Where does time go?

I know, I’ve been really bad at updating this blog recently.  My heart is definitely in it but my brain has just been so busy.  My new job keeps me out of the house most of the day and I’ve had to catch up on household jobs in the evenings.  I’m sure it’ll settle down once I get to grips with the demands of the job and plan my household work better but for now, do forgive the sporadic writing.  There is plenty of news so I’ll write a few blogs to update you but spread them out a little so you don’t get inundated with my witterings.

Firstly we’ve had some tremendous weather – and tremendous weather at weekends so frankly the garden and chickens were abandoned and off we headed to the water.  My daughter and I headed to the beach hut with various friends and my husband took other friends out on the boat.  It was just fantastic to have base down on the sea front, somewhere to store beach basics and somewhere to make a cup of tea or even a light supper.  Even better my husband came by, moored up and rowed to visit us.  We could all swim out to the boat and jump off into the sea.

A couple of weekends ago it was so still that the sea was incredibly clear.  With the boat moored up in around 3m of water we could still see crabs wandering about on the sea bed.  We’d been organised enough to take our snorkels down and my daughter and her friend had a lovely time jumping on and off the inflatable kayak and checking out the sealife.

It’s days like that where you really appreciate living in Bournemouth – such a wonderful place and a fantastic way to live.

Mmm - mackerel!

Mmm – mackerel!

Sunny days

Sunny days

Beautiful clear beach.

Beautiful clear beach.


Big changes and new beginnings

Spring may have been cold but it was also dramatic and very exciting for our family. After much decision making I decided to take a complete career change – following many years organising events, and a few less teaching swimming I was after a new challenge, one that fitted better into our current family lifestyle.

I managed to land a completely new full time job and started work at the beginning of April.  Suddenly from having flexible working hours, working on my own and being soaked in chlorine I was at my new desk first thing and front of house till the end of the day.  What a change and what fun!  I’m thoroughly enjoying the change, the team is great and it’s a fun challenge.  Next I just need to work out how to fit in the networking / colleague meetings over coffee that I used to enjoy so much.

The other exciting news was a wedding in the family – my eldest stepson tied the knot at the beginning of May.  My daughter was overjoyed to be a bridesmaid and my husband was so proud to see his first child getting married.  We were so lucky with the weather, a Spring of cold and rain broke during the week and the wedding weekend dawned bright and sunny.  The wedding day stayed fine and it all went off wonderfully.  The bride looked beautiful, my stepson gorgeous, my daughter stunning, my husband super-handsome and I even managed to get eye makeup with enough waterproof qualities to mean it didn’t end up on my cheeks! It was a brilliant party, thoroughly enjoyable and totally personal – oh, I do love a wedding.


To complete our happy Spring we had one more piece of good news…after 3 or 4 years of waiting we were offered an annual let on a beach hut.  No more limiting ourselves to 3 weeks in the summer and hoping the weather was good.  No more hanging on the phone lines in January to secure the right hut for the right dates.  Instead we can look forward to a long year of playing in the sea, sipping a cool beer as the sun sets over the water, Sunday morning pancakes with added sand and swimming out to my husband on his fishing boat.  Spring may have been cold but all-in-all an excellent season.Hut

And so the 2013 fishing begins…

What a strange Winter and Spring it has been – it feels like we’ve barely been outside but the period from New Year to now has flown by.  Thankfully our boat didn’t need much work on it this year – well, there are always things that my husband wants to do.  Grand future projects that impress me no end with his incredible vision but for now he serviced the engine, re-painted inside and out and mended a few errant parts.  All in all we got to see a lot more of him than we did previous winters – and how lovely was that!

So, come the beginning of April the boat was ready to go into the water…and joy of joys, it snowed as it was going in and what’s more shocking – the sea was only 4˚C!  That’s very cold for the time of year and sadly it meant that the mackerel were definitely not biting.

Did I tell you our exciting news?  No 1 son is getting married next month and we’re all looking forward to it enormously, especially our daughter who is a bridesmaid.  The master plan was for my husband to catch enough mackerel for the starter.  The bizarre seasons did not help – in fact they kiboshed the plan completely.

Instead my husband settled for a few gentle trips on the boat, a little more work on the engine and a more relaxed aim to catch anything that would jump onboard.  The week before the wedding, he managed to land 6 fish (1 Black Bream and some unknown fish that we think are Pouting). So we couldn’t supply the wedding but we could start the fish season in style and enjoy the catch.  I look forward to many more fish this year, especially the onboard sushi’d Mackerel.

The last weekend of boating…

Well, I have to give you some news…my husband has taken his boat out fishing for the last time this year.  It’s due to head to dry land for the winter for a clean and some winter tweaking.
Oh, hang on a minute – it’s still in the water and he took it out again this weekend.  Well how can that be?  I’m sure he told us that he was going fishing for the last time this year, last weekend. And the weekend before, and the weekend before that and so on.  My daughter and I now burst out laughing every time he takes the boat out as it’s always preceded by those words ” you must come with me, it’s the last time I’m taking the boat out this year”.

