132. A Day At The Races?

A night at the opera? What’ll I do? George and Yangtze are settled in their new life. JD is about to set off round the world again. BoJo has declared February 24th to be Freedom Day, when all restrictions regarding Covid will be lifted. Coincidentally, that is also the day that JD flies back to Subic Bay in The Philippines to re-join the Clipper Race. Just sayin’.

Now that I think on it, the scrapping of day 2 lateral flow tests was four days after we got back from Spain last month. The same thing happened with the scrapping of day 2 PCR tests when we got back from Switzerland in October. Quarantine rules in The Philippines have been scrapped, so he can spend a few extra days here. All linked to JD going away. Is he somehow influencing the Government??

Ah, I don’t think I told you we’d gone to Spain. JD hasn’t seen the Three F’s since Clipper sailed in August 2019 and he really wanted to catch up with them before he set off again. You can see them in Post 42 dated 2nd September 2019. They are now a lot taller than that (I missed taking any photos so you’ll have to imagine them). We arrived in Spain to find that middle F is doing the same grade 1 piano pieces as me. As I’d taken my music, we both were able to have a practice. I think you’ll be hearing her at a concert well before me. It was lovely and sunny there but not much warmer than the UK, unusually.

Once again, I didn’t have a proper Christmas Tree. You might remember the one I had in Australia two years ago. If not, go back to Blog Post 64 of 15th December 2019. I possibly exceeded even that by having two little Christmas trees, thanks to Christmas crackers!

Christmas 2021

Other than my piano, what am I going to do for the next five months until JD returns to London on 30th July? I might have to stop streaming music. I have a Spotify subscription, but both Neil Young and Joni Mitchell have complained about misleading Vaccine Podcasts, and they are both polio survivors like me. I might have to cancel in solidarity, although I think it’s all been resolved.

Whilst the building works continue (yes, honestly), I have created a Hobby Corner. I’ve not done much knitting recently. I know that, if I’m tense, my tension gets tighter and tighter and eventually I have to cut the yarn off the needles and start again. (I also have a lot of unused Unicef and Qingdao beanies that I need to get rid of). I have a few jigsaw puzzles to complete but that’s going very slowly as well. Most of my days seem to consist of talking with the various Tradesmen we have around the place and trying to find somewhere quiet and warm to hide.

Hobby Corner

I need thoughts on how to display my champagne tops, which I have learnt is part of the muselet. There is a whole community out there collecting but I don’t think I’m quite that obsessive. You can buy books with special dents but that’s only for real champagne and I have many that come from other countries or even other parts of France. I know, sacrilege.

A few of my tops

I love Le Creuset pans and do have quite a collection of these. Believe it or not, when I was cooking the other day, I needed a size I didn’t have. As my birthday was coming up, I thought I’d not indulge myself but let others do so. A lovely ‘coastal blue’ pan duly arrived and I thought I’d actually read the accompanying paperwork. Can anyone explain why all countries give a ‘lifetime’ guarantee except for Germany, that states 30 years?

In Post 129 dated 17th November 2021, I introduced you to Fry’s Ties: I’m not sure the title ‘Sam’s Mugs’ is any good as it should rhyme. How about Sam’s Dams (I just need to go and take photos on the rivers) or, for nature lovers, Sam’s Lambs (with the prequels Sam’s Rams and Sam’s Dams, again). This could be followed up by three foodie titles and three transport (of sorts). I let you work those out. JD is much more ambitious on our future earnings. ‘If that chap can sell his paintings for millions, I’m going to have a go’. I thought we were just trying out new paint colours on the dining room walls. I’m not sure we can rip parts of the wall out so we’ll need to introduce non-fungible tokens. What am I bid? If anyone can explain them to me such that I understand them, I might just have a go.

Who will buy?

More sailing, this time two French chaps (Romain Pilliard and Alex Pella) attempting to go round the world backwards (i.e. sailing Westwards, starting the way Clipper do it but continuing on that path, not turning back to Cape Town) on the trimaran Use It Again. This has never been done with a multihull before, only ‘conventional’ boats, so it would be a world first. Even then, only five people are recorded as doing it: Joshua Slocum in 1895, Chay Blyth in 1970, Mike Golding in 1994, Philippe Monnet in 2000 and J-L van den Heede in 2004. These two set off from Lorient in France on January 5th (initial planned date last October, but as we’ve seen, sailing dates are fluid). The most exciting part, in my view, is a Tracker! I need to get into practice for when Clipper and JD set off again. Today, February 17th, it looks like they are off Cape Horn at the bottom of South America. The Cape avoided by Clipper as too dangerous for amateurs. Alex Pella was on Idec Sport in 2017 when it won the Jules Verne Trophy (see Blog Post 130 of 23rd December 2021) so by no means an amateur.


The recent Jules Verne challenge, mentioned in Post 130 dated 30th December 2021, has had to be called off for this year due to weather constraints. I need to keep an eye on that once Clipper finishes.


Short bottles

In Post 129 dated 17th November 2021, I mentioned that I was in disgrace for finishing off the bottle of Calvados we’d had for a good ten years. I presented JD with one for Christmas, although he’s not yet opened it, so it’ll sit in the bar until this summer at least. I think this Blog will be dropping the Cocktail theme for a while.

And so we come to my final cocktails. I told you of my new idea for rearranged bottles last time and here they are.

Tall bottles

I regret to have to inform you that I was mocked. MOCKED! Not by any of you, dear Loyal Followers, but by the person who stands to benefit most. All I can say is, the sooner he goes off to The Philippines the better. I know when I’m not appreciated. Yes, I hear you reminding me that he said he’d have to pop his clogs first as there’d be no-one to make him cocktails if I went first. I might just do that out of spite.

I know I have more than enough booze, but I bought an interesting looking bottle in the supermarket a couple of weeks ago. It was probably there as a Valentine’s Day promotion as it had 20% off. I’m such a sucker, I didn’t even know if it was rose the flower or rose the pink wine until I got it home and smelt it. I made a cocktail of 60 ml gin, 25 ml St Germain elderflower liqueur, 15 ml dry (white) vermouth and 5 ml of the rose liqueur. Not bad but maybe a bit strong. I then tried the same mix but in the bottom of a champagne flute topped up with fizz. Much better and we could drink more than one without falling over!

News update: Freedom Day for me has been postponed. The Clipper fleet need more maintenance so the crew have an extra week before they need to depart. Currently my Freedom Day is 3rd March. Back to making cocktails…

The last one before August?