sawyl: (A self portrait)
After last night's strong winds had blown through, the new day dawned much quieter and more peaceful. We spent this morning taking the dingy round the corner to explore the next couple of coves east, before returning for swimming, reading, and packing ready to go on the next steps of our respective journeys.

Went for lunch in Kostas taverna - feta with sesame, Greek salad, and fried aubergine and zucchini. As we were eating another English Moody appeared, although my dad misidentified it as a Bavaria(!) until he checked the livery with the binoculars. The tracer a called a taxi, we waited in the shade of the taverna for it to arrive and I got in to go to Masouri.

Arriving 20 minutes later after an extremely beautiful journey around a spectacular series of bays, I got dropped off right outside my hotel, and sorted out my registration. There was some confusion over the dates - I think they thought we were arriving tomorrow as originally planned before Tom moved things forward by a day - but it was all ok.

After settling in, having a proper shower, and putting on some non-salty clothes, I feel cleaner than I have in days. I'm now planning to laze away the afternoon until the heat dies down, then I'm going to take a trip to the market to pick up some more soap and shampoo and maybe some bottled water, and wait for the others to arrive some time between 9-10 this evening.
sawyl: (A self portrait)
Ashore early to try to find a way up to the intriguing building on the hill to the south of the town, but not much luck finding a path. Wandering along some classic Greek paths, all thistles and dried vegetation, we encounter a whole series of gates and chain link fences which may have been aimed at stopping the encroachment of the omnipresent goats, but which stopped us just as effectively.

Retreating to the boat, we changed our mooring to move us closer to the beach, and took the dingy for a spin around the bay to the northwest. After a morning of swimming, we returned to the town for lunch. Just as we were approaching the quay, the outboard spluttered and died and refused to restart. Rowing the last few metres, we got out and went for wander, checking out the church before going to the taverna.

Lunch consisted of gigantes, melitzanosalata - very different to the version we had in Palionisos but just as nice - cheese balls, and grilled peppers. The daughter of the household, who must've been 2-3 insisted on helping in the most adorable way, bringing out mayonnaise and ketchup just in case, and bringing us an extra spoon for the beans.

After lunch the dingy proved a little more cooperative and the engine started first time. Just as well: I wouldn't like to have rowed all the way back against the current.

The afternoon saw the arrival of a number of new boats, taking the place of the charter boats that had left for Kos marina and change-over day. We were joined by a particularly impressive steel-hulled Finnish boat, whose inhabitants were obviously keen swimmers because one of their number immediately set out for the long swim to the island of Kalavros. Later a group of Russians appeared on a catamaran and, after the men pottered around in the water, the women emerged on deck and took a load of bikini photos before the boat left again.

With another round of strong winds forecast for the evening, we ate aboard - toasties made with the Diablo and salad made from the remaining tomatoes. We managed to watch tonight's penumbral eclipse of the moon, although we were bobbing about too much for photos to come out, and decided to turn in for another windy night of creaking lines and whistling rigging.
sawyl: (A self portrait)
Another fairly early start to get to Emporios ahead of the worst of the weather. Pulling out of the shelter of Palionisos, we hit northerly winds of 15-20 knots and some decent waves. Wimping out of beating our way north, we motored until we reached Leros, where we put up the genoa. With a bit of tweaking - I wasn't impressed with my parents initial attempts at sail-setting - we were able to get up to 6.5 knots. As we came round the top of Kalymnos, we gybed to head south for Emporios, dropping the sail as we came about east to head between Kalavros and the island.

In Emporios we picked up another buoy and went into town for a look around. We had lunch at Kostas Taverna, where I had gigantes, baked feta, and fried aubergine and zucchini. Just down from us were an American couple talking climbing with a group of Germans on the next table. The Americans ordered, on the say-so of their neighbours, stuffed kalamari. When it arrived the man clearly had no idea what it was or where to start, so my mum went over to explain the situation!

