Ben and Courtney

Yay! Ben and Courtney come to visit.

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We eat fish

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I order Octopus

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Shaved ice

The Cambridge University Theatre Group perform at the university.

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Et tu Brute

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We sail

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We dive

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Bat Fish attack Ben

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Bat Fish attack me

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Old friend cleans Puffer fish as we set out

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Gentle sunset sail

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Sunset from boat

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At the university

It has actually been a very busy week with meetings of our Board of Governors.

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At least 4 Nobel prizewinners in this picture

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This is the best restaurant in the world! We eat lots of little starter things, amazing fried octopus, goya champuru, shellfish from the bay with spring onions and beni imo and finally a huge fresh fish each, just pulled from the East China Sea to be cooked in butter and garlic. All home cooked by my much beloved Noda san and Ishigaki san. We drink Orion and awamori on the rocks. Aregato gozaimasu.

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Octopus

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Ben likes fish

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We meet Godzilla on the way out of the restaurant

Background noise:

https://www.oist.jp/news-center/news/2017/9/29/dr-cherry-murray-elected-new-chair-or-oist-board-governors

What a great week! Thanks Courtney, thanks Ben.

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Stabat Scaffie

So, I take up the story from last night. You will remember that I had to watch the Scaffie being slowly dragged to her doom as her anchors dragged in high seas. I, the pusillanimous, dared not jump into the raging surf to rescue her.

I woke this morning fearing the worst. It is  6:30 when I rush onto the beach with my heart thumping. She is way down by the bridge but still afloat and not grinding horribly on coral.

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She has had a rough night.

The yard and sail have burst loose, she is full of water and a very good sea anchor, which I should have rigged, and a hammock have been washed away. Otherwise she seems OK.

The place where she is, is very accidented, The bottom is ridges of coral and as I drag her back to the original mooring, I trip and stumble in the high waves and surf. My legs and hands are cut on the coral as I flounder.

Frankly folks, I cannot think of anything I enjoy more. At 7:00 am I am dragging my Scaffie through the high waves to moor her securely. I stumble and spend a lot of time underwater, the wind is strong, the waves are high and I am totally alive.

I set 3 anchors and drive them into the coral sand with a lump hammer. This is mask and snorkel stuff.

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I think she will be OK

So, this all goes to reinforce my belief that you have the best fun when things go wrong.

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Scaffie Agonistes

I was wrong to state in the last entry that the storm was over. It has redoubled its efforts and today is very windy and the sea is very angry. Luckily it is Saturday and I sit the live long day watching the Scaffie tugging at her anchor rope.

I went out early this morning to bale her out and check the anchors. Regrettably and unexpectantly, the weather got much worse during the day. At low tide we are Ok because the reef absorbs the anger of the ocean but as the day matures the tide rises and the huge swells sweep over the reef to pay court to my sweet, innocent Scaffie.

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Help

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She is brave.

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What can I do?

So, what can I do?  The anchor is dragging. I measure the progress by  laying markers along the seafront. I am too scared to go into the sea to reset the anchors. The tide is super high and I fear I will drown if I go out there.

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Angry, probably Brexit.

So I sit and wait. Hopefully the wind will abate and with the low tide the seas will moderate. Poor Scaffie, I try to talk to her about her suffering but she is very closed.

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Discipline

A big typhoon skirts Okinawa. All the fishing, diving boats are hauled out of the water to avoided being washed ashore. Work really gets in the way and I am unable to take the Scaffie to safety. She will have to ride it out at anchor. Will the anchors drag? Will she be wrecked?

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Out on the reef

This situation imposes strict discipline onto my usual lackadaysality.  Wake up at 6:00. Rush out, in blue towel clad, to see if the boat is still there. Wade out into sea in driving rain to bale boat and check anchors. Go to work but escape at lunchtime to wade out to recheck anchor and bale. It has been raining like crazy and the winds are very strong. Leave work as early as possible to wade out to check anchor and bale, usually in driving rain. I love it! Discipline, stern mistress!

