Thursday, June 28, 2012

Is that a guitar in your lap or are you just happy to see me?

I have just started learning the guitar, and goodness me! Isn't it a marvellous instrument? Not only do I feel like Leonard Cohen (I sound like shit but in my head it's all Cohen) but I'm developing suitably rock-god-like calluses.

This is all very well and good, these calluses, and I am deriving a great deal of pleasure showing friends and loved ones my toughened digits (tapping them on benchtops, desks, any hard surface, "See look! Look! Can't feel a thing!"), but I'm beginning to realise that with every gain to my hardening fingertips there is an equal and opposite loss of everyday functionality.

You see, I'm discovering that wicked string-stopping calluses mean no fine fingertip sensitity.

This may sound like a small thing but the consequences are potentially massive (or at least very slightly life-changing in a handful of mildly inconsequential ways).

You see, I can no longer use chopsticks gracefully, or peel grapes, or pick lint off my clothes.

Or type properly, or do up bottons with aplomb. And my days as a hand-model? Over, baby.

I know what you're thinking, I probably couldn't do these things beforehand and you'd be absolutely right, but now that I really can't I'm starting to wonder what other inconsequential things I've been doing on a daily basis (like a chump) that I can get away with not doing, like working, cooking, vacuuming (occasionally), parenting, you know, participating meaningfully in society and shit.

So tonight I'm giving it all up for the couch, a glass of red and my guitar. Every once in a while it's good to be me.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

So I went sailing on the Endeavour and stuff

Now that the histrionics of my last post have passed, I can get on with actually telling you about my trip on the Endeavour.

And what holiday re-telling is complete without a turgid holiday snap slide-show? None that's what, so here we find ourselves, turgid slide-show and all. So I entreat you to settle down with a nice cup of tea (or a beer if it's after 10am). Ready? Great, let's get started.

Slide number one, please.

Like all good holidays on the high seas, mine started with an interstate trip to the library. But not just any library, the National Library in Canberra which very conveniently happened to be showing an exhibition on Patrick White the day I was passing through (en route Sydney to Eden, where the Endeavour was docked).

My darling parents very conveniently live in Canberra so accompanied me to the exhibition where we nerded up a storm then ate Nicoise salads and drank wine at the library's cafe. It was a very, very good several hours.

After the Patrick White nerdgasm subsided I got back on the bus to Eden. We rattled south through Canberra then on to Cooma, where we stopped for a meal break.

In Cooma it was inhumanly cold; the little sign above says six degrees. I would have taken a better photo but my fingers froze so this was all I could do. Sorry about that.

We eventually made it to Eden at some late hour. I had the nine-hours-on-a-bus crazies:

But sent my family this photo instead, so they wouldn't worry:

Then I slept and had a nightmare about being stuck on a bus for nine hours and having to stop at Cooma and freeze my arse off and then getting the crazies in a budget hotel room in Eden (no wait).

The next morning started with instant coffee (which we won't speak of), then, goodness, this:

And look! This:

Is it not the most beautiful boat you've ever seen? I think so too.

On the boat there was lots of rope.

We eased it and hauled it, then we coiled it. Rope is cool.

When we weren't on watch (four hours on, eight hours off) we were scoffing food down in the teeny weeny galley (or, more likely, playing cards):

Or trying to get some sleep in the hammocks:

Or up on deck enjoying the wonder of it all:

[Thank you, dear crew member Foremast Number Six, for helping me climb aloft. You rock Mr P.]

Despite the sleep deprivation, the non-surfeit of showers, the sometimes-we-work toilets and the constant rolling of the boat under our feet, coming home was very hard and I wasn't at all sure I wanted the voyage to end. Sailing into Sydney harbour (almost) made the end bearable:

And after a week at sea nothing, absolutely freakin' nothing, could have tasted better than this did:

Where to from here? My small boy and I were out on the ferries again the following Sunday, and I'm busily planning my next trip into the great blue. Huzzah.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The worst thing about writing a nonsense blog is that every now and again life slaps you in the face and what you want to write about doesn't fit the frippery you've been throwing around.

This, of course, comes with the danger that you're taking yourself too seriously and there's nothing worse than that (really, absolutely nothing).

So what to say? I want to tell you that I sailed on the Endeavour for a week and it was the best week of my life and the worst. It was physically hard, mentally hard, cold, wet, rushed, panicked, incomprehensible.

But it was also ridiculously fun, other worldly, companionable, magnificent, irreplaceable, unrepeatable.

For the first time in my life I get this:

There is no static middle ground, really. Who are we kidding? We swing right across the spectrum in everything we do. And I like that. If we didn't, how would we know we're alive?

Time to sign off before you start snorting in derision at me.