Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Homecoming Week

While it’s often true that “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”, Patrick and I have discovered this week that “you don’t know what you’ve got till you get it back”.  Coming home has been a process of rediscovering comforts and conveniences that we didn’t have on the boat, but that we didn’t really miss until we got home and "remembered".  Here’s a short list:

Hot water.  This stuff is great for washing dishes and taking showers.  On the boat, we have to heat up a kettle of water for the dishes, but I never really minded since I can make a nice after-dinner herbal tea at the same time.  Showers deserve their own category.

Showers.  Public showers in the port offices come in many flavours, from chic (Jersey) to infected pits (Camaret).  Most are passably clean, but almost none have temperature controls, and having a really hot shower is simply out of the question.  They keep the temperature at a carefully-studied level just above that which provokes complaint. The other water-saving trick is to operate the showers with tokens (1 or 2 euros), giving you access to exactly 7 minutes of luke-warm water.  Showering barefoot is another joy we’ve rediscovered, since you never, ever put a naked foot down on the public shower stalls.  We love our crocs, but I’m tickled pink to shower barefoot again.

Standing fully upright while cooking.  We’d almost forgotten how fun that is.

Laundry.  Patrick is a bit of a laundry freak.  It’s one of his favourite sports and borders on obsessive-compulsive.  I thought life on the boat would be good for him since the extra effort  required would wean him off his habit gently.  Finding good public laundry services near a marina is not so easy, but we usually manage to find a well-placed laundrette every 3 weeks or so, and hand-washing easy-to-dry items is a weekly occurrence.  When we got home, Patrick went into high-gear, making up for an entire summer of missed laundry opportunities. Even I will admit it’s nice to have really clean (and DRY) clothes again.

Dry clothes and sheets.  For most of the summer, this wasn’t a problem since the humidity was relatively low.  But during our last week or so at sea, the temperatures started getting lower and the humidity / condensation on the boat higher.  It’s no fun to crawl into a clammy bed at night, or to put on a cold damp shirt in the morning.  I really need to put clothes in sealable plastic bags, but I didn’t think this would be an issue in the summer.

Our bed.  The mattress on the boat is reasonably comfortable and we had no complaints, but when we sank down into our super memory-foam mattress the first night, we could feel the muscles in our backs relaxing in ways they simply hadn’t in months.

The barbeque.  We barbeque year round on a small Weber gas grill and almost never cook meat or fish of any kind inside the house.  We will invest in a small gas grill for the boat. 

Letting our hair down.  When I knew we would be living on a boat for long stretches of time, I opted for longish hair that can be simply pulled back in a pony tail for sailing and otherwise ignored for months.  The downside is that I end up spending 90% of my waking hours with my hair pulled back, and 10% with it down but contorted from its imprisonment in a tight elastic, making me wonder if it just wouldn’t be better to cut it all off.  I even had an idea for a new blog based on short hair: bad haircuts around the world.  Having been home for a few days now and not spending 8-9 hours a day exposed to the elements, I’m enjoying having my long hair (especially as it’s become quite chilly here.)  Patrick, on the other hand, is now sporting a 3 day beard, whittled down just this morning from a 10 day scraggly mess by our local Turkish barber who used fire to burn out the hair in his ears !  Quite a performance !  We’ll see how easy (or difficult) it is to maintain at sea.  He certainly won’t miss shaving every day.

Colors other than blue and white.  I didn’t realize it was fall until we were in the car driving home through the countryside and was gobsmacked by all the fall colors.  At sea, our eyes became accustomed to a palette of blues and whites, sometimes punctuated by a little green or sand/rock muted earthtone colors.

Having said all this, we would both hop back in the boat in a heartbeat and are more than a little frustrated that “real life” has settled in and it doesn’t look like we’ll be able to get away for even a little local sail for at least 4 weeks.