2019 - The year of resolving Kevin's spinal issues.
Last year (2018) Kevin had both his knees replaced, but during that period he also developed spinal issues. This year remains a little uncertain with regard to Kevin's required work on his spine, a MRI Scan revealing that he has 3 prolapsed discs, one in his neck and two in his lower back - surgery said to be required but the soonest we could see a surgeon is mid-February 2019! The Surgeon is adamant that the disc's are not severe enough to create the levels of discomfort Kevin is experiencing. Once he discovers that Kevin has been "Insulin Dependant" for 29 years, to us, with the resulting conversation, it is clear where the blame is going, the result - no surgery! It is now clearly up to us to manage the situation we find ourselves in, lets see how we manage dear Sailaway?
Please read on:-
To view our previous log entries please use the following link:
2018 - The year of Kevin's dual knee replacements.
Log Entry Saturday 11th May - We leave our dear friends and head for Grenoble, France - Arrested in Aldi!
With our farewells complete we pack up our trusty VW and leave for Grenoble, we have heard so much about the area and as it sits half way between our present position and Toulon where we take the ferry to Sardinia it is a perfect stop over. With just over 250 miles to cover we decide to stop at a local "Aldi" to stock up on both drink and food for the journey.
We stopped and headed into the store taking only minutes to choose our items and make for the checkout - that's where our day turned bad? I paid with a €20 note, took my change from the young guy and we made for the exit. As we made the door we heard a shout and turned, it was the young guy that had just served us shouting up the store, we turned and continued to the car. It was then the young guy ran up to us and explained that the €20 noted we had passed was "fake" and we had to return to the store as the police had been called - we did as requested!
Once back inside the situation was explained and I had the Supervisor check the rest of the notes I had in my pocket, they all proved to be good fortunately! We immediately called our nearby friend for assistance, we retired to the staff room as we were told a nearby accident had the full attention of the police they would be some time? Some time they were, 3 hours later two armed officers arrive to process our details. As we could not identify where we had obtained the false note, our details were take along with our dear friends, we were to be allowed to leave and the investigation would continue in our absence? We were now 4 hours behind schedule, but happy to be free, I must say the store staff were extremely pleasant it was the most entertaining in a way?
We stop in one of the service areas, we are fascinated by the views of the Alps - still some snow on the tops, just visible below the cloud?
Log Entry Friday 10th May - After almost 2 days of "catching up!" time to enjoy a small part of the Black Forest.
We take the car and disappear into the hillside just above the village, it takes less than 10 minutes to climb high into the hillside! We pull over, park up and then continue on foot, you could be miles from anywhere, they truly live in a beautiful area, all on their door step".
I could have listed hundreds of photographs but none really show the true beauty, without my larger camera it is impossible to make out the snow on the surrounding mountain tops as they disappear into the angry clouds? We were fortunate as the rain stayed off for the afternoon.
Log Entry Tuesday 7th May - On the ferry to Dunkirk, France.
We had 3 nights in Northampton with our eldest daughter, Lisa. On the Sunday we drove down Abbots Langley (Watford) to meet up with Ann's Mum's neighbours, Ron, Hazel and Ernie. It's just gone 5 years since her departure, but we have continued to stay in touch, sending them post cards from the places we visit - they have them all collected and keep them safe. We then "popped" into central London, (Neasdon) to visit Daisy, a niece with a new baby "Dexter". Daisy's brother (Charlie) and his family also join us, a couple of hours of catch up time - we had not seen Charlie for over 25 years at least?
We arrive in good time at Dover, after all we were last here less than 4 months ago, we join the cue for boarding.
We are soon under way and in the busy shipping lanes, our destination Dunkirk this time, 46 miles closer than Calais to the home of our German friends. They live in the "Black Forest" on the German side of city of Basel. We notice out of our window, a small, dinghy size vessel gaining some considerable interest from fellow passengers. You may just be able to make the "dark spot" out in the centre above? Even more interesting the helicopter approaching it from the French coast - your imagination runs wild "immigrants perhaps" trying to cross the Channel to the UK? Unfortunately our vessels speed obscures our view of any further "happenings?"
