So, I rig my home-made tarpaulin cockpit cover which should keep out most of the rain. Apparently there will be gusts up to 80 knots and I dread the whole thing will tear off.
I have had great difficulty finding anyone who can make me a canvas made-to-measure cover. Having established that there is not a viable Okinawan option, I turned to England. I was passed like a parcel from place to place with no progress. I finally contacted a Norfolk Gypsy owner in Essex whom I had noticed has a very solid looking cover. He has been very helpful and has put me in touch with the person who made his cover. It looks like this person will be able to make the same for me. Fingers crossed.
You can always tell a storm is coming because flocks of Golden Plovers turn up on flatland close to the shore.
Anyway, change of subject; I have to get rid of my old rice cooker. I amble up to the village office where they give me a delightful sticker in exchange for 300¥. This I stick to the old cooker and leave it outside for the garbage men. So easy.
This is a high speed scrapbook of stuff from my recent trip to Europe. It is really a personal archive so I don’t forget. The trip was dominated by my Mother’s cremation nevertheless I got in a lot of other stuff. Thank you so much to all of you who extended such wonderful hospitality.
Landed at Heathrow very early to be met by my ever charitable brother Alan who got up very early.
We went to see his daughter, my niece, Emma and her kids.
Back to Alan’s in Stony Stratford where I ate a lot of pies.
Then to Geneva. I stay the night with Jeremy and set off very early by train to Bellegarde, where I am picked up by bestest friend Zandra.
Two days with Zandra, her daughter Lauren, Lauren’s husband Andy and their twin daughters.
Fantastic day with Jeremy. We go to Evian for Filets de Perche beside the lake.
We go to Jeremy’s studio in Bernex, a small ski station above Evian. We take a telesiege up high and go for a walk. Too beautiful. Then we drive back to the lake for a swim.
Back to England for the cremation Very early flight but again I am picked up. This time by very charitable Barry. I stay with sister Rosie. Barry and Rosie have the most beautiful house in the world. We eat incredibly well.
Then to London to stay with Ian and Ann. They feed me so well and take me to a chandlery where I pick up lots of bits for the boat. They also have shorts that fit my very un-Japanese bottom.
Back to Okinawa. I get in very late after 20 hours of travel. The car would not start.
During my absence I missed Arisa’s farewell party. Boo. She was a wonderful colleague who did so much to establish OIST’s reputation.
Europe is amazing. I must spend more time there. Thanks everybody.
For the last few months I have noticed that the food I prepare has tasted strange.
This was particularly evident in a pig’s foot terrine that I cooked last weekend. Each time I tasted it during the very long simmering period, it needed more salt. So I added more salt from the plastic bag of salt that I use for cooking.. When it came to eating it, it tasted very odd and I had to sprinkle even more salt on it from a salt cellar.
Yesterday, I spilled some salt from the bag and instinctively licked it off my hand. It was not salt. It was sugar.
How many bags of sugar have I consumed, thinking it was salt?
I go to Amazon, I buy a new one, which is delivered at 10:00 am on Sunday morning. I love Amazon.
The real problem is learning how to use the new one. The manual explains everything but is in a language I cannot read. Too many options.
It has of course been pouring with rain ever since I got back from Europe. Small Typhoons.
My home-made cockpit cover blew off again. I have been trying very hard to buy a proper cover but cover makers in England seem to be determined not to sell me one or send me dimensions so I can get one made over here. Brexit despair probably.
Mummy died. We all got together to mark the finality of it all. There was never a better woman.
We, my sister and brothers with partners met the day before the cremation to decorate the coffin with hundreds of photos that spanned my mother’s life. This was a good event as we discussed each photo, ooh’ed at photos we had forgotten, marveled at her beauty as a young woman. With wars, uprisings, 4 children and so much more; she had an amazing life. It brought us very close together. Thank you Rosy for coming up with the idea.
We sat in the cremation parlour and sang and listened to songs that Mummy liked.
I become aware of a grinding noise coming from the back of my X trail. It does not take me long to work out that it is coming from the passenger side rear disc brake. I stick my finger in to see if the disc, or rotor as the Americans will have it, is ridged and nearly burn the end of my finger off. Red hot rotor!
I suppose the brake pads have worn down to metal but also the caliper piston is jammed so that they are in constant contact with the disc. Not good.
I am quite a long way from home and realize that I should get this fixed as quickly as possible, so I stop at the first workshop. They explain that they would love to fix it but they have no spare cars to lend me during the 5 days the repair would take. Not an option, as living 5 days in Okinawa without a car is not feasible.
Yasushi san is an old friend who works at the gas station close to my previous house. I run to him and explain my predicament. He explains that because of the Obon holiday all the garages are backed up with work and it is going to be difficult to get the car fixed quickly. He sits me in the waiting room, brings me cold water and starts phoning garages. 10 minutes later he explains that Kamiya san is waiting for me in his shop near Tori Station. I love Yasushi san.
One of the most pleasant activities during my stay in England was sitting around in brother Alan’s kitchen reading newspapers, something I never do here, and drinking lots of Lapsang Souchong tea.
Cannot hope to read Japanese newspapers but I can drink Lapsang Souchong. Well, it turns out to be difficult to find this tea in Okinawa, for me at least. I track down a tea shop called Lupicia but to my horror, I find that it is located in the in the Aeon Rycom shopping Mall. This is a enormous complex. I have only been once and it took days to recover. I hate shopping. I get claustrophobia.
Notwithstanding, I set out on Sunday afternoon to buy tea. Big mistake! First Google maps takes me to another Aeon mall. I waste an hour. As I approach the Rycom mall, a huge traffic jam evolves. I am completely jammed in with cars to the left of me, cars to the right of me that rattle and thunder. After another hour I finally steer the car into the mall. All the parking lots are full. There is a traffic jam in the parking area. I have a panic attack and give up all hope of getting into the mall. There are so many cars , so many people. So I spend 3 hours failing to buy tea.
The backdrop to this is more terrible weather.
The typhoon rips out the eyelets that hold the ropes that connect the cover to the boom. The boat fills up with water, as usual.
Another typhoon is on the way so I strengthen everything and cross my fingers.