Posts Tagged With: Day Skipper

I PASSED!!!!!!!!!!!!


And relax…………. 🙂 This last week has been hectic! And a miracle has happened – I passed my Day Skipper! Albeit narrowly!!! The theory course last weekend went pretty well and passed that by a reasonable margin and then I’ve been on the practical course for the last 5 days with two “competent crew” and two other wannabe skippers. There was still a fair bit of theory on the practical course – I think I’d been inadvertently considering the theory was a bit like say, project management theory where in real life, the two don’t bear any resemblance so it was nice to see that I could plot a course, consider the tide, head off in another direction entirely based on that and end up at the place I wanted us to be. Who’d have imagined?!

My sailing is not hot! I had a breakthrough in the last half an hour or so – you should “atTACK” the wind (tacking is where you head into the wind, rather than away – it sounds a doddle and indeed is, but I have an irritating habit of doing the opposite where the boom swings violently into the heads of your crew rather than the gentle controlled swing of a tack. Oops. I’m going to try and get in another day of sailing with them next weekend and then the weekend after, I should be going out with the guy I met through Sailing Networks.

The weather hasn’t been great but not anywhere near as bad as it could have been – I think there are storms predicted this week and then freezing a couple of weeks before that so despite being perpetually damp all week, it was more than manageable.

The yacht was 37 feet. Quite large – you can still sail it single handedly if you’re good. It’s made me think I’d like a much smaller boat than I’d had in mind though so might look at that. And I’m DEFINITELY going to have one with a good working engine. And go out only in idyllic conditions.

Anyway, here’s the crew 🙂


21 days to go until Italy! I’ve still got a few bits and pieces to do before then but I can finally relax a bit now 🙂 And with that said, I might go back to bed! I think I’ve about 3 years of sleep to catch up on.


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Retirement, day skipping and The Italian Job…


Sorry, it’s been ages! I’ve been revising for the Day Skipper theory exam. I *think* I may have bitten off more than I can chew!

Anyway, here’s a full run down of the last week or two:

–          I’VE LEFT WORK!!!!!! WOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I skipped out of the office last Wednesday to the pub for my leaving do which was great, lots of people came. They’d done an excellent job of decorating the bit of the pub where we were – Italian flag bunting and lots of print outs of embarrassing photo’s of me over the last few years up on the wall. Had a load of presents – a great sailing book “The Sailing Bible” published by Adlard Coles Nautical, some lovely jewellery, and a few silly pressies – a boat for the bath, some polenta (I’d never heard of it much to the amusement of my boss a year or two back), some wine (did YOU know most people can’t tell the difference between red and white when it’s the same temperature? My ex boss insists he’s a wine connoisseur) etc. 


–          Day Skipper:  Here are my lessons learnt for people wishing to undertake a Day Skipper course: Don’t think for one minute that you’ll be able to read a book and for it to make any sense at all unless you’ve spent years sailing. When you look up a word in the glossary, even the words to describe the word you’re looking up don’t make sense. And it’s impossible to even look up half of it – there’s a raft (haha, raft, boat, haha) of stock phrases that are used; what on earth is “going about”?!?!?! I think it means “turn around”. It might not. It could be “have a constitutional walk around the boat”. Who knows? The theory exams are this weekend – the chartwork one on Saturday and the general one on Sunday. I’ll undoubtedly fail. Then on the Sunday night, I’m going to be on the boat until Friday for the practical course. I think it will be C.O.L.D.


–          Retirement ( at least “retirement” from a mundane 9-5 office job) is not all that I was hoping it would be. Assuming I’d had any free time this week, I think I would have been annoyed at the lack of people to go out with. Texting ex-work mates to tell them I’m having a nap whilst they’re at work has indeed been entertaining, but I worry that it wont be enough to keep me entertained for the months/years ahead. I would prefer “retirement” if everyone else I liked was also retired. AND now I’m in Pompey direction again, people have been going out without me! IMAGINE! WITHOUT ME!!! Honestly. I don’t know what that’s about. There should be rules against it.  They should be at home crying. Not having fun.


