It has been an interesting time lately. I know, I know…the word ‘interesting’ can carry a huge amount of implications. But in this case, I really do mean it has been interesting this week. And for me, that is a good thing.
I had flown to Geneva in July for some meetings, and because the weather was pretty brilliant there that day, immediately went for a long walk down to the Lake. Lake Geneva is one of those good news-bad news bodies of water for someone who would rather be on the water than doing just about anything else. The good news is that the lake is incredibly long and the scenery along its shore is pretty spectacular. The bad news is that the lake is rather narrow, so no matter where you are, you can always see some part of the shore. The only reason I call this bad news is that years ago, the first time I sailed out of sight of the shore on a boat, I realised that this is what sailing is all about. Well for me at least.
I think that the ‘sailing without seeing land’ thing is so important to me because of its connection to something I learnt when I was younger. My father firmly embedded in my mind the belief that I could solve whatever problems were put in front of me. Well, he didn’t really teach me like that…what he did was not solve my problems for me and forced me to learn the point. And the connection to the ‘out of sight of land’ thing is that when you are out there sailing, it is your responsibility to bring the boat (and yourself) back in one piece. If that isn’t having to do problem solving sometimes on the spot, I don’t know what is.
Then there is that advert that said, “You can never discover new lands if you are afraid to lose sight of the shore.” The first time I saw that years ago, I realised that it was one of those DNA-things going through my body. And whilst admittedly, I am not all that big on some types of variation in my life, I do like the concept of exploring. The difference is that for me, sometimes I am quite content to explore whilst never leaving my own comfort zone.
Part of my exploring has been the whole boating thing. I remember when I first began to delve into learning to sail, I devoured hard-core sailing magazines. These were the magazines that had articles by serious sailors about how they rigged their boats, and how they handled some of the challenges they encountered whilst cris-crossing the worlds oceans. One of these people was a man named Steve Dashew, who had made quite a reputation for building serious ocean-crossing sailboats. In mid-August, I looked up from the aft-deck of Amélie and saw one of his boats. Several days later, after returning to Sol y Mar for a few days, I noticed the boat was in front of my house, so I called him on my hand-held boat radio. Within a couple of hours, we were talking in the middle of a boat-yard in Palma next to his latest creation, the first of his FPB series of boats. Whilst this new boat is pretty special, I was wishing that Amélie had two masts instead of two diesel engines.
Since I wrote last, I also ‘discovered’ a singer that really impressed me. Okay, so I really didn’t discover him, but I heard him for the first time. I had gone to a charity golf outing for Fundacion Handisport (no, not to play; just to support the charity) and a friend of the founder of the Foundation came and sang for the assembled people.
And then there is my art stuff. Lately I have been exploring how to get the upcoming art exhibition set up. I think I have written about this previously, but now it is almost here and I have been working my brain cells overtime figuring out what pieces to exhibit, and how to have the venue arranged to show the work. I have visited the venue a couple of times to get a feel for the salon, and actually made a 1/10th scale drawing of the space in order to mentally position my work. But that seemed so flat, so I decided if I was going to do this, I should do it right (my father apparently was leaning over me that day), so I built a scale model of the actual space. I then printed scaled pictures of the pieces I plan on exhibiting and tried them out in different places on the model.
After multiple changes to the big layout plan, I thought I was ready, and was ready to move on to the other pressing issues. First, the end of September meant the turnover of La Antigua. The family that had been renting it for the past two-plus years were moving out and I needed to go out to the house to make sure that it was in the same condition as it was when they had moved in. The same weekend required Amélie to move from Andratx to her winter location. This is one of those mixed emotion things for me. I had spent over ½ of my time during August and September on the boat and had loved it. Not only was spending all this time good for me mentally, it was very good for my physical health. All the swimming and rowing that I have already told you about did wonders for me, and I actually felt like I was getting fitter. I did find it strange that after one of my rowing or swimming episodes, I did think it would be nice to have a cigarette, but even as I write this letter after three plus months, still haven’t bought any. So all this exercise was good, but then the weather began to degenerate a bit so I didn’t spend as much time on the boat. Less time onboard resulted in less time rowing and swimming, so it was back to Pilates at home.
And then it was the end of September, and time to bring the boat to its winter mooring. The trip to Sta. Ponça was pretty easy, with the minor exception that one of Amélie’s engines would not start, so the trip over was…well, at least it used less fuel and did manage to get her into the slip without bashing into anyone else’s boat.
That brings me to the recap of the art exhibition opening night. Several days before the actual opening night reception, we had dragged all the pictures over to the exhibition venue and set everything up. This included suspending a new piece (Mady's Brother) from the venue ceiling with clear fishing line. Two nights later, it was the reception, which went very well. I didn’t have high expectations for the evening, other than people coming and enjoying some of the pieces I had made over the past five years. But my expectations were met and exceeded as a friend from Puigpunyent who had come over purchased one of my cuadros doblados. All in all, a very good night. I guess it was a good idea when I started making them.
gratuitous Sol y Mar vista photo number 1
gratuitous Sol y Mar vista photo number 2
sorry, can't help it...gratuitous photo number 3
Steve and Linda Dashews latest creation
Jaime Anglada, unplugged
the scaled down model of the venue
setting it all up
Mady's Brother (aluminium, 70 x 80 x 90cm)
copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, James B. Rieley