Maybe don’t take the lyrics of this song too literally, we’re hoping it will last another 500 years!
Before I start, let me put things in context. JD loves doing DIY, and mended the shed recently. On the other hand, this bench was going to be mended had I not sat on it first. Its final resting place can be seen somewhere below.
There are some things best not tackled unless you’re a professional. The house is 500 years old in parts. We have bitten the bullet and decided that rewiring and replumbing are needed. It was last ‘modernised’ in the 1970’s and things have just been added in the last 50 years, since the house was re-roofed and made habitable after apparently being derelict for some years. We have 14 (or is it 15?) distribution boards (fuse boxes) around the place and the plumbers found three different diameter pipes in use, not always appropriately. We also decided to repoint parts of the stone walls not done in the time we’ve been here. This was like being inside a mouth when the dentist is doing his worst with his drill.
Finally (?), as the cellar was always on our minds, we though that really needed to be tidied up. A neighbour who used to live in this house when a child remembers being very careful walking in the room above, in case they fell through the floor. You saw the state it was in at the end of the last Blog Post. When the beam was taken out, there was nothing but dust in the socket where it had been anchored to the wall, so maybe the acro props were serving a purpose.
As the floors have had to be taken up, we have to stop Adie going up the stairs, as you can see (there’s a big spring so it can’t be accidentally left open). She has twice rushed past one of the builders as he opened the gate when she thought I was up there. Luckily (so far) she’s not fallen through the joists and created a dog-shaped hole in the ceiling of the room below.
But that is all in progress so I’ll not share too much. Back to the cellar, AKA my dive bar. It is not yet completed, I’m not sure exactly how it will be furnished so I sought professional advice. In the weekend Financial Times, there is a column called ‘Questions of Taste’ so I thought I’d write and see what happened. I was in the FT! Well, my question was but not my name. So anonymous was it that JD read it out and said ‘someone’s stolen your idea’! I’m not sure if I can follow the suggestions as there is no permanent heating down there, I don’t want to risk soft furnishings or wallpaper. Pity as I saw this in a restaurant recently, would be perfect!
He’s suggested a tin ceiling, which sounds great but we’ve got the beams so I think the combination would look odd. I might get tin signs on the stairs though: I’ve already bought one. Lots of mirrors possibly and a bar cabinet with bar stools. I must check out the leads he’s given me.
No rush, you’ll probably not see the finished article until mid-2022, if I’m still blogging then! One thing that would be fun to have is the need for a pass, code word or introduction from a ‘trusted customer’. On January 16th, 1920, at midnight, USA prohibition happened so maybe I’ll see if I can make that the grand opening, even if it’s not completely furnished.
As well as all the disruption, we have had good things happening. One day the Red Arrows flew over us on their way back from some display. You can see them in today’s header. Not as exciting as the Vulcan but that’s gone for ever. Then, one Sunday, I was asked to puppy sit! She is a very adorable Clumberpoo. Although I would prefer a full Clumber Spaniel, they are even harder to find than a Welshie puppy. My task was not at all onerous as she was so well behaved and it was a lovely sunny day so we had a few hours in the garden topping up our Vitamin D. I wonder, do dogs need Vitamin D as much as we do?
We watched The Last Night of the Proms on September 11th, as it had Stuart Skelton starring. I’m not sure if it was his invention but two cocktails were devised and put onto YouTube,
If you don’t have time to watch, here are the recipes: The Last Night cocktail is 25 ml gin, 25 ml Maraschino liqueur (this is cherry, I didn’t have any so used sloe gin) and 25 ml red Vermouth, served in a martini glass with a piece of orange peel and topped up with fizz. I used a cherry garnish as a nod to the Maraschino. We tried it again in a Champagne flute, much better ratio. If you want one with no alcohol, try half a glass of cranberry juice and half a glass of ginger beer stirred with a cinnamon stick and slice of orange.
In my current reading addiction, I’m learning a lot of history, even though the books involve time travel and are very definitely fiction. I’m so addicted I’ve got the tee-shirt!
I’m sure I’ve already mentioned Jodi Taylor and her series of time travelling historians (researching historical events in contemporary time). I have to stop reading every so often, to look up stuff, including recently the Gate of Grief and someone who must surely have been made up, Myrtle Botts? No, all real and fascinating to read about. It does sound too fantastic to be real.
Back to more mundane travel plans. JD had a refresher sailing week with Clipper. All is still on plan for a February 2022 re-start, but as China have said they not going to allow foreign spectators in for the Winter Olympics (at roughly the same time), I’m not sure what that means for Clipper. At the very least I’m assuming that even if I were minded to fly out I wouldn’t be allowed.
More hopefully, the Sydney-Hobart race is planned for this year. It usually takes place on December 26th and the Clipper fleet have joined it in the past (although, much to their regret, not in 2019 when OBB were on board).
The Ocean Globe race (already mentioned in Post 120 dated 28th March) has some updates.
it says ‘A return to Corinthian ocean racing has 22 yachts representing 14 countries for the inaugural Ocean Globe Race which marks in 2023 the 50th anniversary of the first Whitbread Round the World Race in 1973-74’. I had to look up the meaning of Corinthian, it means amateur racing. So, I have two Corinthian racers in my family!
The first three Whitbread Races started and finished in Portsmouth before moving to Southampton in 1985. The route for this race has yet to be announced. The race is limited to ocean-going fiberglass yachts designed before 1988, and permitted equipment excludes computers, satellites, GPS, and high-tech materials. Navigation is by sextant and music by cassette tape! I wish I’d known that before I threw away all our cassettes.
An American race with an amusing read for entry requirements (although possibly not an amusing race):
And to end, some sailing terms from the US, most of which I’m sure any sailor can relate to: