Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall. After a six-year adventure sailing from Dartmouth to Australia, we are now back in Britain.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Happy, err, Holidays

We're not terribly fond of the American 'Happy Holidays' wish at Christmas but since we are now in that lull between Christmas and New Year, it's the best we can do. Hope that you had a lovely Christmas?

Once again our lovely mates Trish and Ian took us in on Christmas Day (3rd year running, they must be mad!) but this time in their 20th-floor flat in downtown Auckland and they produced the full turkey-and-trimmings from the tiny kitchen. A lovely meal, albeit with slightly too much to drink, and the schmaltzy film 'Love Actually' to aid digestion. Ian cocked-up slightly and managed to use his iPhone app to record the Queen's Speech (yes, it is broadcast in NZ 13 hours ahead of the UK so providing lots of spoiler opportunities for friends and family back home); unfortunately he remotely set Sky to record it to their Waiheke house's set. Apart from that, a pretty perfect day.

Our hosts at the table with a view

Ian doing the carving bit

Loving the matching Christmas shirts
Once the hangovers had subsided a little, Trish and Ian joined us aboard Maunie on Boxing Day. We never quite got around to untying the mooring lines so had a very relaxed long lunch in the cockpit - the centre-piece of the relatively healthy salad was an amazing 2kg Melton Mowbray pork pie created by an expat British chef called Sean who makes pies and pasties from a kitchen (made from a shipping container) up in Fairway Bay. A lovely taste of Britain, thanks to Anil and Kirsty for putting us in touch with Sean!

With some slight danger of upsetting those of you suffering floods in the north of England, we have to say that the weather has been beautiful for the past week with hot sunshine. So we have been busy outside enjoying the weather

Ursa (and Tony and Claire) came over to Pier 21 for a walk into town 
A walk with Ursa, we discovered, involves lots of stops for people to cuddle her
 A couple of days after Christmas Tony and Claire invited us to join them at Narrow Neck Beach to have a sail on Tony's Farr 3.7 sailing dinghy.

Graham ready for action, trying to remember how to sail something without a wheel and keel

Tony demonstrating how it's done
 Unfortunately (or possibly fortunately) there wasn't enough wind to get onto the trapeze which would almost certainly have involved some unplanned swimming! It was lovely to be out in a small, responsive racing dinghy again - the Farr is a lovely boat.

Back on Maunie, we treated her to a Christmas present of a new ensign flag - the old one is about 8 years old (used on our last boat too) and was almost threadbare.

Old vs New: the old one will be framed when we get back home! The blue ensign is a 'Defaced British Ensign' which we can fly because we are members of the Royal Ocean Racing Club - possibly the least racy boat in the club!
We have also made the best of the quiet period between Christmas and New Year to get Maunie hauled out for her annual scrub and servicing of propeller and anti-corrosion anodes. The yard manager (who manages the marina as well) was very nice to us and allowed us to be hauled out at 3.00pm on Tuesday and relaunched at 8.30am the following morning for the same price as one hour in the slings so it gave us time to get her serviced and polished

So, after a busy 24 hours, we're now taking a couple of days off from the boat. Shona and Malcolm have very generously lent us their lovely flat in Devonport on the north shore of the harbour, just next to the Navy base. It affords wonderful views of Auckland and we're enjoying exploring the town.

The view from the entrance to the Navy base
We had a lovely saunter into town this afternoon and stopped for a drink in the Victoria Theatre cinema's bar. Di took the opportunity to act out a classic line from the film "Calendar Girls":

We're going to need considerably larger buns!
Very best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year

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