Monday, 9 April 2012

Just can't get enough

The Golden Cloud 9/4/12

Continuing on with the theme of the last blog, of what I really want and enjoy in life.

And before you fall asleep ladies/welsh, I do eventually make my point, and everything is relevant, though is probably as tangential as Eddie Izzard making toast. 

You may know that I am a fan of a certain football club. For years this team have been the pinnacle of my focus when procrastinating, and the sponge of all my wages. This team is of course "The Invincible... Wolverhampton Wanderers" (Quote from Gabriel Hanot, editor of L'Équipe, 1954, who's article referring to the domination of Wolves across Europe lead to the formation of the European Cup (a cup Wolves have never won!))

Unfortunately unlike in 1954 when Real Madrid, and Honved fell to the Mighty Wolves, at the moment my team isn't terribly good. Languishing at the bottom of the English Premier League, the team and the fan base are in pain and infighting.

Pain, is a weird feeling for me to feel at this moment, but indeed watching my team throw away a lead against the lowly Stoke City, it was something I felt.

Now I've spent in the region of thousands of pounds following, getting tickets, transport and merchandise for this club. And in the grand scheme of things, watching them a few weeks back against our rivals West Bromwich Albion, it might as well have been Pier's Digs-league team.

In all honesty, yesterday's excitement was comparable to seeing Wolves beat West Brom 3.1 (March 2001 and May 2011 :D), and significantly less expensive, lower carbon footprint, and never balanced by the terror of a 5.1 loss to said Albion.

Yesterday I went for a kayak with my friend Billy. My kayak has never lost to its rivals 5.1, or sacked its brilliant hilarious paddle and replaced him with a clipboard.

The kayak scored its first goal, of a stunning performance as we got in the water... kayaking with a friend on Easter Sunday... Lovely.

Second goal to the kayak came as we rounded the harbour wall, and in the distance was a pod of dolphins. To be this close to such majestic creatures, was an honour... 
Sadly we forgot our cameras but this is a picture from the web of a Tan-y-Bwlch Bottlenose Dolphin
Better was yet to come. As billy and I headed south along Tan-y-Bwlch beach so 6 or so dolphins from the pod joined us, and started playing around by our kayaks, getting as close as a paddle length. Hat trick to the Kayak here I think.

Soon they got bored and stopped playing near us, so we went onto the beach to check we weren't dreaming and that actually did happen.

We returned to the harbour (to the awaiting news I had the evening off work, meaning I could have a Roast Dinner!) with big smiles on our faces. And in injury time as we came round the Harbour Wall, one final goodbye as from no where a dolphin rose (in what seemed slow motion) feet from our kayaks.

So this weekend Kayak and nature's free entertainment 5, Wolverhampton Wanderers 0.

In the small amount of time my modern life allows me to spend in nature, its surprisingly frequent that she gives me these amazing moments served up on a plate. Where as its increasingly rare my football team give me anything other than grief. I think its time I started supporting nature a bit more!

Later in the evening we went for a walk waiting for the dinner to cook, and from the pier head we could see a ship scuppered with 3 crew onboard against the rocks by Aber harbour trap, with the RNLI trying everything to get them afloat. This made me only think that perhaps option 2 in the last blog was the best idea....  a yacht in the sea looks dangerous, I'll keep the sea for kayaking with dolphins.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

The Future

The Golden Cloud 7/4/12

The Future

And so for the last week or so once again I've hardly spent any time on my boat, well save for an evening fighting some metal ontop of the chimney.

Now this time its not the hotel, but I'm residing in a plush Ikea showroom of a house, as I dog sit for a lecturer off on his holidays.

The week has been an interesting one of self discussion over what I want from life, what my aims are, and what I enjoy.

One thing that has been revived spending time in the epitome of all that money can buy (including a double bed sized bath tub) has been my realisation that although its nice, it doesn't make me happy. In all honesty the best bit of the house, has been the view, and you can get a view from a shed, or a cardboard box.

Lupus the Dog
A joy of the house/dog sitting has been the time outside walking Lupus the dog. Admittedly the dog itself has been a pain, its a big (expensive) pedigree labradoodle who has defiantly been spoilt every day of its life. Every walk you spend most of the time forward planning how to avoid it seeing that grandma on crutches or that chew-able chiwawa. But on the occasions when I have found a deserted woodland, an empty beach, a open hilltop and the dog runs off, you soon realise how amazing nature's world is, and how important it is to not ruin it. 

During this time outdoors I often look out to sea with the water flat calm and a breeze blowing back my hair thinking soon I could be out there. Next on the footpath though is some woodland, and as I walk past the mushrooms, wild garlic, and other abundant food it is hard to forget that my allegiances with the boat are shared between sailing it into the sunset, or using it as a house in a sustainable life onshore. 

If any of you are unlucky enough to be a friend of mine I'm sure you will know I have 2 dreams that I want to choose between come autumn (and not the sharing life with a Girlfriend or a Puppy).

With a desire for the opportunity the boat offers me I have come up with 2 plans. Both are based on me saving my wages and using them to invest sustainably to make my future life more affordable both for my wallet and my planet.

Option one
The obvious choice for someone who owns a boat, make the boat seaworthy, sail into the sunset and just keep going... abit like this couple  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17084034

This plan has a lot of merrits, not only how much fun it sounds, but also with the limited space and access to shops at sea, you have to live sustainably to survive.

Option two
I have always wanted land, something inside me wants a small stream or lake, some woods and a horse. 

As a youngster who had been brainwashed by society to thinking that a masssive career was all important, I decided I wanted to work my socks off in the city get rich and retire to a large wooded lake. My Dad was going to be the gilly (his job would be to sit all day fishing then tell people how to catch) and mum would be the gardener.

But now this plan has simplified, I just want enough to live. According to the Feudal System of Medieval England that would be about 1/16th of an acre of land for food production, plus a few shared tools, access to a woodland and an ox.

Mark Boyle (Author of Moneyless Man, and Free-economist see www.justfortheloveofit.org) regularly updates facebook with links and sustainability motivation. One quote he posted was that of Mahatma Gandhi "be the change you wish to see". And like Mark I want to see a reinvigoration of society, reconnection between producer and end user, a reduction on reliance of the monetary system, sustainable lifestyles etc.

Now on that line of thought Option one although fantastically amazing I know a boat with humans is always going to need to come ashore, at least to get an orange to stop scurvy. But if I plough my money into a yacht I will have to buy my way on land. To buy i need money, thus a job, and for a job I need a fixed long term abode, and a bank account (all quite hard on the ocean waves)

So Option Two, work my ass off this summer, put all earnings into savings, buy a couple of acres of woodland/pasture. Move my yacht onto the land (temporary structure so no need for planning permissions). Then my life expenses suddenly over time will diminish. 
Housing - Land and Yacht owned outright = 0 P/A
Food - crops off the land, foraging, hunting, fishing = small inputs in first year, decreasing through time
Heat - existing clothes replaced by skins and wools from land, fire fueled by coppicing and managing the woodland.

Straight away I bet your thinking How can you afford that on one summer's wages. Well land is surprisingly cheap (<6000 an acre in parts of the UK) and I only need a small amount.

For doing this I will be the change I wish to see, I will need to grow links with the local rural society to survive, I will reconnect with local producers and barter my wears, I will become overtime increasingly dependent of the monetary system and I will grow a sustainable lifestyle....

So for now, I will only pay for things on the yacht, which can be used if the yacht is on land as well... In case I never go to sea in her.