We are soon after entering the port of Dunkirk, once ashore just over 500 miles to our friends house, we will not make that journey today, we spend our first night in Europe in a small studio apartment just south of Brussels - we will join our friends on Wednesday?
Log Entry Saturday 9th March - Sailaway is lifted out in our absence for the first time, a very worrying time for us!
Sailaway has sat still in the water for almost 18 months, it's 3 years & just over 2000 sea miles since her last lift out, anti-foul etc... -she is certainly read for a clean up!
She is lifted out by Marinatour Yard, the yard associated with the marina, this is the first time she is lifted out without our presence - very nerve racking for us, we await any news from our dear friend "Andrea".
We receive the news and photographs of the yards progress, they find 3 small holes in the hull above the waterline, they are cut back to good metal, welded up and treated accordingly, an excellent job from the photos and very fast!
The failed coating areas are identified and repaired
What difference, "before & after!" a great job, she is now ready for our arrival mid-May!
Log Entry Wednesday 6th February - We arrive back into Dover (UK)
We drive the 750 miles across France to Calais without issues, we stopped twice to break the drive into comfortable distances, last night only 80 miles south of Calais, once at Dover we have a further 90 miles to cover to Northampton where we will spend a couple of nights with our daughter, Lisa.
The crossing from Calais to Dover is a very short crossing, only around 20 miles of sea to cross. The strong winds and large waves breaking over the bow of the ferry keep us occupied as we make our way through the busy shipping lanes of the Channel.
Log Entry Monday 4th February - We leave Porto Torres (Sardinia) for Toulon (France).
Monday soon comes around, our ferry is not until 1600 hours, so we extend our checkout and have a wander around town to fill in our day.
The day soon passes, before we know it we are on board and leaving the port, we arrive in Toulon (France) around 0700 in the morning. We have booked a cabin as we have 750 miles to drive across to France to Calais, easier to "attack" with a reasonable nights sleep behind us. We are soon clear of the port and joining the busy traffic using the narrow channel between Corsica (France) and Sardinia (Italy).
We head directly for the upper lounge, quite comfortable with a good view and live music later on in the evening, we lay claim to our table early.
Log Entry Sunday 3rd February - A couple of nights in Porto Torres.
- We have today to kill, we know the town itself reasonably well, but this is the first time we have used this hotel, "Hotel Bali". The hotel overlooks a large bay and beach, very quiet at this time of year obviously as one would expect. There is no restaurant open due to this fact, our board is bed & breakfast only, not a problem as the town is only 5-10 minutes walk. Today, one of the tasks is to find somewhere to eat this evening.
Our first "port of call" is a small waterfront restaurant we literally stumble across, Ann starts as she means to go on - my drink is the coffee! Unfortunately, upon enquiring it closes on a Sunday afternoon and does not open at the evening - still a lovely lunch.
We walk into the town centre in the evening and discover a rather large restaurant, we almost have the place to ourselves. We settle in, I find the pictures portrayed rather interesting especially as we have visited most of them. Their turnover in delivery pizzas is amazing they have three drivers, all three kept busy during our time inside? Good food, good wine, a good evening all round.
Log Entry Saturday 2nd February - On our way north to Porto Torres for the ferry to Toulon (France).
We have another few days of rotten weather due over the weekend, we have decided to get the drive over today across the island as the roads are not too good ahead of us. We are due very heavy rain across Sardinia in the morning, by then we will be settle in Porto Torres ready for our depart for France late Monday afternoon.
Needless to say the drive passes without any issues, we arrive in Porto Torres at our hotel just before nightfall - perfect.
Log Entry Friday 1st February - It's time to return to the UK, medical appointments coming up!
Amazingly we have been back for some 9 weeks now, it is amazing as to where the time goes, or rather disappears too? We and Baz (our little helper!) has put much effort into the deck, removing the "tired" look, she is in our opinion looking rather smart - if we do say ourselves! Our deck refurbishment has gone remarkably well, there remains only a small section remaining to be completed, we are leaving this "as is?" to allow us to disembark and board without damage to the new deck.
