Author: Buck

Serendipitous Happen-chance.

I’ve started at my sailing club. I went to help out on Sunday, just helping take boat times on the races and inputting the data into the computer. Today I did my first lesson.

I think I was wise to take lessons. I capsized it 5 times in the morning session. The rudder is so sensitive! You push it a little bit and the boat goes everywhere. Not a problem in a straight line, but you have to tack upwind so you are swiveling around, while ducking under the swinging boom, and changing sides of the boat, then trying to steer with the tiller extension behind your back until you can swap hands. As with learning to drive anything, it’s a lot of things to be concentrating on at once.

After the dinner break we went back out on a tougher course and I was fine. Once you’ve got the basics you can relax enough to see what is starting to go wrong and correct it. The good thing is I am now a master of the capsize drill for righting the boat. That bit holds no fear for me anymore.

Also, due to DVLA being swamped and taking forever, I’ve not sold motorbike, so have had chance to ride it back and forth to the club twice. If you’re not all dolled-up in complete race leathers, just wanting to get your knee down, you can really enjoy that bike. I was in awkward kit, to which I’m not accustomed, trying for a maneuver I’ve never done, straight out of the box on an unfamiliar bike. In retrospect, I was setting myself up for a kicking and huge disappointment. Riding in familiar, comfortable kit, with somewhere to go, and pushing my limits incrementally, is brilliant fun. I *heart* my Triumph again!

I’ve got over my shopping thing. Well, I’ve stopped doing it, which is not the same, really. I’ve bought some books, some seeds and we went to the garden centre yesterday so we got some flowers. That isn’t the problem. I actually use the obsessive searching, comparing, and hunting down the very best model for the very best price, as a fun hobby in itself. The purchase is where the fun ends, to a degree. I crave newness and change, shopping provides that, and kills many pointless hours. I can see that that is a problem now I’ve had my nose rubbed in it.

I’ve got to buy some specific kit for this yachting lark (a top, some wetsuit material shoes with a grippy sole, and a buoyancy aid- I bought a lifejacket, not the same thing-) but I’m going to be in an out. See. Buy.

In much the same vein, I’ve not looked at cars since the Damascus Google search on Obsessive Compulsive shopping. Or boats. Or anything. The bike is getting me to the club for now. Apparently the club rent boats out to noobs (£15 a day) when you’ve done the training. They encourage you to use them for a while to get your skills up, and try different boats, before you commit to buying one. I’ll do it like that. If I stick to it, then I’ll get a boat. Hopefully I’ll be able to rent one on holiday in Scotland.

I applied for a full time gig with the Royal Mail about 6 weeks ago. I was talking to a driver when I was shunting last week (well, he was talking to me) and he said he’d had an email off the them asking for the authorisation code DVLA need to issue, so RM could check his licence. I’d not had a “no”, but not heard anything.

I found that on my ‘phone after sailing! Brilliant! I’m still in the running.

Also, they do open water swimming at the boat club lake, so that will be something to keep my eye on in the future. Preferably when my swimming wetsuit doesn’t look like someone shoving a whole cow in a single sausage skin.

Work has been a karmic rebalancing of the lorry driver scales. In Lockdown 1, the motorways were empty apart from professional drivers. It was brilliant. That, and people not touching me, were the best parts of the plague for me. Now the UK is on the world’s leper list so hardly anyone can go abroad, and it’s school holidays, so literally millions of clueless, impatient, angry amateurs are all clogging up my office. Eughhhh.

Right, bit of Twitter and I’m out of here.

Forest Fr1ends were musing on the Great British Holiday:

And Brexit

I’ve found some top tips for tomorrow’s lesson:

I forgot to say, I did have one moment of whimsy. I thought of a new hobby after boating.


Sort of boaty, but more up and down. How hard can it be?

I had a quick look and it’s £10K for your licence and £16K for a “project” seaplane conversion. OK, maybe not.

I’m following some guy from Zimbabwe on Twitter, he posted this, which I love. I can’t track down the artist though.

OK, more boaty goodness in the morning.

Sleep tight ye lubbers.


The Sound Of The Penny Dropping.

I’ve only just blogged but momentous things are afoot.

Wendy was getting concerned about me obsessing over stuff, thinking it might be a problem. A few bikes ago when I first had my eye on the bike I’ve got now, I was losing sleep over it. I was waking up in the middle of the night and doing new searches on the 4 main bike sale sites to see if anything had come up. It was becoming that much of a problem that I had to think of ways to consciously de-escalate the obsessing. I had to list every fault with bike, how it was too expensive, totally impractical, how I didn’t need a new bike, etc etc, just to get some peace.

Anyway, out of a mild curiosity, and to put Wendy’s mind at rest, I googled “obsessive, compulsive shopping” .


Apart from not meeting my responsibilities, that’s me.

Well, that’s just super.

