Time & 15/2
Time. It’s been a theme this week.
It’s already half way through the first month of the year and the first month at No15. What’s to show?
Short answer. Not a lot. But that’s OK.
As I said last week it’s easy to start strong but much much harder to stay strong. The pace has slackened this week, it was to be expected. But although I may not have got much to show I’ve added strength to the foundations of the whole project. That work will pay dividends.
First and foremost I got confirmation from Yacht Port Cartagena that we can retain our berth right through till April next year.
We will be paying €413 per month including IVA (VAT) of 21% . On top of that we have to pay extra for water and electricity. I’m budgeting generously at €25 per month for that, especially since we’re running fan heaters right now. It should be far less for most of the year.
It’s a good deal. A little over €5000 per year to rent in the centre of a city including utility bills.
There’s one big unknown of course and it’s the exchange rate. Brexit has thrown a big spanner in the works and the only thing sure is that rates are going to be volatile for the rest of this year and beyond. Theresa May the UK Prime Minister is due to give a big speech on Brexit this coming Tuesday. It’s an amazing achievement to have reached the highest office in the land despite her handicap of aural dyslexia. She’s never publicly admitted her problem but it’s surely the only explanation for her consistently replying to questions with words completely unrelated to what was asked.
Despite all this I’m sure the markets will be hanging on every word of her speech and then taking action as if those words actually mean something. I’m not expecting those actions to help us any.
Anyway, it is what it is. We have no control over it so we’ll just take it as it comes.
Before moving on from marina matters I forgot one other benefit when I wrote my ‘why stay’ list.
As some of you know we don’t have hot running water or a fitted shower aboard ‘Gleda’. We use a garden sprayer (Flower shower as Gail calls it). Hot water from the kettle and away you go on deck or in the pod.
That’s no fun when temperatures are in single figures.
It’s easy to stop appreciating what it feels like to stand in a good hot shower. The steam, the needles of water invigorating and cleansing. No danger of the water running out, no need to pump. I turn the heat up as much as I can take and stand there, eyes closed just enjoying it. Appreciate the little things people.
Six thousand words. That’s how much progress I’ve made with ‘A Foolish Voyage 2’.
It’s been far slower and far harder than I expected but with good reason. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise. As before I’m digging down into memories. I’m uncovering stuff long buried, long forgotten.
When I started I figured the introduction would run to a couple of pages. I’m going to have to rethink that.
I’m using a a piece of software called Scrivener to write. It’s amazing and I’ll be dedicating an entire blogpost to it sometime soon. It was a massive job but all the Gleda Project blogposts from 2006 – 2014 are now uploaded into that software. I plan to use them as an outline for the new book. Scrivener tells me those blogposts total 241,121 words. That’s half the number of words in Tolstoy’s War and Peace (it’s true, I checked). And here’s me wondering if I’m really a writer.
While we’re on the subject of being a writer there’s one area where I’m clearly not a pro. I’m way too easily distracted. I’ve found the Pomodoro technique of using a 25 minute timer helpful but I’m still not nailing it. I’ll be typing away nicely and then I’ll come to a question that needs answering, a bit of information that’s missing, something that stops the flow. I know I should just drop in a highlight and move on without stopping. But I don’t, I click out to the web with full intention of getting what I need and coming straight back. It doesn’t happen. I fall straight into the ‘research blackhole’ and before I know it 30 minutes or an hour have gone.
I’ve patently got no will power or self-control.
It was the same when I had a TV. I ended up throwing it out to stop me watching it. I can’t do that with the web.
Actually I can, sort of. I’ve installed a little app called ‘Freedom’. It allows me to selectively block internet access at times I choose. It’s working. If I can’t Google, Tweet or Gmail I write.
When I talked about building foundations earlier this is an example. I’m finding our what works and what doesn’t work for me. I’m creating systems and habits that allow me to improve my productivity and efficiency. That’s time well spent.
Another tweak I’ve added this week is writing to music. I’ve signed up to a free 3 month trial of Apple music and on Wednesday my new bluetooth speaker arrived. It’s above my desk now playing ‘Sacred River’ by Gandalf. Soothing New Age instrumental music gets me in the groove.
My other writing project, the book on Composting Toilets has ground to a halt. I’d planned to use it as an exercise to develop a template for quickly researching, outlining and writing short helpful ebook guides.
I underestimated the complete lack of enthusiasm I had for the exercise. It’s hardly a fascinating subject and the market for such a book is very small. I knew that already but I thought I’d be able to force myself through. I was wrong.
I haven’t given up on the idea completely. Maybe I’ll come back to it, maybe I just need to create a bigger list of possible book topics. We’ll see. For now I’ll devote all my writing time to ‘AFV2’.
‘AFV2’ ‘A Foolish Voyage 2’, ‘Another Foolish Voyage’, ‘A Foolish Odyssey’. I really want to decide on a title. The Twitter poll I put out earlier in the week didn’t help much. Eleven votes. 45% for ‘A Foolish Odyssey’ and 55% for ‘Another Foolish Voyage’. Hardly decisive. Personal preference is ‘A Foolish Odyssey’ (AFO from now on). Please leave a comment or send me an email with your preference or suggestion. Unless I’m swayed otherwise it’s going to be AFO.
I’ve continued with my daily mindfulness and 5 Tibetans routines but it’s time to mix things up a bit. Yesterday I jogged up to the park, did my exercises and jogged back. It felt good. I’m going to do that some more.
I’m also going to switch out Hein Bratt’s mantra for some guided mindfulness meditation using the ‘Headspace’ app.
I need some variety to stay motivated but I’m really enjoying being proactive about my health again.
Daily Fluenz Spanish sessions continuing. I’ve now started Unit 3. There’s a hint that maybe, just maybe some of it is beginning to permeate my pumice-like brain. I’m still way off understanding the spoken language but I’m definitely understanding more of the written.
Nothing again. No, actually that’s wrong. I fitted an 1.2m long LED strip light under the shelf over the saloon table. It’s wired in with the galley worktop down lighters and gives us some nice subdued lighting for eating and watching movies. A China shop €4 bargain if you ask me.
On Thursday, in company with other liveaboards we spent the morning walking around Cartagena. The walk was led by Vera a local tour guide. What a fantastic experience. Thousands of years compressed into a few hours.
We learnt so much about the city. Its history, its architecture, its culture.
I’d planned to tell you about it today but time has caught up with me again. I’ll leave it for next time
As I said, time has been a theme this week.