Saturday, 18 April 2009

Polar Bear heading towards the Tyne

The other cool boat at the marina is Polar Bear - which left the lock today for a practice-run for a crew doing the Fasnet race later in the year. Adventure sailing indeed - heading off to the Arctic soon. See Http://

the marina

I am spending the end of the week and the weekend at the Marina. I have had the engine checked and aligned the compass for the (new) autohelm. Otherwise, I have just hung out, read the paper and felt cold due to easterly wind and dull sky. I do wonder why - - - we do it. But real coffee with neighbouring boat and tea with a friend from the dinghy sailing club. The view of the James Cook (training yacht for youngsters) is from the cockpit of my boat.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Retirement and what we can learn from mid 20th century feminism

I am suggesting that some of the empty feelings around retirement are analogous to some of the emptiness reported about women in feminist texts of the 1960s.

The Feminine Mystique by Betty Freidan (1963) has in it poignant accounts of how some well-educated women (some who had had meaningful working lives during World War II) indicated a general unease with their lives. Women's work in the home (for various reasons) was seen as less meaningful and valuable in previously. This led to a loss of social identity and a feeling that life was meaningless or empty, even where the women had ideal homes and children and husbands. Women were trapped in a social situation that did not reflect the reality of post-war opportunities. Other writers, in other ways, express similar bleak pictures of women's life and labour.

Retirement seems to me to have some of the same characteristics both for men and for women. The details are different - the outcomes are different.

The analogy is helpful in energising and raising expectations of retired people - especially those who have retired before they feel ready. And it may be that it is a way of interpreting the horrors of retirment and old age.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Boat engine

LA Girl has a raw water cooled Bukh 24 engine. It was overheating last year and was fixed as part of the service this year. Today - it was tested - and various tubes cleaned out. It now looks very smart and I hope it will keep going all summer.


Retirement is not what it seems - or rather what younger people assume it to be. It is nice to be able to take your car to be mended in 'working hours'. It is nice to drink coffee out, and I am planning to spend the summer on my boat - impossible if working.


Life can seem very empty of real purpose - apart from survival of lower (much lower) (worrying lower) income. It was pleasant to afford a reasonable house and a number of modest luxuries - subscriptions to societies and so on and so forth. I did think I would keep up with friends and family better - but I have not done so.

Ah but - I can spend the summer sailing - and write a web-log.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Preparation for the summer

The boat was lifted in after I scrubbed the bottom and re-painted it (at great cost and with great effort) - but only the best will do. The flat bottom is supposed to stop me running into things - there is a large keel which can be lifted and lowered - using an electric motor.

The summer

I have spent a lot of time over the winter doing things to the boat.

I am planning to sail south from North Shields at the end of April - staying away until the end of the summer - hopping round the coast to where-ever I get . I have a list of things done and of things to do. This weekend I am on board trying to get all my gear into too little space.