We honestly don’t want to miss the last bit of boating of the year but we just don’t know when it’ll be.  A few years ago we had a wonderful trip out to sea one November and whilst we didn’t go swimming we did enjoy some warm sunshine.  The weather this year has been so peculiar that we’re getting a load of rain in the week but luckily the weekends  have been bright and clear.  Hence, we hold on a little longer and off trots my husband fishing rod and worms in hand. Unfortunately, the fish have decided they’ve had enough and they have gone south (or deep?) and disappeared so no more fresh fish for us this year.

However we do have an amazingly crazy husband and father who got up at 6am to head out to sea.  The sky was bright and clear but there was the little matter of a frost – the first frost of the year.  This meant I had to scrap ice off my car.  So whilst we went and did our lengths in the swimming pool, my husband had his smile frozen on his face as he snuck in another boat trip.  There are two reasons I love our boat – the fish, and that smile.  I hope we keep on boating long into winter!

Fresh mackerel


Have you tried fresh mackerel?  No come on, I don’t mean fish you’ve just brought from the supermarket or fishmonger.  I mean the fish that has been just caught from the sea.  OK, I’m very lucky I know a slightly crazy and friendly fisherman (ie husband!) who likes to head out to sea at the weekends.  He has a particular penchant for catching mackerel which is fantastic as they’re one of my favourite fish.  One weekend a few years ago he came back with 74 fish!  We ended up distributing them to friends up and down our street and filling our freezer.

He’s since tried to focus on catching other fish – sea bream, sea bass and plaice amongst others.  They’re great and quite delicious but I think the difference between supermarket and fresh mackerel is so significant I would be as happy as Larry just to get a net full of those each week.

One of our favourite ways to spend the evening is sitting on our boat in the mooring eating freshly caught and lightly cooked mackerel as the sun goes down.

As the season comes to an end, we’ve had far too few evenings eating fresh fish on our boat but our freezer is full of mackerel and so I raise a glass to the produce of the sea and my husband for bringing it home to us.  Here’s to next season and better weather.


Late night swimming

There’s one last fabulous memory from the summer that I wanted to share with you and then I’m going to have to put Summer away and get on with Autumn.

My niece came to visit when the Air Festival was on and as part of those celebrations there were two nights of fireworks.  On the Saturday night we decided to go see the show.  They’re based over towards the centre of Bournemouth but with our beach hut over in the West we decided to head there and go for a swim to watch them!  My husband thought about coming with us but his call of the sea is different to ours!  With a full moon and a still night, he just had to go out on the boat.  So, an hour before the start of the fireworks me, my daughter and niece headed down to the beach.  We had our wetsuits with us and as we were donning them, there was a green glow on the sea over towards Hengistbury Head.  We chatted by phone and indeed it was him, heading towards us.  We were really tempted to swim out to the boat, as we’ve done in daylight, but felt that it would be a bit dangerous as we had no reflective material or lights on our suits so would be invisible to him.

It was a lovely mild evening so whilst my husband anchored out at sea the three of us girls walked into the sea.  We could see enough with the moonlight to avoid the stones and watch the small waves as they washed up the beach.  It was stunning to have the sea to ourselves and muck about in the semi-dark (I’m not known as the sensible Aunt in the family!)

The fireworks were interesting but the sheer beauty and peace of the sea far surpassed them and increased my love for the sea.  I’ll be doing it again next year and hopefully doing more sea swimming before then.  You never know I may get my husband to join us next year!

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside!

What a joy it is to be back in Bournemouth – since last weekend I’ve indulged in my favourite summer past-times and it’s been fabulous.

Firstly, I had to do some emergency gardening.  It’s not that my garden needed emergency attention – I did!  My garden keeps me sane for much of the year and so with a bit of tweaking, cutting, tying back, repositioning and general appreciation I felt much better.
Then we got to Friday evening and what else could we do but take the boat out for a pootle into the harbour.  With our daughter and a friend aboard we chugged on down to a mooring, tied off and I was nagged mercilessly until I jumped in the water and swam to shore.  Usually I love swimming in the sea but my month sojourn in London has made me soft and I haven’t been able to build up any hardiness.  However, after a full 30 minutes of relentless nagging I decided I had to get in.  So the three of us left my husband to cook dinner (not sure who got the raw deal there) and we swam and squelched to shore.  The squelching came from the low tide and the supreme muddiness of the harbour. I’d been a super-generous mother  and donated my swimming shoes so I was bare foot.  The mud oozing between my toes wasn’t the most pleasant experience – only because I had no clue what else I was standing on.  Having said that – I enjoyed being back in the water, seeing the Swifts swooping down for bugs and nurturing my crazy side.

Finally Saturday arrived and we got the keys for the hired beach hut.  Two weeks of chilling (as in relaxing, not getting cold!) by the sea.  We took down our bits and bobs – towels, food, body boards, sun cream etc.  We then laid out the deck chairs, got out our books and breathed a huge sigh. Ah, to be back in Bournemouth, watching and listening to the sea – the ony thing I could do to improve it is to have  my chickens down there with us all!  We have discussed it but not at all sure they’d like it!