–          I’VE BOOKED A FLIGHT! I go Saturday 4th May from London Stanstead and get into Ancona about 9.45pm where I hope someone from the language school will come and get me. Having said that, it’s with Ryanair and I’ll of course arrive several hours late probably with no belongings and dishevelled (presumably because I inadvertently missed out on ticking the “don’t mug me” check box along with the “don’t buy an extortionate Ryanair mobile phone” and the “don’t buy an expensive Ryanair suitcase”). I’ll be in a single room in a shared apartment. I start my Italian language course on the Monday after a meal out the night before and I’m booked in for a month – that’s 80 lessons. There’s a test I need to do so they can tell which group to put me in – it’s written in Italian – it would have been a doddle a couple of weeks ago but my head’s all about the “going about”.


–          The flat rental seems to have gone ok – no problems so far. I moved out on Thursday afternoon. I worry that I should be a more threatening landlord but all the messages exchanged between myself and the tenants have had a x at the end. I do like them. I hope they don’t mess me around. So I’m back at Mum and Dad’s (thank you mum and dad). I don’t feel a very productive member of the household though I am on Dishwasher Unstacking Duty. And I very generously offered them a glass of (their) wine yesterday. Dad insisted the next glass was on him.


Right, I should be studying. I’m really over Day Skipping. Wish me luck/a miracle on my exams.











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Fabulous friends, burning both ends of the candle and nervous exhaustion!


I’m thrilled to announce that there’s been no life threatening fires or floods in my flat for the last week or so. And, I didn’t have to sacrifice my plumber. Which was just as well really as he seems to be the least incompetent one I’ve come across, so that’s a relief.

Productivity has been low. Socialising and burning the candle at both ends has been high. I have absolutely fabulous friends and it’s been heart-wrenching saying goodbye! Or well, not goodbye I hope really.

It’s been a whirlwind of leaving do’s! I had a lovely dinner at Diwani’s with my extended team – there were about 10 of us I think. Diwani’s is the best Indian buffet place in the world. AND it’s all vegetarian 🙂 Then there was a surprise night out with the badminton crowd from work which was excellent. We went to a place called Bounce. Doubles table tennis makes not a jot of sense. That’s of course why I lost almost all of the games. No other reason.

Pub club leaving do was last night (Piccadilly Institute) and it might be the best night out I’ve had ever 🙂 I will really miss Pub Club (my liver will most certainly not). They went to great lengths to be sweet and lovely and I couldn’t be more touched! They must REALLY want free Italian holidays 😉

The general work leaving do is Wednesday – it’ll be in a pub near work. Not sure how many will make it out– there’s a few folk that have that week off.

And then I leave the flat Thursday to move in with Mum & Dad for a bit. I need to desperately study – I’m really REALLY struggling with the Day Skipper course on the rare occasion I get to do anything on it. An example question: Plot a course between x and y bearing in mind the length of time it will take, the tidal streams throughout the trip, gale force winds from a southerly direction at the start but changing lots throughout the trip to be in different directions and at different levels, also bearing in mind that North isn’t indeed North (WHO KNEW COMPASSES DON’T ACTUALLY POINT NORTH FOR GOODNESS SAKES?! It actually turns out, most people. I must have been off sick during that lesson) and you need to apply a correction, and then another correction to account for the fact that your boat might also be messing with the compass and then you obviously need to avoid rocks/the seabed/other obstacles. By the time I’ve plotted the damn course, it’ll be the following week and all of the conditions will have changed.

So that’s going marvelously.

However, one stroke of luck is that I’ll now be out over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend at some point on a boat with a stranger. I’ll be annoyed if come my glorious retirement from Project Management and a stressful move out of my flat, I’m murdered two days later and cast into the watery depths of the Solent. Though at least I wouldn’t have to do the Day Skipper Theory so it’d not be all bad.

My exam is on the 7th April and the practical course starts on the 8th April in Gosport. Then I’m going to wait until the beginning of May before being Italian Bound. My Facebook countdown will be in minus figures! Having said that, I certainly underestimated the scope for a nervous breakdown / exhaustion when setting the timescales. I hope not to get out of bed in the two weeks after my practical course and before Italy.

