120. I’ve Got A Brand New Compost Area

..I’ll give you a see. Not quite as good as the original Wurzels lyrics but they were copying yet another song, Brand New Key by Melanie in the early 1970’s, about a pair of roller skates (or possibly a date). They knew how to write song lyrics then.

Many of the photos today will be the famed compost area in progress. See blog post 93 from 25th May last year for the appearance at the beginning of this project. Today’s header is another view. It is finally finished (I think). As you look at the photos (in order of building), you’ll think it was finished a few months ago, but the front ‘doors’ were not strong enough for the job, so they had to come off and be replaced. If we ever need a nuclear bunker, I’m sure we can convert these. (This topic could be a tad boring for some people so I’ll mention other stuff).

In progress May 2020

As we’ll each have had both of our jabs by the end of April, we’ll be able to book a holiday to Cyprus! Slight problem, they open 1st May and international tourist travel from the U.K. is not allowed until at least 17th May. JD will just have to accept having his birthday in the U.K. this year. Talking of freedom, how lovely it is to see children running around in the school playground once again, let’s hope they go back after Easter. The pals I have who are parents now realise how hard teachers work and how much children need company. As do we.

October 2020

JD is upset that he’ll be allowed a haircut before he’s allowed to visit his family. Is it coincidence that our PM has to have the worst haircut possible? If I were John’s family, I’d march him straight off for a trim as soon as I saw him, so maybe there is method in the planning. JD has very kindly offered to cut my hair if lockdown is extended again. If you saw what happened to Seb, on the Unicef boat, you’ll understand my misgivings. To add insult to all this, the dogs have had their haircuts, supposedly for welfare reasons. What about our welfare??

Very smart, unlike us!

Today’s cocktail ingredient is pastis. The observant amongst you will note that I have gone through p and q in the alphabet, so what am I playing at? For some reason I filed this under its brand name, Ricard. I’ve done that for a few others: Aperol, Campari, Cointreau. It could be that I’m not fond of pastis so put it as far down the line as I could. Well, it’s here now. I was tempted to make a “Goat’s delight” cocktail but with no orgeat syrup that wasn’t possible. Orgeat (pronounced ohr-zha or some such) is made from almonds, sugar and orange or rose water. I know I could have crushed up a few almonds or added almond essence, maybe next time. I’m not using my imagination as much as at the beginning. The cocktail I did make is even more boring, merely pastis with red Vermouth, called macaroni for some unfathomable reason.

Macaroni cocktail

I created another boring cocktail, from blanc de blanc fizz (made from only Chardonnay grapes, we prefer fizz with some Pinot Noir and Meunier in the mix if we’re drinking it straight) plus rhubarb and ginger gin liqueur. You might remember our Christmas gin advent calendar. Some were gin and some were gin liqueurs. The difference from straight gin? To make a liqueur you add sugar and whatever flavourings you fancy, so that juniper is not the predominant taste. I guess that makes my sloe gin a liqueur, although it’s not particularly sweet.

A great Advent Calendar

I was choosing music to go with our evening cocktail and somehow, after Melanie (aged 74), found I’d put on Joan Armatrading (aged 70), Mary Hopkins (aged 70), then a mere youngster of 42, Julie Fowlis. I must start experimenting with new (to me) artists. But, did you listen to Dolly Parton with her Vaccine song? She’s encouraging us all to get jabbed as only she could. All sing along now. (I think I want an outfit like hers for my next jab!).

Back to boats, for what could be the last time for a while. I mislead us all about the Vendee Globe, I thought it had finished but there was still one Finnish sailor left. He finished in the early hours of 5th March so it is all over now.


Mr. Happy closes 9th Vendée Globe

January 2021

We do have new sailing jaunts to look forward to, the Golden Globe and the Ocean Globe amongst them. They are both round the world, as the names imply, but other than that, quite different. The Golden Globe Race (not to be confused with the Golden Globes, which are something to do with American TV and films, and nowhere near as exciting. In my very humble and biased opinion), involves professional sailors single-handedly going around the world. It is a celebration of Sir Robin’s triumph in 1968 / 69, which I might have mentioned occasionally during the lifetime of this blog. (See Post 29 dated 2nd June 2019 for an exceedingly brief resume). As we know, if there’s anything foolhardier than sailing around the world with a few complete strangers, then it’s doing it on your own. No, wrong, there’s something even more so: do it now with a crew but with equipment from the 1960’s. You remember people thinking RKJ was lost, when his communication equipment failed? Well, here’s a chance to reproduce that. They are not setting off until next year, planned start date 4th September 2022. There are 28 skippers signed up, one of whom you’ll have come across in my Clipper stories!



Later in January 2021

We’ll have to wait even longer for The Ocean Race, which does not set off until 2023. This is another ‘retro’ race, with old style boats, but with a crew, ‘In the Spirit of the 1973 Whitbread Race’. That race became more and more competitive over the years, until it was for fully professional sailors. This new race sounds like it intends to be more like Clipper, for ‘ordinary’ sailors, but even more uncomfortable, if that’s possible. A maximum of 30 boats are intended, but there are questions over its organisation and safety. The FAQs on the site raise some interesting issues.


If all of this is not enough excitement for you in the next two years, read this blog referring to other races due to come on stream. Will this blog ever end?


Although the America’s Cup is well and truly finished for this year, with New Zealand beating Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli convincingly (final result, seven races to NZ versus three to LRPP), there is a lot of discussion on the next iteration. INEOS have been chosen as the Challenger of Record, so they’ll be involved in the planning and design. It’s been suggested that the boats will not be radically re-designed and there is much talk about a race next year between UK and NZ at Cowes, to keep the excitement and interest high.

Now this is more my line. A subscription service on cocktail making. The only problem is, I missed highlighting it for my birthday!

February 2021. The End.