Journal for 14 December 2000

"Two days in the saddle, you know my body hurt"

(from Me And My Uncle, by John Phillips)

Battling away into an early sea breeze, riding down past Leighton Beach, having been dropped off the back of the bunch yet again. Ah well. If I wasn't feeling the strain of riding up to 250k per week, I'd sit up and admire the sun sparkling off the water, the white sand dotted with early-morning swimmers and dog-walkers, and the red and blue cranes and container ships in North Fremantle in the distance ahead. It's a tough life.

But a busy life, nonetheless, even though neither of us have yet settled into "proper" work. Our container from England was delivered last week and provided some hair-raising moments as well as lots of effort heaving furniture and boxes around. Katie's printing presses had arrived on a HIAB truck I had hired, and Katie could barely watch as the crates swung around precariously before being lowered onto a pallet trolley and wheeled into our garage. They will sit there until Chris Holiday, printing press engineer extraordinary, arrives in February to put the presses together again. By then we should have raised the roof on the garage so that the presses will fit. Pictures to follow when film developed (Katie not being into digital cameras).

Then it was deciding where furniture should go and unpacking endless boxes of objects. Nearly all done now and the place looks a bit more like home, though what with electricians and builders it's still pretty chaotic. All our books and CDs are still in boxes until the shelving gets put up. Holly has found a cubby hole behind the boxes in my office where she sleeps during the day when nothing much is going on.

I've surprised myself by fixing up some consulting work, applying for a job, applying to do a PhD and potentially getting involved in a software project. It's something to do with guilt at enjoying myself.

But back to the fun stuff. We had a great day at the WACA on the first day of the Australia/West Indies Test Match in Perth. Saw McGrath get a hat trick (Campbell, Lara and Adams), as well as reaching 300 test wickets in the process. The West Indies looked completely demoralised, even though they did fight back belatedly. Doing lots of sailing, mainly racing Dragons on Saturdays. I haven't had a good run, first of all being on a wooden boat that got holed in a collision, and having to do my "Dutch boy and dyke" bit by crawling under the foredeck and stuffing my shirt into the hole while we limped back home. And then last weekend breaking one of the runners by hooking it over a spit post while practicing before the start. Katie has sailed on yet another Dragon, but has decided to wait for a less windy time of year given the loads on the sheets when trimming in 25 knots of breeze.

Not all serious racing, though. Twilighting last night with Robo on his Fremantle 8. Typical Robo: we get to Freshie at 5.45pm as arranged. Robo arrives in the boat from Royal Perth at 6.08 for a 6.15 start. Jump straight on the boat and head for the start line, getting the best start in the fleet. Still pretty windy, but with just main and jib (no spinnakers allowed in twilight racing) it wasn't hard work. So we cruised round drinking beer on the downwind legs before a barbecue on the lawn at the cub afterwards.

Katie is rowing several mornings a week, finding the strong Easterlies quite a handful. And we're continuing to take Holly for morning and evening walks by the river or the sea - off to the beach this evening to watch the sunset. The weather here has been great (sorry to English readers). Warm in the daytime but pleasantly cool at night. Strongish sea-breezes keep it feeling fresh in the daytime.

As I indicated at the start, I'm doing lots of early-morning cycling. Still getting dropped from the peleton, taking the odd short cut, getting caught again, dropped again and so on. But managing to stay with them longer each time. This morning was the long ride - 80k - but I felt much more comfortable, if a little saddle-sore.

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