After lunch we headed back to the boat and had a gentle afternoon while the wind got up. We went for late swim, I took a load of photos - including a cracking one of the rising moon - before home-made spaghetti for supper.

By evening, the wind had really got up - gusts over 25 knots - with the Turkish forecasts promising a drop back to the 15 kn ranges we'd seen earlier in the day. Here's hoping...
sawyl: (A self portrait)
Up at dawn to prepare for departure to Palionisos on Kalymnos. After an uneventful three hour passage, we found ourselves moored to a buoy in beautiful and dramatic gorge.

Not long after we arrived, a large Hanse pulled in behind us flying the Stars and Stripes. I was a little surprised to see an American-flagged boat until my dad noted that it was almost certainly Turkish and its flag indicated that it was owned by a corporation in Delaware to avoid tax.

After a swim and a pause for lunch, we took the dingy in to go to taverna for a drink and for the parents to show me some of the books about Kalymnos. There I met Porthetos - the patron - and his father who, in his distinctive cowboy hat, features in the introduction to the 2015 climbing guidebook.

Returning to the boat for the rest of the afternoon, we spent our time catching up and swimming and enjoying the local scenery.

At suppertime we went back to the taverna for food, where I had tzatziki, melitzanosalata, and some truly excellent zucchini balls. For dessert we had the house special: Greek yogurt with a delicious, homemade grape syrup.
sawyl: (Default)
Over on their blog, Pater has a good rant about a sudden H&S crackdown at their boatyard that is being used to gouge owners on the one hand and the workforce on the other:

It ... is now forbidden to sleep on boats in the yard, and it is forbidden to paint your own boat (a rumour that people would not be able to work on their own boats at all has been denied). Though this has not yet been put into effect, it will be part of the new contracts, which will include the labour cost of antifouling and half the cost of a hotel and car hire for ten days. To cover the cost of this the fees have been increased substantially. At the same time a contract no longer entitles you to use the marina, which means that an annual contract is pretty pointless. Moreover the yard has substantially cut the wages of its employees and increased their hours, with the promise of further cuts to come. The management pleads that this is all due to events outside their control — excessive demand for the marina, requirements of the health authorities, financial stringency. At best it is all a result of bad management, at worst it is a case of management trying to take advantage of the crisis at both ends, cutting costs by cutting wages and intensifying labour and raising revenue by jacking up fees.

Once a sociologist, always a sociologist...

sawyl: (Default)
I'm very washed out at the moment — too much doing, not enough sleeping — so instead of anything particularly profound, here's an amusing quote from chapter 54 of Daniel Deronda:

A lady was obliged to respond to these things suitably; and even if she had not shrunk from quarrelling on other grounds, quarreling with Grandcourt was impossible; she might as well have made angry remarks to a dangerous serpent ornamentally coiled in her cabin without invitation. And what sort of dispute could a woman of any pride and dignity begin on a yacht?

I'll have to remember to pass that on to my parents...

sawyl: (Default)
My parents seem to have decided, rather eccentrically, to re-enact the plot of Arthur Ramsome's We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea:

...after a couple of attempts to get the anchor in (it is very bad holding), decided to anchor further out, ran back and all the chain ran out — I had not tied a good enough knot on the end of the rope holding it in. So there we were with no anchor and £1000 of new anchor and chain on the bottom of the harbour.

The water was shallow enough that pater was able to dive and pick the chain, but still...

sawyl: (A sea picture)
The internet really does contain absolutely ever thing under the sun. Whilst googling for an photo of a boat of the same type as my parents, I happened across two rather nice photos which not only show the right class of boat, but the right sort of family too:

Search technology at its most miraculous.

sawyl: (A sea picture)
Not much of a sail today. After sitting with the sails up for an hour or so waiting for the wind to pick up, we gave up and motored down the Meganisi channel to Nidri. We found a spot on the key at Nidri next to a guy who had his kedge out a thirty degree angle and, despite trying to avoid it, we still managed to drop our anchor over it.