I HAVE DECK SHOES! Look at these. Admittedly, these aren’t actually my deck shoes but they look similar. Mine are nicer 🙂 They were a very sweet leaving present from a friend. I thought deck shoes were all repulsive but aren’t they nice?!

The Saga of The Leaking Toilet is resolved – I’d stood on the wooden thing that boxes in the cistern and pushed out the pipe which connects the water to the bowl. It’s now held in place with foamy stuff.

If I’ve not been murdered over Easter, there’s a chance I might actually succumb to early onset dementia. Last week, I needed to get from Paddington to Embankment. That’s a single southbound trip on the Bakerloo tube line. I got on at Paddington and as the doors were closing, I realised I’d got on the wrong direction. What a twit (or variants) I am, I thought. But easily done. I got off at the next stop and faffed around trying to find the tube going in the opposite direction (by the way any Tube Bosses reading this – your signage is poor at Warwick Avenue) and sat down and read until I got to my intended stop. A few minutes later, noticing I had not got to my intended stop, I looked up and I was even further NORTH. NORTH!!!! ARGH!!!!!! I’d been on the right tube in the first place! I hope someone will feed me when I’m unable to remember where my mouth is.

Mum and dad are coming up tomorrow to take stuff back home. The Room of Chaos (aka “Dining room”) is fulfilling its name nicely. And I’ve run out of boxes so it’s doubling up as a sort of large assorted game of jenga. I need to sort that out tonight. Lucky I’m feeling in such tip top condition after last night’s drunken lateness and what must now be several weeks without sleep <sigh>!

I should rename the site MovetoItalyButGoInsaneInTheProcess!



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Sacrificial goats, knots and willies…

Dearest Readers,

Now, I don’t want to come across as paranoid, but something is out to get me. Let me take you through the evidence:

  • Exhibit A: Last month in the early hours I woke to find my bathroom ceiling dripping with water where upstairs had sprung a leak. The water was coming down in a sort of power shower fashion.  Two terrified upstairs neighbours (I had underestimated how scary I must look without makeup) and £££’s later the issue is fixed.
  • Exhibit B: Two weeks ago, a rogue candle which I swear I blew out, was still alight, set fire to the surround of the candle which FOR PITY’S SAKE WAS MADE OF CARDBOARD and set fire to the wooden floor in my living room. All the fire alarms were going at 5am, smoke was billowing out of the living room and dining room and there were quite high flames coming from the TV area.  Put it out with a wet towel. A full pot of varnish to strengthen a very charcoaled wooden floor, and a moved TV stand later, the issue was “fixed”/seamlessly hidden :-s
  • Exhibit C: One week ago, a plastic light shade that I’d washed to get rid of some dust in honour of the new tenant, melted, leaving a smouldering lightshade on his floor and a lightbulb covered in burnt plastic bubbling away MINUTES before the new prospective tenants were coming to sign the contract for the flat. And I wasn’t even able to blame him for it <sigh>.
  • Exhibit D: Today, I get a call from the building managers to say that the flat beneath mine was positively awash with water following what must be a catastrophic flood in my flat (I’ve exaggerated marginally here for effect but it sounded serious). Rushing home, the flat was fine. Downstairs has some staining on the walls of their toilet. My toilet however, looked ok, UNTIL I lifted up the lino and yes, yes there was certainly a leak. Thankfully not from the waste water pipe but from the one from the cistern to the toilet. When you flush it, it looks like a waterfall but alas, outside of the toilet bowl entirely. My plumber, well, he doesn’t like emergencies or anything that would be considered a nasty or awkward job. Or one that involves water. He basically likes gas safety checks. He should call himself a Gas Safety Check Man rather than “plumber”.  So his advice was “hmm, yeah, you should work out where that water’s coming from”. Another plumber is coming tomorrow morning. I’ll have to redecorate the toilet – you have to sort of wreck the room in order to get to the cistern.

See?! Irrefutable evidence that I’m being thwarted by bad luck. It’s exactly EXACTLY like that film, Final Destination where a bunch of kids narrowly avoid Death only to have Death getting them by other means. Admittedly, apart from the fire, I’m only being slowly annoyed / stressed to death but still. It’s the same thing. What have I done wrong?! I’m going to find a goat to sacrifice (only that’s somewhat against my vegetarian principles. Perhaps the plumber would be a better option. I’ll make a judgement call based on how he gets on tomorrow and how many kidneys I’ll need to sell).

