Day to day life on Brimble

We are now beginning to settle into something of a routine albeit not what we had expected. The children have adapted to boat life much quicker and better than anticipated. After a long summer holiday playing with each other both children were ready for other company but as yet all the yachts have not converged together and I do not think that will happen until the Carribean. So to begin with we had some sibling s quabbles on board until the children realised this was it and it would be judicious to et along with the only other play mateon board. this has meant that the children have grown closer, are already more tolerant of eah other and work well as a team, thank goodness.

Schooling generally takes place in the morning straight after breakfast, lessons consist maninly of English, Maths and German, all the other subjects are coming through daily life of travelling and general knowlegde; we use every opportunity possible to engage the children. Ella has been really keen to have Mummy as teacher and although the novelty has worn off, she really concentrates and tries hard, Jacobus being two years younger is working equally hard and trying to keep up with his big sister.

Depending on what jobs John has to do on the boat, lessons take place either down below in the main area, the saloon or on deck in the cockpit. The sun has been shining ever since we arrived in Spain and Portugal and so we use the bimini cover which is attatched over the boom and hangs down as a tent like structure over the cockpit to keep s shaded - it works really well and we are already glad that we had it made before leaving the UK.

Everything on a boat takes much longer than shore life. Simple washing of dishes - no running water and cramped space make a quick job something of a mammoth task. Ella and Jacobus tend to wsh the breakfast and lunch dishes - although they take forever to do it and Jack seems to become soaked as a matter of coursse, it is one of the many jobs they have had to take on board.

Washing clothes is a huge task and not one to be relished. At Baiona ~I had let the ashing pile up and could not face the task of hand washing it al, so off to the laundrette and twenty four euros lighter I decided perhaps that a daily washing of clothes was wiser. Whilst the children clear the breakfast table and wash up, I wash the clothes in our faithful bucket and chuck it bucket! My right hand has become a dab hand at being a washing machine and Brimble has become a daily washing line - it is Jack's duty to raise and lower the line for me.

On the subject of washing we are at present staying in marinas where there are showers to agreater or lesser extent so a trek along the pontoons and we can stay clean. Jack and Ella had their first bath since leaving the UK. we plugged the drainage holes of the cockpit, filled it up with a hose pipe, added bubble bath and they splashed away for over an hour in the sunshine in Lisbon. we are very adaptable.

As we have no fridge on board, only a cool box, we have taken to daily food shopping . This has become a family outing, but as everything this takes so much longer than when we lived at home in the UK. We are all laden with rucksacks and trek to the super market or little local delis and markets to buy our purchases, we take it in turns each day to choose the evening meal; we are a true democracy! We also try to make local dishes as well as eat out in resturants: in Spain we became great at Pimento do Padron, a firm favourite. There was one memorable nnight with Big Jack. Pimentos are green chilli like peppers also known as Russian roulette, as about 1 in 10 are fiery hot. This one occassion it seemed the whole batch were mouth watering hot. Ella had tears in her eyes with uncontrollalbe laughter and Big Jack had sweat pouring down his face, who just drank more and more red wine to dampen the heat. Brimble was on fire that night. We have also bought a pressure cooker despite my reservations ( any good recepies warmly received please as our booklet is in Portugese!) so we will see what happens there. I remember twelve years ago on songbird in Porto Santo, where I write this blog post from now, we had been invited to a Swedish boat for dinner where their pressure cooker had just exploded as we climbed on board, butterbeans flew in very direction throughout the boat... We also tend to stock up on drinking water as we do not carry enough water in our water tanks for the Atlantic passage, we are stock piling.

For evening entertainment we have begun to play games, the current favourite being charades. So far the children are winning! Talking books are loved by us all and we have just completed the second Harry Potter book, we have all seven on board. You can hear a pin drop when we listen to them.

Generally we all go to bed at the same time, on such a small boat where there is little privacy,, it makes sense. The only exceptions are when we have entertained on board and in true Halsall fashion these have been boozy late affairs and on these occassions the children have gone to bed in the forepeak and have had to put up with their noisy parents and their new friends.

All in all life is great, it is absolutely the right thing to have done and we are all learning and growing together.

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