Just as we were preparing for lunch, the guy along side started to show signs that he was about to depart. After a brief discussion, we decided to clear the desks just in case we had to do something to get clear of the guy's anchor. When we mentioned the problem to him, he didn't seem all that bothered. He simply untied his kedge, asked us to pass it under our chain and back to him. He then started to move out very, very slowly, attempting to take up both his anchors as he did so. His lack of speed and the strength of the wind mean that as he moved out, he was gradually being pushed down on to us and was in serious danger of fouling himself on our chain. While pater and mater were standing in the bows gorping (pater claimed afterwards that mater had her feet on the anchor locker, further delaying any action), I fired up the engine and started pushing hard away from the quay. Realising what I'd done, pater dropped our chain just in time to prevent the departing guy from getting hideously tangled on us. Phew.

Once we'd tightened our chain back up and chomped down our lunch, we spent some time congratulating ourselves on the smooth way we'd handled things. As we were doing so, someone from the port authority came alone and told us we'd have to move because a load of tripper boats were going to arrive shortly and needed to make use of the quay (there was a no mooring sign, but it only appeared to apply to a short section of wall).

We quickly moved round and found a spot on the fishermans' quay a hundred metres further down and tied up as usual. Then, just as we finished tensioning the anchor line, the windlass stopped working. Pater and I spent the rest of the day checking the breakers, tracing the windlass circuits, testing the solenoid and the control lines, all of which appeared to be in perfect working order. When pater extracted the end cap from the windlass motor, we detected a suspicious smell of burning and found some flecks of ash. Investigating further, we found that the connection between the neutral and one of the brushes had burnt out and needed to be re-soldered.

Our initial attempts to fix the problem were not successful. Pater managed to screw the butane cylinder on to his blowtorch in such a way that immediately fell off again and started venting flammable gas all over the place. Once he'd found a replacement cylinder and failed to get the joint to solder correctly, he decided to disconnect the entire thing and take it to the electrician. Good thing he did because the insulation on the cable had started to go and the whole thing needed to be replaced.

When pater eventually got back from the electrician, we went to the Ionian for supper. It was very busy, probably because it's both very cheap and very good, so it took a while for the food to arrive. I had fasolakia, the nephew had spaghetti with cheese (he always does), pater had liver and onions, while mater had prawns.

I went back to the boat to pack my stuff almost as soon as we'd finished. The others wandered around Nidri and the nephew pronounced his opinion on the native american musicians who were playing an Andrew Lloyd Webber set.
sawyl: (A sea picture)
Determined to take advantage of the decent wind forecast, we decided to sail round Meganisi and then back to Sivota. Things started of gently but as the day wore on the wind veered from ESE to SW and got up from a couple of knots to 25–30. Approaching the southern tip of Meganisi, we decided that we were over canvased so we reefed the main and partially furled the genoa.

We cleared the island without any problems and tacked to head for Sivota. We came about rather smartly and pater, pleased that he'd managed to haul in the genny without my having to point up, remarked as much to anyone who might be listening. As he did so, there was a sound like a gunshot and genoa immediately started flapping.

I looked around and noticed that the starboard genoa sheet had snagged around one of the stanchions. For a moment, I thought that this was what had caused the problem. Then I noticed that the stanchion post, which not coincidentally also anchored the genoa furling line, had snapped completely clear the rail, where it had previously been bolted on. We were eventually able to furl the sail and headed for Sivota, where we tied up on the quay next to an absolutely beautiful Greek yacht which, we were staggered to discover, was 20 years old — it didn't look it; it was absolutely immaculate.

Once we were secure, pater and I started to investigate what had happened to the stanchion. We realised that when we'd moved from starboard to port tack, the furling line had been forced to take up some of the tension that had previously been on the port sheet and this had been sufficient to cause the bolts holding the stanchion post in place to shear. The irony is that if we hadn't reefed int the genny, the line wouldn't have been under tension and nothing would have happened...

