Sunday, 4 September 2011

What I did on my Holiday

A friend asked me how my sailing holiday went. Here is the transcript of the conversation Steve and I had on a chat service. Steve knew all the people involved but names have been changed to protect the innocent (though there were none). So here is what I did on my holiday....

STEVE: So any good stories from the holiday
POL: The only story of note was that I was Jonah.. 

POL: Mr. unlucky

STEVE: elaborate 

POL: Arrived in Mykonos a day early .. all well and good ..the following day we go to get ferry to Paros due at 2pm .. Noon we pop into ferry agent to ask how long before departure we have to be on the Quay. Instead told its cancelled due to high winds and rough seas (force 8 gale)
POL: put on next ferry due 5.30 

POL: Hang around in town all afternoon with our luggage

POL: check ferry status .. it’s late 

POL: have to sit in cafe checking each 30 mins 

POL: finally at 7 pm they say its coming
STEVE: so a relaxing start to the trip........
POL: 7.30 faffing on quay with a grillion peeps queuing up to get on
POL: No official announcements, but a lady passenger who seems to know everything says she’s heard its NOT going to go to Paros as its too windy.
POL: So now stuck in myk. But lady says she knows of a tourist boat that should be coming over.
POL: It all then gets a bit Dunkirk with a band of 15 of us with this kind lady trying to arrange a friend of friends boat which in the end involves me in the Port authorities office trying to get written permission for it to leave while family sitting on cases wondering wtf is going on.
POL: Anyway 3 hrs of no joy and an overpriced desperate hotel booking later we go to bed
STEVE: where were the Smiths and Joneses?
POL: They flew Lon- Athens - Paros 

POL: I didn’t as fancied extra day in Myk
POL: and ferries are NEVER cancelled ( they said) , but these are apparently abnormal high winds .. and I’m meant to be sailing in this??
STEVE: so you get bladdered in Mykonos that night I guess?
POL: No, Too grumpy. Anyway .. v long story, loads of grief and an expensive hotel bill we get a ferry to Paros on Sunday morning to meet the Smith and Jones’s and also the White’s who got there the night before ..
POL: Only to find that MY boat isn’t in the port !
STEVE: lol 

POL: ‘cos of gales, last users had to leave it on other side of the island
STEVE: this is now very funny
POL: I’m now fuming
POL: so.. get taxi to other side of island, do a record breaking inventory and get going
POL: my boat is in a north facing bay straight into the Meltemi (local fierce wind)
POL: We have to crash out in heavy seas
STEVE: so you were on holiday with the disgraced NoTW editor? 

POL: No, if only .. .. me, mrs P, X + Y (2 daughters) and a daughters friend ( girl)
POL: in a force 7 

STEVE: jeez 

POL: having to catch up with others 

STEVE: scary I imagine
POL: It’s so rough the ceiling in bow cabin came off and was lying on the bed .. lights and all 
.. anyway .. 

STEVE: hahaha
STEVE: this gets better & better
POL: so we meet up with them all have a great night out. We all finally chill 
( + I fix the ceiling)
POL: Next day brave another F6-7 to get to Ios
STEVE: anyone vomit?
POL: (yes daughter X.. but more on that later)
POL: arrive at 4.30 to find we have to wait til 5.30 for last ferry to leave so we can use quay. 

POL: so White’s and us queue, Smith turns up later we tell him we all waiting .. ferry comes and goes .. Smith just steams in ahead of everyone and nabs best spot. hmmph.
STEVE: hahahaha
POL: Now all tired .. but we go out that night in Ios anyway, was a late one
POL: Hence X is ill .. unseasick related.
POL: go to bed really late.
STEVE: lucky ole Jones’s had their own hired skipper
STEVE: so could feel sh*te and let him boss everyone
POL: Yeah exactly, I have to get up early to move our boat before early ferry arrives .. find a space further down the quay .. 

POL: go back to bed .. woken at 11am by being tossed around cabin and smashing crunching noise 

POL: another huge ferry has come in and it’s wash caused carnage with the boats and my mast is smashing on mast of nearby boat they swinging over so far..
POL: I loose all my mast-head wind instruments 
… urrgh
POL: encouraged by others I go to the port authority to complain about ferry captain ..
POL: they are more sympathetic than I expected but they say the report must be in Greek 

POL: So i go away and text my report to a Greek friend who texts a phonetic translation back
POL: anyway .. this takes a day or so and we are all too tired to leave Ios anyway so it didn’t matter. So the following morning I take phone to greek cafe and the owner kindly agreed to write it out in proper Greek.
POL: Then the phone battery dies mid translation. It's all gong wrong.
POL: Finally get it done but we are in a rush as want to leave .. go over to port authority .. hand them the report and they ask when i was planning to leave .. "ASAP" i say
POL: "Well you can't leave port " they say!!!
POL: why???? I Enquire more than a little shocked.
STEVE: this gets funnier & funnier 

STEVE: best lol tale I have had
POL: because .. they say .. 
"it says here you have had catastrophic damage to your boat and so that must mean it is not seaworthy . We will not let you leave until an engineer inspects it and does repairs" !!!!
POL: OH FCK.. why did I bother reporting this.
POL: “what do you mean catastrophic?” Turns out that somewhere in the translation from English to Greek of “totally smashed the wind instruments” the Greek for “catastrophic” had been used.
POL: I then had to argue that it’s only the wind instruments and it’s perfectly sailable without them.
POL: “well it doesnt say that here .. so you cant leave”
POL: well can i change it ? 