With all of the stainless structure and stanchions remounted and the guard wires re-fixed she is still not ready to go sailing, she desperately needs lifting out, cleaning and anti-fouling. Then, with the usual engine and fuel system servicing she will then be ready to go to sea! We plan to have her lifted out in our absence, this being the first time ever, then, when we return complete the outstanding work and go sailing!
Unfortunately it is now time to leave for the UK, we have a ferry booked on Monday 4th February, from the north of Sardinia to take us to France.
Log Entry Sunday 27th January - Last night we were hit with the worst gale yet!
Last night we were hit by very strong winds, gusts of over 50 knots were forecast, and we could easily believe it as the wind blew on the side of Sailaway pushing her over at an angle most of the night. It was interesting both of us rolling across our bed! The wind began to drop off around dawn as forecast, we were up early and I climbed up on deck to check for any damage - there was no damage at all, not even a stressed rope. We had to go into town to pick some things up from the store, before we thought we would check out the boats in the marina, we were horrified as to how many vessels were damaged?.
The sailboat next to us in our normal berth in the marina was lying across our berth, it had broke free during the night, the winds had torn out the cleats. The cleats are fasteners to which mooring ropes are secured. The boat had been re-secured by different means but the broken cleat still lay in the water! If we had been in our normal place then, when it broke free our neighbour would have hit us, probably numerous time before we could have secured it?
Talking to the Marino (Andrea), the pontoon to the west with only a couple of small boats secured had broken free completely, separating from the main pontoon moving of to the south about 5 meters from it's original position.
One of the larger power boats had broken it's anchoring chain and eye! The eye had been propelled through the rear fibre glass panel - some one could have been seriously hurt or even killed? Andrea showed me a photograph on his phone of the stainless steel eye sitting on the settee in the lounge area inside the boat?
As we walk around the vessels it was easy to see the numerous vessels damaged from the very strong wind winds and the even stronger gusts - we actually lost count as to how many?
As we walk back to Sailaway we reflect on her alone on the pontoon, safe and secure, who knows what damage she may have sustained if we had been in our normal berth in the marina?
Log Entry Saturday 26th January - A break in the weather allows the work to continue.
A break in the weather allows us to continue with the deck rebuild, we reposition the stainless pulpit, or what is the large front stainless framework. Due to it's shape and the fact that it hangs over the bow of Sailaway and of coarse, now there is only Ann and I we use ropes to secure the frame in position. This allows us suspend it's weight while we bolt the frame down to the deck. We can now re-attach the guard wires that run the length of the deck.
Log Entry Thursday 24th January 2019 - We are continually hit with storms, today hailstones!
Log Entry Sunday 20th January 2019 - We are moved to a deserted section of the marina to allow work to continue.
Baz left us yesterday, we dropped him back at the airport yesterday, his help had been invaluable over the week - shame it had passed so soon? Upon our return to the marina we are asked if we would like to be moved over to the other marina across the harbour. We are told that "over there there is no-one to see what we are doing?" We guess that there must have been some complaints or concerns over the work we were doing? We are not concerned, in fact quite pleased as we can now move on to work we certainly could not have completed in close proximity to other vessels.
We move over and settle down into our new, rather lonely pontoon, another positive is that we are now right in the centre of town.
We bash on with the external work, stripping off most of our stainless frame work, repairing the deck and cosmetic damage caused by weather - "all hands on deck!"
I must confess Sailaway is becoming to look like the smart, sea going vessel we know her to be, she has certainly lost her "tired" appearance!
Log Entry Sunday 13th January 2019 - Still a little windy to work at first but we manage a little later in the day?
We have a run up to the very north of the island up to the old Tonary, where the caught tuna were processed in days gone by? The strong waves are still breaking hard off the reefs and shallows, hard to imagine how significant they were to stop the ferry functioning?
