The Amazing...
BackHome Feb 07 May 07


Dreamweaver anchored out for a while, until the weather got too rough and it got too cold. We called around several marinas, intending to stay just until the weather warmed up and we got settled in jobs. Then we would decide where we would be.

We eventually settled for Blind Pass Marina on Treasure Island/St Pete's Beach area. Todd runs this marina. He is a really nice, helpful guy. We found our way around and fell in love with the area. I was particularly fond of the long beach I could walk on for hours, dipping my hot feet in the ebb and flow of the shoreline. We took the dinghy out along the rest of the bay and came out at Blind Pass and explored around Pass-a-Grille, then back through Boca Ciega Bay.

What we saw on the way!

I set to looking for a Nanny position and was contacted by several families. Unfortunately I could not find one in the vicinity of St Pete's Beach. So I decided on a web search for work. I was actually looking for instructions to make up the sailcover and found the JSI website, I was checking through the hardwear and decided to check out the place as I had seen it when we drove out to Lakeland. Wm and I walked around the shop and found the bits and pieces I needed and the stuff he needed for his projects. I noticed the stacks of cloth at the back of the shop and models of various canvas covers. When we were driving out, we saw there was a canvas shop and a sail loft at the back. "You should see if these people have a place for you here," he chortled. "Crikey Wms! The last thing I need is another production job, it would drive me nuts! My creativity needs developing and nuturing, I want diversity." "Check it out," he told me. "Someone has to earn money and pay the bills asap, and with your skills you have a better chance than I to get something quick."

I understood the urgency, I decided I would try the job offered in the sailloft, at least it would be in an area I had little knowledge of and give me a new challenge. I emailed off a resume and got an instant reply from a guy called Bill. He had work in his canvas dept. I dropped in and we talked. A week later he called me up. He did not have the job I wanted but he had a canvas cutter position open. I pondered on it for a few minutes. I studied the catalogue, I remembered seeing their stand at the sail show, I liked what I saw at JSI. They do stuff I am really, seriously interested in. This would be like learning "The Rest". I talked to Bill again. I started work as a canvas cutter on the 5th of March 2007. My sister Hilary and her family were staying at Apollo Beach and..... I WAS BLOODY WORKING!

Hils and me talking shop.

Wms taking Katharine and Vivienne out for a spin.

Before I started, I took them all to our favorite beaches. Marianne, my girl, turned up too. Despite work we had a wonderful week. As soon as I finished work, Wms and I would dash off to stay with them at Apollo Beach.

Our family.

Andrew took the picture so here he is having a rave up in the pool room.

During that week, William was called up by a guy who met us at the marina. He had a draftsman job at AWS Carpentry Contractors for him. Trouble was, it was in Oldsmar. We are both now working on the other side of town. This meant we had to move. My life changed dramatically.

The infamous scooter.

IC"Gilligan's Island" Sharks.

We went to Lakeland to pick up a scooter Wm decided to buy, which I will now have to ride to work 6 am every day. This is because we moved to the only livaboard marina near where we work. It comes with colorful local wildlife and characters that come from a book. This was a far cry from the long beach of Clearwater. I cried buckets to leave Blind Pass and the many wonderful people we met there. I will miss the clean bathroom and Todd's sunny smile and cheerful personality. I would recommend anyone to stay there if your boat can get in. The area has great restaurants, and the beach is to die for. So here we are, "Boonies-by-the-sea", a great hurricane hole. But not where I need to be. We will continue to search the North Clearwater area for a marina/dock/place to anchor that does not mind our boat, and our presence in the evenings.

Dreamweaver nestled up the creek.

Wm renovating the galley.

Now was the time to decide on galley improvements. Space is at a premium on Dreamweaver, so it is necessary to rethink how we use it. If we stay in a marina, what can we use to make it worth the rent? A fridge, a microwave, instant hot water and a working bathroom. God bless the fine marina that allows you to stay on your boat and provide a toilet and hot showers, but the cockroaches that come with it are the biggest I have seen in my life and are very sociable. Our head is still a "no-go" area and we do not have a working galley. I have cooked out on the deck long fact I am really good at it now. I can cook a four course gourmet meal on a Coleman two burner camping stove! I have lived with the cooler and ice collecting and I am not impressed (it is expensive). And hot water is really precious. Wm bought a small fridge and a microwave. He spent the best part of the week making a horrible mess on the boat, but it is worth it!

The new gadgets.

Wm renovating.

The idea was that I would go out on a girls night out with Jane. She is a new friend who also works at JSI, comes from Windsor and speaks my language. The Wm was supposed to sail down to the basin and pick us up for a sailing trip. Jane and I had a fantastic evening at a street party listening to great music, we also visited the Museum of Fine Art Folk Art opening and met another English artist who has a studio on Treasure Island. The next day, Jane and I walked all over the place, and had lunch on the pier watching aerobatic displays and boats in the harbor while great music played in the background. It is so nice to talk to the people who play the music. St Petersburg is my kind of town. It has palm trees, great beaches and plenty of diverse culture. It is what life is all about and the reason we have so much to smile about. This is another side of America. This is the bit about being able to walk through a gilded ailse of sweet smelling peacocks into a courtyard fertile with the human wealth of spirit. All rich one way or another, but in harmony because it is to each, his/her talent that lends this land its amazing character.

Jane and I.

View from the pier.

Alas, our sailing trip was not to be. The boat was not ready. Wm spent Sunday putting bits together. At least my sail cover has been finished!

Now we have hot and cold running water. I can cook, have icecubes on demand and eat yogurt that is really cold!

The end of March finds us up the creek, half land lubbers, half sailors. We go to work, and fall into exhausted sleep at night. The weather is hot. The boat is a work in progress, again...if it ain't happening, make it happen. We have a car, a scooter (I don't use it, I cycle, I like the exercise) a fridge, a microwave, a TV, an MP3, computers (of course!) all gadgetry we actually can live without.

You may ask, why?

Because that's life for us, and life is only what you make it.

Til next month.....