Lost And Found
I’m writing this sitting in the nav station aboard Gleda. The rain is hammering down on the coachroof, the wind generator is buzzing in the wind gusts sending little vibrations through the desk. I’m occasionally rocked gently in my seat as the mooring lines pull tight after a particularly strong gust. Gail is over in the port hull mopping up condensation and using yet more anti-mould spray. She has a small blow heater on the go over there and I’ve got a little bar heater pointing at me over here.
The Met office has just issued a severe weather warning for heavy rain and strong winds through until Friday (it’s Monday as I write this). On the plus side temperatures are above normal at 13’C (55’F) although it feels like 9’C (48’F).
It’s just gone 3 in the afternoon and already the light is fading. Welcome to Autumn in Cornwall.
It’s now nearly a month since I tied Gleda up in Falmouth Marina but it’s only in the last week that I’ve really begun to wind down and turn my mind to the coming months. I hadn’t realised quite how much the previous 6 months had taken out of me. When I look back on what we accomplished in getting Gleda out of the barn, transported to the coast, assembled, launched, rigged and sailing it’s perhaps no surprise that there was a mental and physical cost. That’s not to mention the weeks of agonising about a departure to Portugal which involved constant weather monitoring, boat preparation and liasing with Jake about crewing.
During the first weeks here I felt somewhat of a failure, I beat myself up a bit thinking that if I’d pulled my finger out and really cracked on over the Summer I could have got Gleda ready earlier and we’d have got away South. A pointless exercise I know but I just couldn’t help it and truth be told I’m still feeling that way to a degree. When Gail came back from her trip up country she pulled me out of my funk somewhat and we spent the following few weeks not doing a lot other than relaxing, exploring the area, getting to know where things were and generally settling into a new routine. It was nice but we both knew we’d have to get back to work sometime soon, after the expense of the Summer and coughing up for our Winter berth the bank account is pretty much empty and we don’t have any reserves to fall back on.
Gail is looking hard for a temporary job and she’s applied for quite a few but so far without success. I investigated doing some Taxi driving but had to knock that on the head when I discovered I’d have to fork out some £350 for the necessary licence, medical and criminal record checks before they’d even consider me. I also applied for a sales assistant job but didn’t get it. All of this left me feeling depressed again and I didn’t figure out why until the other day.
I knew something was wrong, I felt lost, I felt depressed and it wasn’t all down to failing to head South, I needed to get to the bottom of things.
One of the self-help techniques I’ve discovered and used to great effect over the past few years is something called free writing. It’s also described as stream of consciousness writing and it’s very simple to do. All that’s needed is your writing tool of choice be it pen and paper or electronic device, a quiet comfortable place to sit, or in my case a noisy comfortable place wearing headphones, and away you go. Start writing about your current situation, your current feelings, ask questions, answer them, write down what you want and what you don’t want and do all of this without stopping and without thinking too much, just let the words flow and don’t worry about grammar or spelling, just dump your thoughts straight onto the paper or screen.
I don’t know why I hadn’t done it before, I knew it helped me when I was lost and stuck. I guess it just took a while to realise that I was in fact lost and stuck.
Anyway after about an hour I had emptied my head and the cause of the problem was plain to see.
I was lost because for the first time in many years I no longer had a big project to work on. To all intents and purposes Gleda is finished, I’m no longer building a boat. That seems strange after 8 years or so. Secondly the decision to stay in Falmouth took all the pressure off, I no longer need to think about sailing or the weather, the boat is safe, we’re not going anywhere anytime soon and after 6 months of almost constant change and movement that also seems strange. Lastly I’d automatically fallen back into my old conditioning of thinking I needing a job to earn some money and to somehow validate my lifestyle and of course that ship has long since sailed.
How many times have I said that the Gleda Project was about more than building a boat? It was always about going sailing yes, but actually it’s about creating a new life and in that respect the project has only just begun.
So here it was, I’d forgotten what I’d been working towards all these years and I’d forgotten it at the time I most needed to focus on it. I’d built a boat, I’d got her sailing, I’d made us a home but I’d done it all on the back of a now outdated lifestyle. Now I needed to start work on a new lifestyle, one that fitted with my dreams and desires, one that felt right, one that gave me some purpose and yes, one that generated some income.
Is that possible? Well we’ll see and in my next post I’ll talk more about what I’ve decided. In the meantime though I fancy a culpa and as Gail and the kettle are over in the other hull that means braving the elements in a dash across deck. Now why didn’t I build a nice big monohull?