Once we'd sorted this out, pater took the nephew off to buy presents for his little friends, while mater and I stayed in and could a vegetable risotto. The results were rather nice, but mater was dissatisfied, complaining that my risottos were tastier. When I asked her what sort of stock she'd used, the reason for the difference became clear: she hadn't used stock she'd used water. I'm not sure, can a dish still claim to be a risotto if it hasn't been made with stock?
sawyl: (A sea picture)
After heading into Vasiliki in the dingy for supplies, mater, the nephew and I walked up to the castle while pater went to an internet cafe to pick up his mail. After some initial teething problems — the nephew had confidently led us off up the wrong road (well, I supposed that's what happens if you trust the navigating to a six year-old) — we climbed the steps to the castle, only to find it closed for repairs, forcing us to console ourselves with the spectacular view.

After picking up pater, we slogged back to the boat with our shopping. On arrival, the nephew demanded that I take him for a ride, so we off-loaded the parents and the baggage, and went out on our own. Freed of all that extra weight, the dingy jumped on to the plane as soon as I opened the throttle and we spent a happy 10 minutes roaring around the bay like a couple of crazed speed fiends.

We left Vasiliki at around 11:30 and headed back the way we came, through Preveza and back out towards the Levkas canal. The wind got up to around 20–25kn, so we carefully trimmed the sails and reduced speed to try and ensure that we arrived at the canal bridge at exactly 14:00, so that we wouldn't have to hang around in the channel waiting for the bridge to open. Despite our second perfect timing, our plans were confounded: the bridge — actually a roll-on, roll-off ferry placed across the canal while the roads were being repaired — remained closed, the opening delayed by an hour.

We considered our options. Should we anchor in the channel or should we go out and sail around for an hour? Wanting an easy life, we opted for the former. Hah. Getting the anchor in turned out to be slightly tricky — the channel was narrow, the wind was strong and there were a number of other boats to avoid — but we managed to get the plough in and holding. Or so we thought. I was looking at the British boat astern of us, thinking, "Hmm, they're awfully close", and while part of me was wondering at this, another part was turning the ignition key, jamming the engine into gear and shouting to pater that the anchor was dragging. In the end, we only came within a couple metres of them, but it was not a pleasant experience. After carefully an painfully hauling the plough back up, we reset it and managed to stay in the same place until the bridge opened.

Once through the bridge, we chugged down the canal, observing the 4kn speed limit. As we did so, a charter boat full of Brits, came bearing down on us under full sail and forced us out into the middle of the channel. Not content with this, they then proceeded to sail underneath the guy in front(who was also under sail), forcing him to the edge of the dredged channel. I remarked on the obnoxiousness of this behaviour and said that the only thing they could possibly do to compound it was to try and luff the guy and, sure enough, that's exactly what they did: they dropped into his wind shadow and then tried to force him to point up!

On clearing the channel we set course for Nikiana and arrived in time to find a spot on the quay. I fluffed the first attempt to get the boat positioned — my excuse? the wind was gusting — but the second went awry when I called to mater to drop the anchor but she hadn't loosened the windlass and she managed to miss the drop. At this point, I got fed up with the whole business and handed over the helm to pater, who managed to get us into place without too many problems. It was at this point that everything started to go horribly wrong.

Having it made it in, I threw the lines to a couple of guys on the quay. As they passed the first line back, there was the sound of chain running out of control from the windlass so pater went forward to sort out the problem, whilst at the same time, the boat to starboard of suddenly started leaning very heavily on us as their anchor dragged. It was at this point that the guys on the quay threw back the line they'd failed to make fast and told me to untie the other one — stupid advice which I, rather credulously followed.

Having gone back out again, we then discovered that we couldn't get our anchor back up because it had snagged on one of the concrete blocks used to secure a set of lazy lines. I then spent a nervous half hour trying to keep the boat in position without mowing down my pater, who was in the diving to clear the snag. As we were doing this, we saw someone from the boat that had been to starboard of us reseting his anchor in his dingy. It turned out that his plough was completely covered in weed, suggesting that he hadn't bothered to snub it properly, so it would have dragged with the slightest provocation and that it hadn't been disturbed anything that we'd done.

