For the small things in life worth mentioning but perhaps not worth an entry of their own
I have several part written blog entries and a few others that I’ve thought seriously about but not posted. These may or may not see the light of day.
This week is likely to be the last sail of the season. They’ve not said as much but given how early we’ll have to be off the water I can’t see managing the week after. I both am and am not ready for the season to be over.
I have some exciting plans for the off season
For the past few weeks I’ve been writing a new 101 in 1001 list. It’s over four years since I last had an active 101 in 1001 list and I think this is a very different list to the ones I’ve had before.
Current powerchair mileage is roughly 135
I’ve been enjoying watching the paralympics but am sad they’re over and wishing I’d made the time to watch more.
Earlier this week I raised a small and tangentially access related niggle with someone. Good: they really got it. It’s not something that can do anything about but perhaps my raising it will prevent it happening again. Bad: I felt the need to start said conversation with “I know this is kinda bitchy but…”
A friend from uni and I went to see Mamma Mia the Musical in Birmingham. It was excellent. If we’d been able to go on the date we were originally supposed to (I changed the tickets as engineering works would have meant rail replacement to/from Leamington Spa) I would have tried to get tickets to go a second time. But unfortunately we went to the matinee on the last day.
There doesn’t seem to have been a lot of reading going on lately. Basically unless I’ve been on a train it’s unlikely I’ve been reading.
There are, perhaps, five Tuesday evening sails left this year. I personally suspect only four but five is most likely and the most it could be is six. Although the person who runs sailability always says when asked “we try to keep sailing until the clocks change” I think I’ve only ever sailed in October once. In a way I look forward to the off season and what that will bring – I have a couple of very exciting things planned for October and later in the year. But most of me isn’t ready for the hot day, sunshine and sailing to come to an end. How can it be practically September already?!
It’s been a good year for sailing – very few have been cancelled due to the weather, although there have been one or two where sailing has run but I’ve chosen not to go on the water once I’ve seen the conditions. But as much as it has been a good year I did go through a real spell of feeling like I lost my confidence in sailing and had to fight to get it back. That was more of a trust/anxiety thing than because of any particular bad experience and as much as I could go into the exact in and outs they aren’t really relevant any longer and don’t matter. In the last weeks conditions have been gentler and the sun has been shining and slowly – very slowly – it’s been coming back and I’ve been finding my enjoyment of the water once again.
A big part of it was a general loss of confidence (and higher levels of anxiety) that I seemed to experience when my powerchair broke and everything shifted in my life unexpectedly as a result of that. Sailing confidence is back but I’m still working on my confidence in the new powerchair. It will come, it’s just taking longer than I’d like. I do think that I’ll always struggle somewhat with anxiety and confidence though and especially with sailing because by it’s very nature it forces me to do something that can be a huge trigger for me (I tend to find it very difficult to feel safe if I’m not in my wheelchair).
And tonight I got to watch another gorgeous Farmoor sunset. In the past couple of months I’ve mostly been getting lifts from my Dad so I’ve not seen many as we don’t stay for a drink after meaning we’ve been away before the sunsets. But tonight we did – and Dad fished my phone out of the car for me to take some photos.
The last weekend in May was the Challenger Class Association Oxford Regatta. And this year the Oxford regatta was also the English National Championships.
For various reasons I stopped attending any of the regattas other than the Oxford one a few years ago. Part of me would like to go to more of them but it was definitely the right decision. This year I very nearly didn’t take part in the Oxford regatta either but I’m so glad I did, I had a brilliant time.
I’ve written in previous years about the difficulties I face with regattas – I’ve struggled a lot first with being able to sail so many times in a short period (usually the fleet goes out four times over two days) and then when I could manage that many sails, with being able to tolerate being in the boat for the long periods of time required.
Those problems are the main reason (although with my anxiety and spatial awareness issues which are linked in this case) that I still sail in the bronze fleet rather than moving into the silver as I’ve previously been encouraged to.
This year it felt like for the first time everything came together at once and worked. The weather was good (I even did one of my sails with just a t shirt under my lifejacket), the wind although flukey with occasional gusts was at a managable level. I had no problems getting a buddy to sail with and we had such a great time sailing together. I managed to get out on the water every time the fleet went out. I didn’t get freaked out. And I didn’t get too sore being in the boat for long periods. It was uncomfortable, especially towards the end of the sails and I was achy after but it was tolerable in a way it hasn’t been before.
There were three of us sailing in the bronze fleet this year. Out of six races, we were jockeying for position and our ranking varied. We even had a couple of “photo finishes” But I won four of the six races (for the Bronze fleet). And I won the Bronze fleet – coming 9/12 overall.
Which means that I am the Challenger Class Association Bronze Fleet English National Champion 2016.
It’s the second time I’ve been champion. The last time, several years ago, I beat one other person by 1 point and I didn’t really feel like I deserved it. This time I beat two other people and was 5 points in front of the person who came second. It was more of a challenge to achieve that this time so it really feels like more of a real thing than it did before.
The weather was so bad on Monday that I was sure I wouldn’t be going sailing And then on Tuesday it was better but I still thought it likely we wouldn’t go. As the day went on I began to suspect a yes was possible. Then I got an email saying it wasn’t great weather and the access dinghies wouldn’t go out but confident challenger sailors were welcome but likely to get wet. I’m never quite sure when they say that whether I’m what they mean by confident challenger sailors. I’m quite a fair weather sailor and I get scared easily. But the friend I was getting a lift with needed to go and pick something up so I figured I should go and see. And pretty much the decision got taken out of my hands.
It was wet, rained right when I got out of the car (although I didn’t need to change clothes) and a bit choppy with some squalls. I didn’t enjoy the squalls but I was really glad I got on the water. Unsurprisingly as soon as I told the safety boat guys that I’d had enough and went in the rain stopped and the wind dropped.
We stayed for a drink afterwards and got to watch another spectacular Farmoor sunset.
Farmoor reservoir where I sail is a beautiful place. Particularly in the evening when the sun is setting. I have many photos of those moments and even after all these years of sailing it can still take my breath away. This year there haven’t been many evenings at the sailing club because of the weather and even when we’ve been there it’s been dreary and meh so I’ve not added many photos to my collection. And even fewer have been worth sharing here on my blog. But this week I ended up with one that ticked both categories.
Photo shows a very still reservoir with a setting sun, a few boats and some people on the pontoon – all in silhouette.
For the small things worth mentioning but probably not worth a blog entry of their own
+ The furosemide for my lymphoedema is working and my feet are improved. Still obviously swollen but less so and my trainers fit better (but are still out of shape). I’m pleased. Blood test tomorrow to check the meds haven’t messed up my kidneys (and at my request check my iron)
+ I got sailing for the first time in several weeks last night. I really didn’t think I would based on what they were saying in advance about the weather but I was bored so we went to see. Even when we got there I wasn’t sure but the wind dropped down and I got out for about 45 minutes. It was good. I took a couple of pics to do a “spotted at the sailing club” entry but when I looked back at them they weren’t great. I put them on my instagram though.
+ I’ve been trying to do more with instagram actually rather than just taking pics and doing nothing with them after I accidentally lost loads of pics a while ago – wiped what they were on thinking I’d backed them up to my PC then discovered no they weren’t. I’ve got several pics I love on there.
+ For the first time in ages I went looking for a new layout for this blog and found one I really love.
+ My sister’s hen do is this weekend. I’m looking forward to it.
+ Bake Off started again this evening. I liked it. Part of me would like to see about going to a filming of An Extra Slice again, especially as it’s now being filmed at Waterloo so I could take my powerchair. But I won’t because they were rubbish at access when I went (didn’t have wheelchair spaces as such, made my friend sit separate to me and kept asking me to transfer) and I mostly just want to see an episode before everyone else again.
I can’t believe tonight was the last sail in June and this is the first one of these posts I’ve done this year. Although I think between the couple of times I couldn’t go and it being called off due to weather several times and one or two other blips this was only the fourth or fifth Tuesday evening I’ve been on the water this year (not counting the regatta.) I think fourth but it’s niggling at my that it’s fifth although I can’t think when that was.
Lots of photos today – I think these might be the most I’ve posted in any one of these entries. We stayed late because there was a barbecue and it was a lovely social evening with yummy food and beautiful surroundings in which to watch the sunset.
I take part in a local sailability (adaptive sailing) group once a week between April and October.
My relationship with sailing is a strange one because it’s not something I’d ever thought of taking part in until a friend spent over a year going on and on at me that i had to try it. I said I’d go. But only once and if I didn’t want to go again he had to shut up about it. I wasn’t going to want to go again, I was sure of it.
Well, I went one day back in 2006 and I’ve been going ever since. I loved it.
And even when in the depths of the off season on dark winter nights I wondered this year about trying something else and not going sailing I still endded up there on the water once the season started again and feeling the wind catch the sail and send the boat moving over the water loving every minute.
I’m tired today (long day at an interesting workshop and an early start) and I’m not sure I have the words to do sailing justice. I just looked at the saiing category on this blkog though and it seems I’ve writtten 60 some odd previous blogs on the subject so there’s plenty here if you need more convincing.,
A better week for self care this week but still not the best I’ve ever had.
I’ve enjoyed spending time with friends, particularly with new friends on a couple of days and I’ve been wriitng. Mostly the blog entries I’ve shared here but one other thing too. And the plan to get me some time out is continuing to be worked on. I keep nearly pinning it down and then changing my mind again.
There’s a possibility that I have a pretty awesome opportunity coming my way but I won’t know for definite for just under two months. It’s looking extremely likely though and I’m pleased.
And the first sail of the year was this week. It was brilliant. I was sore (stretch in my legs) pretty much immediately that I was in the boat but i decided to stick it out and try to work through it – it seemed to go off after a while but then came back when I had a twitchy spasm which isn’t unusual for sailing. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it because I’d not been that keen to go.
I’m not sure there’s much else to say and I’m tired (it’s late!) so I’ll leave this here.
I wanted to do these regularly this year but so many times when I’ve seen things to post I’ve not had my phone so couldn’t take a picture.
Tuesday night, just before ten to seven (although to be fair I only know that due to the date stamp on the picture) three of us were chatting. And then we realised that the clouds had parted somewhat and the sun was visible again. Bright red in a very gray and previously bland sky.
It didn’t stay long as it was very rapidly setting. But we all went scrabbling for our phones and just about got pics in time. It seemed to be changing every minute and set very soon after I took this. But I think it captures something I love about sailing and that I’ll miss over the winter.