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Still life.

The last 3 days have been wonderful. However we have not had a real typhoon, like in our faces, for 2 years. My Okinawan buddies feel this is very strange and blame Brexit, as the harbinger of global wierdness.

The bad weather has driven birds to shelter and a field nearby is sputtered with plovers.

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Pacific Golden Plover faces into the wind.

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Kentish Plover yearns for Maidstone.

Now the storm is over and I feel gratification that my 16 ft Scaffie braved it at anchor whilst vainglorious diving boats skulked onshore.

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Brid O’Gorman

Of late, I have grown weary of Irish flute playing. The new recordings are played at insane speeds, they play in wierdo keys, they play in wierdo rhythms more akin to Brazil, Greece, Lapland than the bogs.  They show off with incredible power and volume with modern flutes with sound holes so big that my fingers would get stuck in them. They play crans.

I have no interest in this. I yearn for the a player who will demonstrate the wonderful melodies of Irish tunes at a tempo that allows me to savor.

Oh joy to stumble across the playing of Brid O’Gorman.

Listen to the tone, listen to the pace, listen to the accuracy of each roll. To the uninitiated, let me assure you that this is wonderful flute playing.

Oh, the irritation of the cran. This is a piping ornamentation that can be played on D. I dislike it. It sounds good on the pipes but has no place in flute playing as it introduces clutter and distracts from the lift that is so essential to drive flute tunes. Look folks. we are playing the flute here, not imitating the pipes.

I think the cran in flute playing was introduced by Matt Molloy, who is a deity,  in the mid 70s. I remember being in Milton Malbay in 1979 where the consensus was that Molloy did not play traditional music because of his overuse of ornamentation. Gosh.

Brid O’Gorman eschews the cran, I think.

Buy Brid O’ Gorman’s recording here and listen to traditional tunes played in the manner  of which I approve.

https://bridogorman.bandcamp.com/album/bluebells-are-blooming

Does anyone care what I approve of?  Not really.

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Desert Island Discs

So, I was driving back home listening to a podcast of Desert Island Discs. The idea of the program is like old people look back on their lives and represent their miserable existence in music.

I realize I can do the same thanks to YouTube.

Holy cow it is impossible to choose but here we go.  I could choose another hundred clips but these in some way follow my geographical changes.

Gordon Duncan was the best piper ever.

I had grown out of rock roll until I heard the Red Hot Chili Peppers play unplugged in San Francisco. They were incredible!

I spent 2 years in the 70s in Oran Algeria. This is the music I heard on hot summer nights. Cheb Khaled is the best singer.

The Bothy Band in 1979. Irish traditional music never got any better.

Thanks to Topher I got to meet Neil Young. He has been part of my life since 1970.

The Beatles!

Okinawa! Shimanchu No Takara is like a modern national anthem. Here sung by 10 year old girls.

France is the country that I have spent the most time in. The 90s in France were explosive. It did not last long. Les Rita Mitsouko were the best band ever.

The Grateful Dead.

I remember so well the Stones playing this on Top of the Pops.

Joni Mitchell!  God bless you.

 

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Low in the Water

It rained a lot when I was in Hawaii and this means that the faithful Scaffie fills up with water. This means that she is very low in the water and pulls harder on the anchor line  risking a dragging situation.

There were several reasons wherefore I could not get out to bale her. The first was that Tuesday was the last day of Obon. On this day the ancestors return to the sea and Naoko forbade me absolutely from going into the ocean. The second was work, which is increasingly getting in the way of having a good time.

So I finally make it out to the boat on Saturday morning.

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Not too bad.

On Friday night we say bye bye to Wilko.

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Takoyaki!

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Arisa brings beautiful grapes from her home town.

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Something like Paella

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Another leg of lamb goes the way of all flesh. Thanks Saha for the help.

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Yay Wilko!

Great fun but frankly too hot. I sweat enormously, feel very self conscious and ugly. The Japanese women are all fresh and beautiful. How do they do it?

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