Deciding that discretion was the better part of valour, we abandoned our attempts to moor on the quay and anchored off round the corner. We called P and K, who'd just arrived back from England, and we all went out to dinner at Pane & Vino. We had a good gossip about some of the parents sailing mishaps, including the time when they pulled up the anchor in Levkada only to find that they'd also snagged the grapple of a nearby floating restaurant (as P said, "Well, that's alright. It's not like you'd want to eat there..."), and by the time we got back to the boat, the wind had dropped off, the sea was calm as a millpond and there was a wonderfully clear view of milky way. A great end to a crap day.


Jul. 31st, 2007 07:43 pm
sawyl: (A sea picture)
Up early to see Constantinos on to the Flying Dolphin to Corfu. He had to get back home to sign a new employment contract before everyone goes away for their summer holidays and he didn't really fancy the idea of the 6 hour bus ride from to Athens. I can't say I really blame him.

We left Gaios around 11:30, via the southeastern harbour entrance — a rather tense affair, given that the boat draws two metres and the depth was just over two metres, but we made it without grounding. Once we were clear of Paxos, we set course for Levkada and debated our final destination, eventually plumping for Vasiliki. By mid-afternoon, the wind had got up sufficiently for us to carry the spinnaker and we made good time to the Preveza channel. Once past Preveza, we ran down to Vasiliki and arrived at around 18:00.

We decided not to bother mooring at the quay — the distance between the breakwater and the quay is such that it's hard to do in a big, heavy boat — and didn't like the idea of anchoring off the town with an onshore wind. Instead we decided to anchor in just around the corner from the town, in the lee of a small island with a church on it. We decided that we'd arrived too late to go ashore for supper so we had boat spaghetti. Yum!
sawyl: (A sea picture)
A day of enforced idleness while to allow the nephew more time to play with his friend. Constantinos took a boat trip to the west side to check out the blue caves before continuing on to Anti-Paxos. Having seen the caves before and being worried about getting sunburnt, I decided to spend my day tucked up with a book.

Over dinner at a small taverna in the square, C related the tale of the scar on his forehead. He got it earlier this year, when he agreed to let an ex-girlfriend use his car to practice her driving skills. The were on a mountain road when she misjudged a turn — the camber was against the direction of the bend — so badly that car went of the road and rolled down the hill. Needless to say, C wasn't wearing a seat belt, so he was forced to hang on to the door handle and the handbrake. He escaped with a nasty cut and various other badness whilst his ex walked away completely unscathed. The car was completely written off.

After dinner, we went to a small cafe — C insisted on treating us, despite all the times we've stayed with his family in Athens over the years — where mater had an iced chocolate and pater had a Greek coffee. I was particularly amused by the witless sloans on the next table who, for some reason, insisted on ordering in bad Italian, despite the waiter's rather good English.
sawyl: (A sea picture)
Left Mourtos early to head for Paxos, to visit a friend of my nephew's in Gaios. He'd made friends with a kid whose parents had just moved to Greek from South Africa after the family patriarch, an emigrant from Paxos, had decided to return home after making good in SA. Needless to say, for a six year old kid who'd just started at a Greek school, meeting an English child of the same age was something of a godsend and the two of them got on like a house on fire.

Having left Mourtos early, we managed to arrive in Gaios in time to get a spot on the quay. It was such a good spot that, for the first time this visit, I decided to stay at the helm and take the boat in, rather than handing over to pater.

Mooring in a big heavy boat like ours is a bit on the tricky side and requires a steady nerve, partly because the boat needs to be moving quite fast astern in order to have any steerage and partly because, when going astern, the propeller has a strong tendency to walk the stern round. But once you've got the hang of things — the trick is to accelerate hard so that you've got steerage and then drop into neutral to prevent prop walk problems — it's not too bad.