POL: “yes ok” ... pheew..
POL: but report has to be redone …in Greek ..
POL: back to square one 

POL: But they do agree to write down the Greek for “broken anemometer” (which I should have worked out as it’s a Greek word) and I had to copy it out carefully after scratching out the bits I thought looked like "catastrophic”.
POL: which is hard when its all in geek handwriting.
they say come back in an hour, so i wait an hour 
and I go back and ask for a copy of their report for my charter co and insurance .. 

POL: Nope i have to fill in a form for that.
POL: which then got very confusing as of course it’s in Greek.
POL: It got farcical when the nice girl in their office was helping me through the form questions, (they even need to know your mothers name)
POL: Name of boat.. yeah yeah etc .”skipper ticket” yeah.. . “where is the place of your berth .. “just over there” I say pointing towards the boat.. “where? Paros?” yes 
of course ..
POL: and “the date you Berth” .. “day before yesterday”
POL: “no no that cannot be right”.. 

POL: anyway after a minute of total confusion of course I work out that they meant Birth not Berth! Silly me!
STEVE: hahaha..Well I went to Paris but nowhere near as funny to retell
POL: well we finally got away .. 

POL: but on the way out of Ios to next place one of the girls says the loo isn’t working. 
(bear in mind there are strict instructions on a boat not to put anything that hasn’t been through you down the pan)
POL: so she struggles and struggles 
and gets v v embarrassed.. the pan is filling up but not going down .. and now at top .. 

POL: this in a strong wind with the boat kicking
STEVE: good grief 
: poo tastic?
POL: Something must be done as we can’t be pumping stuff out in the next idyllic harbour we are heading for. So yours truly has a most unpleasant experience involving bailing out pans and manually removing the blockage.
POL: yuuuuch 
…. not a good day.
STEVE: this has livened up a dull afternoon! 
v v funny.
POL: We finally get into a really shabby private “marina” and I’m pretty done in by now so after a meal go to bed at 11.30
POL: But woken up at 2am by one of the other family’s teenagers rifling my boat’s fridge for booze. Bawl him out and check boat for everyone else. All are onboard apart from daughter Y and her friend .. 

STEVE: haha 

POL: So got up at 2am got dressed to look for them.
Quay was empty so headed towards town - they had been in a late café and were coming back. I told them they were taking the p*ss and to go to bed 

POL: not in good mood ..go back to bed but woken again at 3 by noise and find Y and friend on quay chatting to kids on the other boats.
POL: I yell at them .. but apparently "mum said it was ok"
POL: huh? Apparently Mrs P had woken in the mean time .. not known what I had been thru and said “sure you can sit on the quay” ..
POL: Ok , I wasn’t in the best of negotiating moods by now so just said “overruled ..go to bed” 

STEVE: divide & conquer......? 
The kids would have been overjoyed 

POL: yes exactly .. 
 so I’m in trouble with Mrs P later for that ..
STEVE: er why? 

POL: being an unfeeling bstd of course.. anyway . I’m shattered in the morning and find a force 6 blowing on my stern , so going to be hell to get out as no control as you pull fwd on bow anchor ..
POL: so i decide that in order to not impale luxury cruiser on opposite side of marina I should check and maybe move my anchor ..
POL: manually, as it turned out, as we can’t pull it in on windlass as for some reason as its really tight 

POL: I dive in marina with mask to find anchor 15ft down and fouled in biggest mess of mooring chains and concrete blocks you’ve ever seen
POL: anyway .. long story .. it takes me about 30 mins of Jaques Cousteau work in dirty water (wish I had waited before unblocking loo now.. wouldn’t have made any difference to this water) to shift it and get it back to the boat ..
POL: job done .
STEVE: u r turning into James Bond 

POL: hardly, but mate I turned my hand to everything this hol
STEVE: this is a holiday right? 