What else? The contract is signed, packing is ongoing, the DIY was done (up until this afternoon at least), stuff is being cleared, work is being handed over. Generally it’s going to plan. You know the thing I’m looking forward to most when I quit work? I’m going to have a ceremonial burning of my tights <considers recent escapes> or perhaps I’ll just throw them out. Evil, restrictive, ghastly contraptions.

A slight change of plans from last post is that mum and dad are now coming up the Sunday before (24th) to take stuff back home. It means I need to do everything that bit sooner/quicker but there’s less impact of a hangover from my leaving do the day before. Why did I organise it then?! Last day in the flat Thursday 28th!

It’s fair to say that my Day Skipper course is going reasonably badly 🙂 It’s all written in pretentious jargon. Who says “blow” instead of “wind”?! I’m going to attempt to go to a face to face lesson next Tuesday but I must know about tidal somethings beforehand. I shall learn about that this weekend. And I’ve been working on my knots and quite frankly, I’m fully intending to dazzle teachers and students alike. Knotting is something I can do. Sometimes.  As long as I’m in exactly the right position in relation to the rope which is also in exactly the right position in relation to the other rope and myself. Yesiree. I’ve nailed the knots.

I have two quite strong reservations about my upcoming sailing though… Firstly: I must buy deckshoes. Have you seen them?! They’re AWFUL. What on earth is wrong with trainers?! My visions of relaxing on a boat haven’t included repulsive footwear to date. Secondly: Well, to be fair, my sailing teacher did give me an alternative to deckshoes. She said I would need to buy deckshoes or willies. Spelling mistake? Who knows! Having seen these deckshoes, I might be tempted to investigate further.

Tune in soon for more disasters.


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The most productive weekend ever, ice-cream sundaes and dream boards…


I. Am. Shattered. This weekend, I have:

– Had a builder come in to sort out the bathroom ceiling which was falling to bits (admittedly, this wasn’t so strenuous on my part)

– Painted the bathroom (I don’t know why but everything I paint requires at least 100000004 coats of paint).

– Painted the toilet (the room the toilet is in as opposed to the actual toilet. That would be unconventional).

– Sanded and varnished the dining room floor.

– Sanded and painted the bedroom window sill.

– Packed yet more stuff in The Room of Chaos (spare bedroom).

– Got rid of some extraneous furniture.

– Cleaned the flat for photo taking.

– Took photos

– Advertised the flat on gumtree. Please someone rent my flat!

– Had a headache the entire time.

AND I saw a friend for a rather luxurious breakfast that included an ice cream sundae. I highly recommend the ice cream sundae at The Exhibit in Balham. It’s delicious. Even for breakfast. I don’t know why I bother with savoury food <looks down at stomach>. Perhaps I do.

AND AND my Italian friend has emailed without further prompting – she had a good excuse for a slow response. She’s given me her phone number. So perhaps I wont have to pay Italians to be my friend after all 🙂

In an attempt to give myself a head start on the people that I’ll be doing the sailing course with (given that they will all have had the slight advantage of having actually sailed whereas I alas, have not), I’ve started reading my “Day Skipper for Sail and Power” book by Alison Noice. It’s a recommended book. However, I’m only on page 5 and I’m finding the whole thing pretentious (honestly, who says “blow” rather than “wind”…) and annoying (“left”, “right”, “behind”, “in front” are perfectly adequate terms – why on earth rename them “port”, “starboard”, “aft” and whatever the other is I can’t remember). I feel I will have to exercise great control not to spend the entire course scoffing every 2 minutes.

In other news this week, I met someone a little like me (I don’t think that’s ever happened before). They showed me their Dream Board. It’s fantastic! It’s simple but lovely – you put a bunch of photo’s representing what you want out of life together on a board. It helps give some focus – it’s very inspiring. Oprah has a free little app for it. I love mine – I’ve got a colour print-out on my wall.

Right, my productivity has run out. I’m off. 46 days to go until I finish work – 34 working days!!!!!

Sogni d’oro 🙂


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