After a trip around the island we return to Carloforte along side the disused salt works where the flamingos feed, Baz has now seen the entire island in a morning!
Then, back to Sailaway, the work begins and continues till dusk, all hands on deck literally!
Log Entry Wednesday 9th January 2019 - Our day in Cagliari.
We picked up Baz from the airport late last night, had dinner in the old town and then retired for the evening.
I the morning our breakfast is typical, we take our time catching up and planning the day, a quiet day around the city is decided on.
Our accommodation is right on the waterfront over looking the city marina, we walk through the old town and up to the Bastione Saint Remy, the best advantage point over the city.
The buildings are predominantly official, municipal building, there is usually, in the busier time of the year a cafe in the courtyard, not today!
The view over the city is fantastic, stretching over to the coast and across the salt marches where the flamingos feed.
We exit the complex through the main gates back into the city and head for the cafe across from the gates - lunch before we head back to Portovesme for the ferry over to the island.
The next morning we take the coast road around the south of Sardinia, beautiful beaches and resorts but all closed!
Log Entry Tuesday 8th January 2019 - Another day on the mainland, off to Cagliari Airport to collect our "little helper" Baz!
We have our daughters, boyfriend "Baz" arriving today for a week to help us with some of the work on Sailaway, his help was offered following a conversation based on how we were struggling with certain jobs holding us back. We have had gale force winds for two days now and due to continue for a further two, the jobs we have in mind for Baz do require more settled weather so, we have decided to spend a couple of days in Cagliari until the winds fall off!
As we walk along the pontoon to the car we come across an example of pollution and its effect on marine life. There is a plastic bag in the water, on it are two jellyfish trapped on the surface of the bag by the air within it? I release the jellyfish and pull out the bag - not concerned by the amount of time the little sods have stung me!
With my good deed done, we purchase our ferry tickets and board the ferry, our first stop on the mainland is "Brico" in Cagliari, the large D.I.Y store. We have a long list, items we cannot get on the island and some just far cheaper than the local store on the island.
Log Entry Saturday 5th January 2019 - A trip across the mainland to alleviate the boredom!
While we love working on Sailaway everyone deserves a break, we decide to take the ferry across to the mainland for a couple of reasons. Firstly, to literally "get off the island!" also to take the opportunity to visit the much larger supermarkets! We take the ferry across to Porto Portovesme and drive south to Isola Sant' Antioco, to the south east of us, a mere 15 mile trip or so? The island is supported with a causeway, there is also a ferry running directly to Calasetta on the island from Carloforte but it did escape my mind - age? The town of Sant'Antioco is well equipped with supermarkets, even hosts a "Lidl", Ann is excited? Once on the island the first town is Sant'Antioco with it's supermarkets, with our trusty VW full of goodies, we drive to Calasetta to explore.
The town of Calasetta is very interesting and picturesque, a small town with a small marina and fishing shelter, really quiet at this time of year, barely a cafe open? You can clearly see from the closed establishments how different this place is in the summer.
One thing I am always fascinated about, every small port in the Mediterranean has a form of fishing fleet, it survives, the boats are usually well maintained, handed down through the generations? We are all aware as to how "fished out" these waters are too, but the UK, a completely different story. Most fishing harbours empty, or, converted into a marina or tourist spot - our fishing industry, or what is left of it, definitely seems to take a back seat where as in the Mediterranean it seems fully supported?
We walk the water front, spend an hour in the only open cafe, then hit the road back to Portovesme to the north to catch the ferry back with our car full of goodies! If we had thought it out we could have taken the ferry back from here but, we have a return ticket costing €25, not to be wasted to save a 15 mile drive? That is another excellent point, Italian nations received discounted travel to us, they pay 20% of what we tourists pay - good on them too! Their government clearly cares, this goes for any form of transport apparently?
Log Entry Tuesday 1st January 2019 -It may be New Years Day but we have to keep ourselves busy!
Well, we have to be busy, I take on the work servicing the engine and Ann modifies our new shower curtain as needed, with a nautical theme obviously!