Most of the rest of the day was taken up with reading, while the children went off to a beach somewhere, Constantinos went to Anti-Paxos, pater pottered around fixing things and mater went to the beach. For supper, we went to Pan and Theo's taverna, just across the road from the boat.

Updated: My attempts to go to bed early were foiled by a guy who was absolutely convinced that he could get his fat assed motor boat into a gap just down from us that was at least half a metre too narrow for it. After much shouting and much concern that he'd dropped his anchor over us, he made his first attempt to moor but was forced to give up when he managed to bump into the boats on either side. He managed to persuade one of the other boats to tighten their lines to free up some more space — not that much persuasion was required, given that their only other choice was yet another bumping — and eventually managed to tie up in the gap.

What an unpleasant and stressful end to the day.
sawyl: (A sea picture)
I was woken by my nephew pounding on the cabin door to tell me that Constantinos had just arrived from Athens, after catching the 06:30 flight. C and I went for a wander round the town before stopping in a cafe for breakfast and to catch up on the last decade of our lives.

Having studied economics in Athens, C was very unimpressed by the lack of scientific rigour involved. He said that most of the course was about how to use market economics to get rich quick and that a number of the professors were either government ministers or civil servants with monetarist axes to grind. He said that at one point, when they were studying the stock market, the professors encouraged the students to make investments based on their theoretical knowledge and as a result, one student managed to lose $20k when the market bombed. Fed up academia, he abandoned the scholastic life in favour of jazz piano and career behind the scenes at Greek TV.

Returning from breakfast, C and I passed our time boggling at the people on the other side of the quay. We even got to see the Great Man himself, who C was convinced was a James Bond villain, as he returned from his morning cycle rid. We knew it was him because he was leading a skein of security people, wearing a bright fluorescent Lycra top (all the minions were wearing black) and when he arrived, the yacht crew stopped goofing around and brought out towels and glasses of water on salvers for him. A few minutes later, the helicopter pilot — again in his socks — came round to warn us about an impending departure, and the Great Man off back to Moscow or London or wherever it was he'd sprung from the previous evening.

We too decided to make our excuses and leave. We tanked up with water and headed over to Mourtos on the mainland. A mere three hours later — there was no wind and we were forced to motor the whole way — we were tied up on the quay (next to a boat proudly flying the Devonian flag, no less) so that pater could spend the evening gluing the rubbing strip back on to the dingy using some Greek glue he'd bought to replace the stuff he'd had confiscated at Birmingham airport.

Once the glue was dry, we had dinner at Maria and Georgio's taverna where, as usual, we managed to over order. Not the worst thing in the world, considering the quality of the stuffed aubergine.
sawyl: (A sea picture)
Managed to sleep pretty well, despite the seas, and woke up bright and early ready for the morning watch. As soon as the sun came up we cracked out the sails and pondered out plans. We'd had a vague, unformed idea that we might stop at Ereikoussa for the night and make for Corfu tomorrow, but we all felt that we'd far rather get our long sail over and done with, so we pressed on and reached Corfu Town at around 16:00.

Mooring up on the NAOK quay, we found ourselves almost directly opposite a pair of Cayman Islands registered super yachts. The Allegria was fairly vasty and moderately stunning, but the Samar, with its helicopter deck was completely stupendous. All afternoon, a stream of minibuses arrived to drop off shopping — plants, food, bikes, you name it — for both yachts. When I saw a guy dropping off a vast crate of peaches, I suddenly found myself thinking of Jay Gatsby and his parties:

Every Friday five crates of oranges and lemons arrived from a fruiterer in New York—every Monday these same oranges and lemons left his back door in a pyramid of pulpless halves. There was a machine in the kitchen which could extract the juice of two hundred oranges in half an hour, if a little button was pressed two hundred times by a butler's thumb.

The best, however, was yet to come. Once the provisioning process had been completed, an American guy — shoeless, but unlike the rest of us who were slumming it in bare feet, wearing white socks — came round to warn us that the helicopter would be departing in quarter of an hour and that we might need to secure any loose items to prevent the downdraft from blowing them away.