Nailed all of it. The conveyor belt of bikes, buying all the kit, losing interest, feeling guilty that I’ve bought stuff that I’m not using, the excitement of hunting for my next, life fulfilling, purchase that will be *the* one, the anticlimax on purchase, everything.

And, it’s all just a manifestation of my BPD.

I was in denial at first. Well, not so much in denial, the evidence is overwhelming, but I didn’t want to admit it because then I would have to do something about it. And I don’t want to stop. I sat on it for 24 hours, but then I told Wendy.

It’s a joy-sucking, ironic, kick in the teeth. Most of my life I’ve been hand to mouth poor, since I started lorry driving (and gave up drinking, the two are definitely linked) we’ve been getting better off. With this new job, and the Brexit disaster ensuring plenty of work for lorry drivers, we are actually in a position where anything I’ve ever wanted I could have. It helps that my dreams are fairly modest. A really nice motorbike. That’s about it. But I could afford to sign a loan for £10,000 tomorrow and not even think about it. But I’ve kind of lost interest in biking with having nowhere to go. And now this. I can make money, but I can’t spend it.

Anyway. I’m feeding and re-enforcing a mentally damaging addiction-esque condition. A sneaky variation of my usual BPD. It has to stop.

I’ve not done an internet search for bikes, cars or boats for the last two days.

My thinking is “buy what I need (nothing), not what I want (everything).

It sucks.

I’m second guessing myself before I’ve even started. If I like my lessons in just over a week, and want a boat, is it to sail or just to buy? Will I need a car to move it about or do I just want to spend money?

I think, if I am doing the boating thing, a car, with a towing hitch, is the way to go. It’s a two person lift to get the boat on a roof rack, if it fits, and Wendy doesn’t count as one of them.

The bike is going. That will pay for the boat and car. I am totally going to need some wheels to get to the club, and if I’m carrying kit a motorbike won’t cut it. I rode it yesterday on my pushike. About a 20 mile round trip, and one of the roads is the link road between the M6 and the East Lancs, so it was heaving with lorries and fast cars. Not fun.

I’m justifying feeding my habit. This is classic addict behaviour. I just need this one last hit and then I’ll stop.

I am a bit lost with this. I don’t know how to work it out.

I’ll have to think on it some more.

In other, much, much better news, Wendy is a good 90% of her old self. Being really brave and going back to work has made a massive difference. It’s hard to overstate the improvement. The thing she was dreading and literally panicking about for 5 months, she has faced and overcome. She is as good as sane. It is brilliant.

Today, as it was my last of 6 days off, we took a trip to Bodnant Gardens in Wales.

Lovely place.

And, just because it’s pretty, some pics I found before I realised I had a proper problem.

A vulgar, tasteless, overcompensating car. Which is kind of cool.

A gorgeous, 1966 Harley (in the States, so no good to me)

And a yacht that you could actually live on, and sail right around the world. Albeit in conditions that make living in my truck seem spacious.

These are just some of the things I won’t be buying. *sigh*

To end on less of a bummer, Dinos are back! Yay!



Latest Obsession

Things are sort of moving apace in my new madness. I keep making progress only to have to stop again.

I was supposed to be going to pick up my new boat today. I was all excited. I’ve bought a book on how to sail, and read it a few times. I’ve also watched a really good video on the basics. How to start, steer and stop. I was wondering about the last of them, as there are no brakes. It turns out it was the same as the other thing I was worrying about, going overboard and the ship charging off into the distance. Apparently it’s the sailor holding the sail to the wind that powers it. As soon as you let go of the mainsheet (get me! That’s the bit of rope that pulls the sail around) the sail swings around like a weather vane, so it’s no longer catching the wind and powering the boat.

I was pretty confident I could at least do some basic sailing. I’ve applied to two local yachting places for lessons. One of them, Pickmere Lake club, got back to me. The first thing they said was not to buy a Topper (the little boat, slightly more that a surfboard with a sail, I was supposed to be getting today) as they are built for teenagers. You have to be small to fit under the boom (the bottom bar of the sail) and lightweight. I might get away with the height, and I am quite limber, but unfortunately I am too blubbered up.

Get a good glimpse of the shark before fighting it - All ...

The good news though, is that the club are running level 1 and 2 courses in a fortnight! I’ve had to join to be able to take the lessons, but that will take me from ‘complete lubber’ to ‘lubber with delusions of adequacy’. They also gave the good advice to join the club, try out some boats, see what suits, and then buy one. Assuming I like it. I had one go at parachuting and never went back.

I’m fairly confident I will like it. It sounds a hoot. Anyway, assuming I do, and I get a boat, the good thing about the club is you get berthing for one boat included in your membership. And, if I get a hefty one, for a further £31 a year I can stash a boat trailer there. It’s a fairly big lake and you can get an access card so you can sail whenever you feel like. This is good. I was envisioning trips to Liverpool for sea sailing. I don’t have to worry about lugging the boat about, unless we go on holiday or whatever, and I’ve got a safe place to sail. They do races there one day a week, mainly to improve your sailing skills they say.

