July 12th 2018

Won’t you get bored by yourself for all that time?

Well, if there was a day to get bored it was yesterday. Want to know how much progress we made? 17 miles. At this rate the two-week voyage is going to take two months.

But from the very first (three O’clock in the morning) it looked as this was going to be a day of going nowhere. In fact, for pretty much the whole day, the sails were furled, Samsara rolled through 500 in a snappy two seconds and it might have been fairly easy to sit wedged at the chart table and grumble.

Yet, somehow that doesn’t happen out here. We’re now five days out in the Atlantic – it’s three since I’ve seen a ship. I did pick up the world news from a short wave station in Thailand (Did I hear right, Boris Johnson has resigned over Brexit?) But essentially, this a bubble. The world has shrunk to 31ft 10in x 8ft 9in. Time is measured not by the clock but by mealtimes. So, what can I remember of yesterday?

I do remember taking off all my clothes and wandering around the boat in the buff. It felt wonderful – until there was a creeping sensation of parts of me beginning to burn.

Since a bit of maintenance gets done every day, this was clearly the occasion to tackle a really fiddly bit of wood-stripping. It took nearly three hours, feet at awkward angles, braced against the incessant rolling but with a bit of inventiveness (including a Conwy District Council library card to protect the instruments from the sandpaper), I managed to get it all done – and earned the reward of a corned beef sandwich with mayonnaise, pickles and HP sauce.

And I’ve started to write another novel. Ever since publishing the one from the attic on Amazon (see the tab above) felt this nagging urge to do a second. Would really like to know if I’m any good at it  – especially since Number Three Son Owen graduated from the University of East Anglia’s Creative Writing course. He has a whole lifetime ahead of him to make his mark as a writer. I seem to have spent mine producing reams of journalism which somehow doesn’t seem to count as a legacy in quite the same way – although if you’re looking for a real journalist I can still quote you Vincent Mulchone verbatim.

So, out came the blue folder with its blank Sainsburys Low Price A4 ruled refill pad and now the first of its 200 sheets contains a basic plot. Without any apparent effort, this was followed by a handful of characters (all pinched from real life – mustn’t forget to add that bit about “any resemblance to persons living or dead”). I’m going to do it the right way this time as well – first chapter and synopsis. Last time I wrote 108,000 words before I sent it to anyone – and they wanted it cut to 60,000.

I’ve been so busy, I’m late for lunch…


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