Happy Holidays From Phyllis & John

Christmas tree Lunenburg, Nova Scotia style. If you are wondering when Phyllis learned to levitate (look at her feet), it was such a nasty day that there was no one around to snap us together, so I fixed that (kinda) with Photoshop.

Once again this holiday season the world seems to be a tad messed up, so once again I have been wracking my brains for some positive stuff to write about.

Wait, that’s easy, when the world is “going to hell in a handbasket”, as my mother used to say, think boats:

On that note, while clearly the pandemic is far from over, people are out sailing and cruising again. Great to see cruising boats back in Atlantic Canadian waters, including friends who stopped by.

And Phyllis and I finally got our new-to-us J/109 in the water and sailing last summer. We didn’t go far, not even outside of Mahone Bay, but rather, after three decades where getting somewhere was the driving force, rediscovered the pure joy of sailing. It was magic.

A day out on the bay with friend Margaret. The light-air performance of the J/109 must be experience to be believed. This was also the day that Margaret pointed out that I had been wearing my trademark dork-hats backwards for 30 years.

And what a great boat to sail. The J/109 is, just as we hoped, very fast, super responsive, and yet easy for the two of us to sail, or even me alone. A huge relief that we seem to have got the right boat for our needs.

Me, singlehanding on a day that I went down to the boat to do some work on her, but accidentally went sailing—that happened often.

Another super exciting thing for me is the progress that Maxime has made on the Adventure 40 project, with a successful first funding round and a preliminary design done by Vincent and his team.

I have kept an arm’s length relationship with the project, acting as a sometime advisor, reporter and moderator of discussion, which seems to be working well, although I’m sure some of my bright ideas have caused many colourful outbursts in French—probably just as well that I’m a stupid monolingual anglo who doesn’t understand that language!

Brace yourselves, guys, I have nearly finished the interior reveal articles. Just a few suggestions…

Lots of walking was done.

In non-boat, but still good news, Phyllis and I took a short road trip with longterm friends Wilson—he of the varnish perversion—and Thelma to the Chignecto Peninsula, an off the beaten path, but absolutely lovely part of our province.

Boating is a tad challenging on the Chignecto shore.

And a few weeks later Phyllis and I were on the road again to Ontario to spend time with my daughter, her husband, and our two grandchildren, as well as Phyllis’s sister and niece. A wonderful family time.

I will close with something that has been making me feel better when I start fussing about the state of the world:

I’m a huge fan of Ian Rankin’s detective novels featuring the tortured, but fascinating character John Rebus. In the latest book, set in the present time, Rebus is long retired from Police Scotland and far from well, with COPD and all sorts of other health issues from a lifetime of cigarettes and booze.

At one point, near the end of the book, his erstwhile colleague and longterm friend, at least when she doesn’t want to kill him for interfering in police work, Detective Inspector Siobhan Clarke says:

Everything’s f….., isn’t it, John. I mean that’s how it feels to me. Brexit and COVID and christ knows what’s coming at us next.

A few paragraphs later, after Clarke has left, Rebus recalls her remark, but then goes on to think about the new music he has just bought, the good bottle of single malt in the cupboard, the dog at home who loves him unconditionally, and the invitation just received from his daughter and granddaughter for Sunday lunch—their relationship has never been easy—and decides to “focus on the small victories”.

Perhaps a good way to think.

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James Evans

Merry Christmas to you and Phyllis and all sailors. Small victories indeed, but we can – and often do – all enjoy them. As we reach that satisfactory state of torpor today we can all reflect on the special magic of sails and sea of which we are privileged to be a part.

Stein Varjord

Hi John, Phyllis and all here,
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

The message in the story about Rebus reminded me of a story about my father in law. When his daughter and me got together, he came from the Netherlands to Norway, where I’m from, to check out who this dude (me) was. That went well. They borrowed a car from me to go on a roadtrip in southern Norway.

Some days into the trip, camping next to a deep fjord, he said it was all breathtakingly beautiful, but such a pity that even here you’d hear the rumble of the highways. The next day they drove further along the fjord and found the source of the sound. No highway. “Feigefossen”. A 230 meter (700 feet) thundering waterfall by Luster. The sound was immediately converted from nuisance to joy.

Now, whenever there’s a sound from a highway, of which there’s a lot in the NL, he just pretends it’s a waterfall, of which there is none in the NL. Even when taking a walk today he said: “Listen to the waterfall!” 😀

“Focus on the small victories”, indeed.
I now live in the NL too. I struggle with believing in that highway to waterfall conversion, but it still makes a smile. 🙂

Ben Logsdon

That’s an amazing piece of advice—I’m forever going to think “waterfall” when I hear highway.

Applying that line of thinking to John’s hat…he was wearing a hat backwards before wearing hats backwards was cool!