getting squeamish in my old age – it was a lovely bit of beef, as lean and tender as it comes, but I found handling it thoroughly icky. Still, it went down well with the guests and didn't poison them, which is all that counts.

Sunday was the British Grand Prix on TV – bloody manic that was, with that idiot almost getting himself run down by half the field – and a quick run over to the allotment, which was thriving (despite my earlier dire predictions).
 

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I'm Andy Darley. Sometimes I want to say things. This is where I do it.