While we made our preparations, the crew on the Samar made theirs. These involved lowering of the railing around the helicopter deck, playing the James Bond theme on their sound system and helping three of the crew struggling into fire fighting apparatus. I really felt for firefighters. Not only did they have to wear fireproof overalls and breathing apparatus in a 40 degree heat, but they also had to cower on the deck below the helipad, ready to rush up at a moments notice, but sufficiently hidden to prevent the incomming oligarch from having thoughts of mortality.

Tired out by our exciting day, we decided not to eat out and had aubergine risotto on the boat. Supertime entertainment came thanks to the French guy on the boat alongside, who managed to tip his keys out of his breast pocket whilst leaning out from the quay to check the tension on his lines. Boy, was he annoyed.

sawyl: (A sea picture)
Left Kotor at around 07:30, heading for Corfu. Not a moment too soon in my view — the gulf was choked with smoke from forest fires elsewhere in Croatia, with terrible visibility, a strong reek of smoke and ash falling from the sky. After clearing the bay at around 10:00, we set course for the Vlorë peninsula. The weather was pretty good, with the initially calm conditions giving way to 25kn of wind from the northwest, and 3-4 metre seas.

The tedium of the afternoon was briefly interrupted by the unexpected arrival of a bat, which flittered around the boat for a few minutes before eventually landing and tucking itself up in a small cranny in the stern rail. We were slightly baffled by its appearence because we were 25 miles off-shore — can bats fly that far? — and it was daylight.

We had spaghetti for supper — mater doing stirling work in the galley, despite the seas. We prepared for the night by switching from sails to engine, setting up a two mile radar watch and, in my case heading to bed early, ready to take the early morning watch.
sawyl: (A sea picture)
Took the gang out for a sail to celebrate Paul's 41st birthday. We wandered slowly down the gulf — there wasn't much wind — and anchored one of the small islands close to Perast. Most people went ashore for a close up view of the churches, while mater and I stayed aboard to deal with any potential anchor problems.

After a lazy day, distinguished only by the arrival of a very large cruise ship in Kotor, we ditched the rest of the gang and went for pizzas at the Cittadella.
sawyl: (A sea picture)
The flight to Dubrovnik passed pretty uneventfully, or at least it did once the security people at Birmingham had confiscated the bottles of glue that pater had foolishly included in his hand baggage. On arrival, we immediately picked up a taxi and headed for the Montenegrin border, spending a less than half an hour on Croatian soil.

Ninety minutes later, after a gentle meandering journey round the edge of the gulf, we arrived in Kotor. We took a very brief wander around the old town before meeting up with Chris, Jane, Paul, Larissa, Izzy and Amber at the Cittadella for supper. The general consensus was that while the pizzas, the spaghetti bolognese and the quattro formaggi pastas were good, the sea food pasta was far from great. The kids were generally well behaved — especially poor Am, who had to wait 20 minutes longer than everyone else for her pasta — and a good time was had by all.

Somewhat strangely, the conversation turned to the merits (or otherwise) of FPS — something that had last come up on Sunday with S and R. I came out as pro, probably because my primary education had been so bad, while Larissa, Jane and mater were in the anti camp.
sawyl: (Default)
Thanks to Dan Dennett, I now have a name for my outlook on life: Panglossian pessimism. Dennett summarises the view in a rather amusing footnote in Darwin's Dangerous Idea:

The Panglossian pessimist says, "Isn't it a shame that this is, after all, the best of all possible worlds!" Imagine a beer commercial: As the sun sets over thee mountains, one of the hunks lounging around the campfire intones, "It doesn't get any better than this!"—at which point his beautiful companion bursts into tears: "Oh no! Is that really true?" It wouldn't sell much beer.

If you haven't already read it, I seriously recommend Darwin's Dangerous Idea. Any book that manages to mention both the British Seagull outboard and Borges' fantastic Library of Babel fully deserves the moniker, tour-de-force. Or at least it does to me.


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