Now I just need to buy a cravat.

Yachting club. Me. Who’d have thought?

A sub-obsession, relating to the main boating one, was a sudden need to buy a car to do the job. Wendy’s mini is a good ‘un, but it won’t take a towing hitch if I need to get a trailer. I started with desirable vehicles. This would do for a runaround.

A real Mini pickup! How cool is that?


OK, not *that* cool.

Then I went on to uber-practical.

It’s a Citroen Berlingo Multispace. Ugly as the day is long, not that refined a ride. It’s basically a van into which they’ve put seats and windows. However, the good news is that it’s a reversible operation. The back seats are designed to be easily taken out, in effect turning it back into a van. With windows. The best of all worlds. If you buy a straight van, A, it’s not pretty to look at and Wendy would kill me, and B, it will have been battered by people using it a tool to work. In a car/van, there’s a chance you can get a decent one. With one of those, with a towing hook and a roof rack, we could tow the boat on holiday (or roof rack it if it’s that kind of boat) and fit the pushbikes in the back, stood up, with all the luggage. And cheaper than upgrading Wendy’s car to a model of Mini that would take a towbar. But it is ugly. Ugly, ugly.

Then I thought of an estate. Lots of room on top to securely tie a boat. Towbar in case. Fold down/ removable seats, loads of room for kit. And some of them haven’t been beaten mercilessly with the ugly stick.

I spent all day yesterday, until gone midnight, looking into every option, narrowing my fields, comparing prices, until I found the perfect car.

That’s a stock image. The actual one has in-detail snaps of each part of it but no good overall pic.

It’s a Peugeot 308 sw. Roof rails for a roof rack. It has a towbar. It’s an ’04 car, which is getting on a bit, but it’s only done 51K miles! It has service history and a brilliant MOT record (I checked online). It’s £1600 and in Blackpool. And it’s not hideous.


That was about 01.00 this morning.

As soon as I’d finally found the perfect car and I could relax I realised I didn’t need one yet and I’d just wasted a whole day. *sigh* I might not like yachting. I might be leaving the boat at the lake (8.5 miles away). Wendy’s Mini would do fine for a roof rack one once a year on holiday. Bah.

As well as the book on sailing I’ve bought a lifejacket. Prerequisites for mucking about in a boat.

That’s where I am with that. Lots of hurry up and wait. Still, if I take to it, it’s definitely the right way to go. Lessons, get the right boat, safe sailing environment.

Then maybe get a bigger boat for taking Wendy out for gentle sails. If she ever warms to the idea. She has an unhealthy attachment to dry land and continued breathing. No fun.

Talking of, Wendy was immensely brave and went into work last Thursday. She’d built it up in her mind that it was all going to be terrible. Shouting, sacking, etc. So to go and face it when she’s still nowhere near right, was incredible bravery.

I used to think every one else was a bit cowardly because they, for instance, ran away from exploding ammunition while I was sat by it, unconcerned. But the truth is that’s just my condition, to not recognise dangerous situations, or to be not concerned by them. It’s not brave if you’re not scared. When you are faced with mind numbing terror and you do it anyway, that is bravery. In my life I’ve only ever been that brave once, pushing myself out of that ‘plane when my brain was screaming I was most certainly going to plummet to my death (I’m scared of heights) but I did it anyway. I didn’t die, in case you were wondering. But even that fear, though total, was only for one minute. After that I was out of the ‘plane and merely scared witless.

For Wendy, still freaking out with fear and anxiety, to drive herself into work and face the situation that had sent her that way… *that* is bravery.

Anywho, it went way better than she expected and better, even, than she had hoped. They know she is the only thing keeping the stats, and funding, coming in. They’ve agreed to her coming back two mornings a week for a month, and have gone a bit further by saying she’s not see any clients, just catch up on her job knowledge. Then they’ve agreed to her going back but just doing 3 days. With a reduced workload.

She came home in the afternoon and within minutes was flat out asleep. She said it was more of a coma than a sleep. Hahaha. As you do, when the tension relief hits.

Since then she’s been a different woman. She’s laughing again and just tons better. She’s still not right, but a few more days of getting over the fear of work (the fear of her workplace, she’s not workshy) and I think she’ll be a good 90%. It’s been a long and horrible ordeal for her. It’s so good to see her properly on the mend.

I took a week or two off running due to that last bout of plague weakness. I went out for a run this morning. As much to test the alleged direct correlation between exercise and Post Viral Fatigue, as for the run. I’m off for another 4 day’s. If I do an hour’s run each day that should test it. It’s win/win really. If it doesn’t waste me, yay! If it does, then I know the cause and I can hope to get completely better when I rest up.

Here’s a bit of Twitter then I’m done.

Meanwhile, in Liverpool: