"I'll hae nae hauf-way hoose but aye be whaur extremes meet..." Hugh McDiarmid

Tuesday, 18 June 2013


so, I've been back in scotland now for just over two weeks. it's cold. but I am forcing myself to get used to it by wearing shorts all the time :)

loads has happened in the last month. we did a massive show, I left the opera house and got loads of presents!! thanks everyone!

the best one is undoubtedly my new gopro hd hero 3 black edition mini waterproof rugged camera. this was from my department, and they'd thought of everything. I also got an extra battery and some micro sd cards for it. I did say they'd thought of everything!

they'd also got me a card with a qr code from each of them in it. this hugely satisfied my inner geek and made the messages (I think) a bit more secret, so they could put whatever they wanted in them. I scanned them all with my phone and saved them so I can read them at sea.

lovely adam from electrics gave me an amazing leather bound book that I think he'd made himself. it also has what looks like a credit card pouch, held on by magnets. in each pouch there is currency from each of the countries I'll visit, with enough for a coffee in every port. he also got everyone to write in it for me, so I can take them all with me while I'm writing stuff in it for the next year.

there were also loads of hugs in the pub and at work. normally I'm a bit awkward when it comes to stuff like that (ask anybody) but I actually enjoyed them! maybe I'm changing!

that got me thinking. how much will I change over the next year? I realised that actually I've changed a lot over the last 18 months since I signed up for the race. previous to basically giving most of my earnings to clipper every month, if I wanted something and I could justify it to myself (who can't?) then I would just buy it.

for the last 18 months I haven't been able to do that. if I decided I wanted something, it would be a real internal discussion about if I needed it, what I would actually do with it, could I get it second hand, or could it wait til birthday or christmas time? this has been really good for me. I am not that expensive to run, but I do love technology. and books. and music. and dvds.

the easiest way round it was to ask folk to give me amazon or itunes vouchers for birthday and christmas presents. this allowed me to buy music, dvds and books - albeit in kindle format only. since I've been working full time, I've not really needed any technology, or bits for my toolkit.

I've had quite a frugal existence for the last 18 months really, but I've paid off my berth fee now (woooooooop!!!!) and even managed to save a little bit of a slush fund to go round the world with. insha'allah it will be enough...

I think these are all good changes to be honest, and I'd like to keep trying to do this when I get back. not only because I'll be massively skint, but because I have too much stuff!!

over the last two weeks I've spent loads of time with my family and met up with friends who I've not seen for ages. it's been really brilliant and quite a luxury to not have to work, although my timetable has sometimes been quite packed. I hope I've also finished off buying stuff that I'll need over the race - my polartec leggings are now my new favourite things...

I've been sorting through all the stuff that's been in nana's flat for the last 2 years too. got a mini office set up, so now mum can print to my laser printer and save her ink! my parents managed to get nana's room painted while I was up at leigh's (after I'd cleared a ton of stuff out of it) so I'm slowly setting up a bedroom downstairs too - where it's cooler than the top floor - and I can sort through my clothes finally!

also, the realisation for me that the flat will always be nana's. even though she went into a home several years ago and sadly passed away shortly after I'd moved to oman. she lived there my whole life and was always on hand to play seven card whist and dominos with. she taught me how to count to 147 by watching snooker!

I wonder what she'd make of me sailing round the world? she'd probably just tut and shake her head :)

the PR wagon seems to be moving now. thanks cat for kick-starting that! I was interviewed for dumfries and galloway life, and the daily record last week. I had my first photo shoot this afternoon for d&g life, which was a bit nerve-wracking to be honest. I don't really take a good photo (see the clipper website if you don't believe me!) but louise managed to get a few. mum'll be pleased :D

I'm also waiting to hear back from southwest sound, our local radio channel here in dumfries, who want to interview me but have been really busy today covering the homecoming parade of the borderer regiment. and the d&g standard messaged me on twitter telling me to email them. busy busy!

on thursday night I'm on the overnight sleeper bus from glasgow to london. then the bus to portsmouth and a night in a b&b before level 2 starts early saturday morning. this level we have to do our sea survival course too, which for me is on the sunday. after level 2 I'm off to dorset to see lorna, david and my goddaughter louisa which will be lovely! I've not seen them for almost a year, since louisa's christening. it's been too long! she's walking now and everything. I am slightly terrified.

after that, it's back to portsmouth for another night in a b&b before level 3. this is the big one. this is the one where we go out to sea for a week and work watches in the proper race style. I'm not sure if this will be on a 70 yet, I'll find out soon hopefully. back to scotland mid july for a final two weeks at home and mum's birthday.

early august we have our team matt bonding weekend. this should be a good laugh I reckon. I need to test pitch my tent tomorrow and make sure it's not been eaten by anything... I'll be needing it that weekend! august is full of dates and training for crew specific roles on board. I've been asked if I'll do the media training so that should be fun :)

delivery to london st katharine's dock starts 18th august, waiting to hear if I'm on that trip. we set up and open the race village on the 24th. mum, dad and leigh are down for a few days to watch the start so hopefully they'll get a look round the 70. I can't wait to see their faces when they do...

anyway, next week I'm training so no update then. but I should have loads of photos and stuff to tell you in between levels 2 and 3, so I'll aim to get a post for each!

wish me luck!!

Friday, 7 June 2013

falling off the wagon

I know. I know. it's been AGES since I posted. I've been busy...

since crew allocation, I have:

1. packed most (but not enough, it turned out) of my stuff and shipped it to my parents
2. sold the stuff I didn't need
3. helped put on the massive last show of the season
4. had a fantastic end of season/leaving/folks birthdays do. and matching hangover
5. refused to accept how much stuff I still had to pack and get home ON THE PLANE
6. packed a load of stuff into a suitcase. other stuff still left over
7. threw some stuff out
8. gave some stuff away
9. repacked suitcase
10. found cardboard box. packed that
11. realised I had to hire a car to drive to my parents when I got to glasgow
12. blagged an eye-watering [redacted] kg onto my flight home
13. drove it all home and dumped it at my parents
14. drove back to glasgow
15. had a lovely week in glasgow. where the weather is BEAUTIFUL
16. forgotten which side of the road traffic here flows on. nearly run over. a lot
17. started doing my tax return (yuck)
18. bought the last (insha'allah) of my thermals and stuff for the race
19. seen LOADS of folk I've not seen for ages
20. started to miss the folk in oman

so yeah, in my defence, quite busy.