I have a good friend who, admittedly, has had some problems lately.  The other day we were talking and I told him about a programme that used to be on telly in America.  Each week, the returning cast and whomever the guests were would sing the same song.  The lyrics would change based on either the guests or on current events, but the refrain was always the same.  The refrain contained the lyrics, “If it weren’t for bad luck, I would have no luck at all.”  As I have been told more than once, this line doesn’t seem to apply to me.  And whilst I don’t feel that is completely true for some areas of my life, some areas have been doing brilliantly lately.

I have some very close friends in various parts of the world who are very special to me.  I have a wonderful home, with spectacular vistas of the sea.  I am once again able to be on the water, and Amélie has come into my life.  I get to work with great clients; get to paint and do ceramics and write.  Things are going pretty well.

Speaking of work (and I do mean ‘proper work,’) as I began to write this chapter, I was in Geneva again.  Whilst I would rather be home (who wouldn’t I suppose) than have to travel for work, Geneva is a very special place to spend time.  Having said that, when my plane landed this morning, the skies were completely overcast and the temperature was only 14c – I can’t even remember when it was that chilly in Mallorca this year.  But shortly after getting settled in my hotel, I went for a walk along the lake.  (I am writing this part of the chapter on Sunday).  Everyone was out enjoying the sun that had begun to peak out from behind the clouds, and it did feel great to be part of the wonderful Swiss culture again.  I even managed to get something to eat from my favourite pannini shop in front of the omnipresent fountain.  The fountain symbolises Geneva, well, along with chocolate, watches, secret bank accounts, and extremely expensive black cars with middle-eastern registration plates of course.

When I returned home, I had a plan in mind.  First, I needed to finalise plans of where to keep Amélie for the winter.  The good news is that when I bought her, part of the deal was that I would own the swinging mooring in Port de Andratx.  The bad news is that the gap in the harbour faces southwest, and in winter, that is the direction of all the nasty weather that hits the island normally.  Last year, the harbour was not a good place to be, so I will be moving Amélie to a marina berth somewhere on the island.  I wanted to get all that sorted the week I return.  I also wanted to install something I just made for Amélie. 

The aft cabin has a relatively large opening port on which the previous owner had put a rather tacky translucent photo of the Caribbean.  As the term ‘tacky’ is pretty appropriate, I had decided to replace the photo with some louvers.  I suppose I could have sourced them from a marine supplier, but instead decided to build them myself.  So after some clever geometric calculations and fine cutting with a small saw, I built the louvers just before flying to Geneva.  Installing them is part of my plan for my return to Mallorca (let’s hope the luck holds and I can actually figure out how to do it).

Just back from Germany – yes, this chapter was written in chunks over a three week period.  My trip there was good, but it is always good to return home.  When I booked my flights, I found a flight that left Frankfurt at 0430 in the morning.  A bit of a shock to the body, but it was worth it to be back at Sol y Mar.  I had planned on heading out to Andratx right away to spend some time on Amélie, but I have been caught up in some work projects so I haven’t made it yet, and don’t plan on it until the end of the week. 

In between work projects, I have spend some time cranking up the ceramica once again.  I had previously made some ashtrays for my brother and after one of them broke, he had asked me to make more for him.  Okay.  Then I had been thinking about the plates and cups onboard Amélie and wasn’t all that thrilled with what the previous owner had left – they are very nice, but….  So I decided to make a new set of dishes and cups and serving platters for the boat as well. 

The ceramica process is great fun.  Actually I think doing anything creative is good fun, but this is special fun for me.  I take stock, un-fired materials, design a pattern on them, paint the pattern on them, then put several coats of glazing on them.  I used to use a pink glaze but apparently the government where the glazing liquid is made discovered that it contained lead, so now they have reformulated the liquid.  Not too sure about the green colour, but it really doesn’t make any difference – once they are fired in some turbo-hot oven for a couple of days, the glazing turns dead transparent…and if I put it on correctly, extremely glossy.  So tomorrow (I need to put a couple more coats of the glazing on) I will haul this load to the oven facility and a few days later, should have more fun kitchen things to figure out how to store.  Aha!  Another project.  How lucky am I? 

Last minute addition: Amélie will be spending the winter in Palma...away from the potential nasty storms and even closer to Sol y Mar. 



how lucky am I to see this each day?


the fountain that was clearly happy to see me


hmmmm, pannini's....hmmm


ready for the multiple coats of glazing


looking a bit silly, but ready to be put in the big oven

back to the top

copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, James B. Rieley