Jacob and I are now underway from Gent to Doornik, in Belgium. It’s the second week of our vacation with “Tasmin West”, our boat. Her other name is RP 15. That is the name she carried as police patrol vessel. The website http://www.gerardine.net has a dedicated page with picture of this former police patrol vessel, built in 1940.
She was finished just in time. The days before we left were very busy with cleaning up and fixing last things. The hull had just been sand blasted and painted, so you can imagine how dirty it was inside.
Almost a year ago Jacob started this intense renovation and before doing that we needed to strip the boat entirely. A welder worked for more than 14 weeks to do all kind of reparations in the hull. She is now beautifully painted and a lot of technical improvements have been done.
So, it’s a well-deserved rest for both of us. We started our vacation with a party on the wharf jetty at home, inviting people we know for years and some people we just met. It’s always an interesting experience to bring together people who are not connected and I enjoy to be the facilitator of this. I launched my new “Tasmin West” boat aperitif called Black Velvet, a mix of Guinness and Champagne. I wanted a rough aperitif, on board we don’t serve drinks for wimp.
We normally steam a few hours a day. All goes very smooth as we are both experienced in ship handling. Only I found out that we have a silent competition between us to be in the wheelhouse for manoeuvring, especially in difficult circumstances. This boat is great to manoeuvre with and we both enjoy it too much. We agreed to do each half of it, but I still try to have an extra turn for example because it’s raining outside. I explained to Jacob that a real gentleman would not send a lady out to moor in the rain. According to him I will not melt from a little rain.
The rest of the time we visit a town or go out on the bicycle. But just a little cycling as we find it too exhausting, actually we are very lazy. In Veere, a beautiful old Dutch town, we had a little too sticky neighbours. And on top they fixed there, what we call, plastic steam iron with a chain to our fresh painted boat. That made my blood pressure go up a little. I friendly asked to moor the chain at his side and have the rope on my bollards. While he was complaining about the fact that the chain would damage his plastic boat he realised why I was unhappy…
In the picture you see one of my favourite recipes. I only prepare it on board because it’s time consuming and smoky. It’s grilled eggplants, paprika and zucchini. I rub them with olive oil, coriander seed and cumin seed and I serve it with Turkish yogurt. The yogurt is spiced with fresh garlic, cumin, coriander and red peppers. I always grill for several dishes. The day after I make a moussaka, pasta or salad with grilled vegetables. I can only grill when it’s not raining as I need to open all the windows. The exhaust from the kitchen is worse as from the old Kromhout 8 cylinder diesel engine!
Family and friends visit all the time, so I am busy with cooking, what I like a lot. My vacation is the best period to catch up with family.
We stayed several days near a beautiful old bridge called Astene. My former husband was there as well. He also restored a police patrol vessel and we spend our time with eating, drinking, discussing engines maintenance and story telling. The later it gets the better are the stories.
Directly after our vacation I will leave for two and a half weeks to China. In China I have travels as well. So from time to time I need to work a few hours during my vacation. Being the organiser of the event, does not allow me to close down my email the weeks before the event will take place. I am lucky to enjoy the work so it is not a burden. I realised that this 3 weeks on board is almost the longest period in the year that I do not need to pack a bag. I got so used to living from a suitcase that the opposite situation is remarkable to me.