Lately I’ve had a few people suggest I update my StarsEnd2 Blog, but I have to admit that I have been reluctant to bore people with a distinct lack of exciting news.
I mean, the most exciting event in recent days has been almost asphyxiating Frank & myself! It was my first attempt to clean the oven in the 5 years since we bought Stars End 2 (it’s not like I have used it excessively during this time to warrant cleaning) but I was unprepared for the dramatic results that had Frank & I contemplate having to sleep on deck in the cold, howling gale last night, let alone the fact that we nearly choked to death!
I was inspired with a facebook share I had downloaded (thanks a lot Julie Taylor, whoever you are!!!) of a home remedy way of cleaning your oven using just ammonia, and since we have had a big bottle of the stuff rattling around on board for ever, I thought- great! I can use some of it up whilst showing Frank I am a floating domestic goddess too!! Now, the idea is to place a cup of ammonia in a dish in the top of a pre-heated oven plus a dish of boiling water on a lower shelf, and leave it overnight, as I assumed, to perform some chemical magic. What is not mentioned is the reaction. I decided that I would do this step just as we finished our supper, rather than wait till bedtime, so that I did not need to boil water later and we could relax watching a movie in the comfort of our bedroom area at the front of the yacht (where the TV is hung on the bulkhead at the end of our bed).
So I carefully placed the ammonia in a baking dish on the top rack and then placed the dish of boiling water on the bottom shelf. Well, the reaction was an immediate chemical onslaught- the smell & fumes were so strong that I was gagging before I’d even shut the oven door. In hindsight, this gem of a cleaning marvel is probably not aimed at a small oven enclosed in the confined space of a 39 foot yacht! The result was that Frank & I spent a looooong time sitting outside in the cold cockpit and still had to suffer an uncomfortable night breathing in air that smelt like a thousand cats had pee’d all over our bed.
However I was still hopeful that this morning would demonstrate that last night’s drama was well worth a sparkling clean oven, as the built-up grease and caked on spills simply sponged away! In my dreams! I did end up with a much improved and cleaner oven, but it took 4 hours of scrubbing & cleaning and I still ended up using the more traditional and toxic can of oven spray to get the end result. I will think twice before tackling a ‘natural’ solution to a problem.
So we are anchored back down south less than 100kms from home, and moving around to different locations to avoid being buffeted as the strong winds we are experiencing, change direction. It is definitely not as cold as when we first moved on board, but we are still grateful for the clear covers that we had made to enclose the cockpit, so we can enjoy soaking up the sun’s warmth but stay snug and protected from the wind. Frank continues to work during the week, so we are pretty locked in to the yacht, and acess to internet connection.
Despite friends wondering how I fill my days whilst Frank works, I keep myself very busy and am never at a loss of what to do. As well as all the normal day to day chores of living on board, like washing (by hand) or making bread (by hand), cleaning & cooking, (I love experimenting & cooking up tasty meals) I have been doing some revarnishing on deck and keeping up with the neverending task of polishing all the stainless.
On days when it is too cold, rainy or windy on deck, I have been in my ‘obsessive organisational’ element. I have transferred many hundreds of downloaded movies, acquired from family & friends over the years, onto one hard disk, where I have deleted duplicates & categorized them according to genre. I have done the same sort of thing with all the miscellaneous digital photos that have been collected over time onto various discs and computers. Now they are all labelled & stored in neat folders onto one hard drive, ready to be added to, when I start scanning the thousands of photographs I have stored in ziplock bags according to year, back in our storage shed. I have already scanned and downloaded every recipe I own and all those I wanted to keep from all my vast collection of cookbooks (that I have now given away!) so thousands of recipes are neatly organised & stored on it’s own digital tablet. Since we moved on board the yacht, I have taken a lot of time re-organising every container, cupboard & locker. I have started a book that lists what food items are stored in what container in which locker- from tins, jars & packets, pantry, frozen & fresh foods.
I have even managed to make some sense of Frank’s areas on the yacht (and THAT is no mean feat I can tell you!)- I made him tell me what every random cable, plug or charger is for and labelled it for fast and easy recognition. (LOVE my label maker!) Spare parts & tools are now stored in containers according to category like plumbing, electrical, engine or water maker and their location is logged on a saved folder he can access on his computer when he needs to know where anything is! So far, Frank is thrilled with this logistic solution to his organisational problems. My hardest problem is trying to impress on Frank the importance of putting things back promptly & neatly in the SAME place so that they will be there the next time he needs to access them. So, whereas you might feel I have gone a little overboard (haha!)with my organisational strategies, with such restricted space as we have on board Stars End 2, I have to say that it is not only important to have this sense of order but it is really the only way we can fit as much in as we have.
We catch up with friends & family, on land or on the yacht, as opportunties present themselves, and without a shadow of doubt, Frank & I are both relishing a much less complicated and stressful way of life, where our biggest daily decisions are based around what the weather is doing, where we should anchor and what I should cook for dinner! Life sure ain’t bad!