POL: Apparently.
POL: But finally we get out of port, the Smiths had a real mare getting their anchor up too, and head for idyllic deserted bay where we all raft up for the night...
POL: Good evening though, idyllic bay and the kids go swimming off the boats in the phosphorescence. At 11.30 I want to go to bed, the wind is picking up (off shore) and its pitch black ..
POL: so I tell the kids (same ones who have pssd me around the night before) to get out of the water and go to bed ..
POL: of course i get the "why?" 
"jeez.. cos i am skipper .. i am responsible for your safety , its nearly midnight , there is an offshore wind picking up and i need to know you are safe before i go to bed to catch up on sleep i missed because of you the night before .. that’s why .. now get out "
POL: Huumpghh .. Mrs P has a go at me for not just giving them 15mins more and I am now "the official bstd”. I am beginning to feel sorry for Cpt Bligh.
POL: get up following day to make final passage to base port .. long sail with strongest winds yet .. 
 all ok but hard work and lot of concentration
POL: get into at 5.30 pm to find the worst stern too moorings on outside of marina wall available .. strong winds and big swell ..
POL: Watch Smiths mess up their mooring 

POL: Watch Wights fk up their mooring ..
POL: Fortunately we bang it in perfectly, the family have been great on the boat, but feel relieved to get boat finally secured knowing that is the last time I have to do it. 
….. pheww ..
POL: But there is still this swell rolling down the quay making it a mare below decks. So all desperate to get off and go ashore. Which we are just about to do when Mrs P somehow manges to drop her special gold neck chain and watch it vanish down what I swear was the only crack in the flooring. It was tiny .. If you’d tried to drop that chain down it deliberately you wouldn’t have managed it..
POL: So as others are gathering in a cosy Bar yours truly is now armed with screw drivers and coat-hangers taking up the flooring of the boat to get into the bilges.
STEVE: Bldy hell
POL: Huge relief when chain is located in the bilges and we finally scuttle off to the café, which I have to say I was very relieved to see as the boat toilet hadn’t been trusted since the “incident”. Problem was the cafe, being near the port was obviously first stop for seasick travelers coming off the ferry. Most unpleasant.
POL: So glad to finally be off the boat, all moored up and have first beer in front of me. yeee haaaa
POL: first sip, then phone rings ( its now 8.30pm ) 

POL: its Mrs W who is still on her boat and has just seen a tw@t of an Italian on a 55fter balls up a mooring
POL: me- “thanks for the info but so?” 

POL: “well he’s picked up your anchor 
and your boat’s all over the place”
STEVE: ffs 

POL: At that point I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
POL: I ran back through town to find the ar3e had not only picked my anchor up, but had now redropped it .. but not where it was .. he dropped it about 4 boats down so it was now crossing all their chains
POL: So .. in the dark, in pitching swell we had to get the boat out and try and get the anchor up
POL: took MR W and one of the Smith boys 

STEVE: after a few beers? 

POL: NO .. if only .. was after only ONE SIP of my beer 

POL: anyway .. anchor well and truly tangled with others and took inginuity and rope work to get it free .. about 30 mins .. with Mrs W shouting "advice " from the shore ..
POL: trying to tell her husband on MY bow what to do from shore. I asked her to call by phone as we couldn’t hear her.
STEVE: oh dear 

POL: took her a while to find her phone and call me.. (somehow her call went to answer phone ☺..) gave me enough time to sort it out.
POL: anyway .. finally banged it back on the mooring and got back to the beer that Jones had now drunk for me at about 10.15..
POL: That night was hell .. we were bouncing all over the place .. Mr and Mrs Jones even took their cushions and slept on the quay instead ..
POL: The following morning we handed back the boat .. and I WAS SO RELIEVED !!!!!!!! 

POL: Trip home was relatively uneventful, ferry’s on time. Everyone else on it chucking up, apart from the newly hardened Polemic family. Amazing not one case of seasickness throughout, even from the friend.
STEVE: I think after all that you need a holiday..
POL: Extraordinary thing is, despite what I was going through, the daughter’s friend said it was her best holiday ever!
POL: As for me.. I was looking on enviously at cruise ships that went past. Sun-lounger on the promenade deck for me next year I think.

Saturday, 1 January 2011


Who is Polemic Paine?

The name Polemic Paine derived from needing an anonymity behind which to blog for employment and, lesser so, personal reasons. 'Polemic' because I would like to think that what I write can be thought provoking and Paine from the great Thomas Paine.

Polemic Paine was born when I was handed the keys to the Macro Man blog where I cut my writing teeth and soon became the main contributor of 'Team Macro Man'. Having been a casualty of the great City job meltdown of the past couple of years, losing access to Bloomberg charts and analysis meant it was hard to keep up the intricacies of detailed trade ideas and, with a move to a new career, meant that regular posting would be difficult. By chance the original Macro Man was re-emerging after his employer's compliance induced absence and it made sense to pass the keys of the Macro Man blog back to him

Polemic's Pains was ticking along in the background for personal content but has since been resurrected for me to use to vent any feeling I have on anything. Most of it is finance based but not all.

Is your background prestigious enough for me to warrant your views as coming from an 'expert'?

At no point consider me an expert in anything. Science background, stints at various universities, the last being famous for economics, led to a career in the financial markets with postings around the world with large institutions. 25 years of market experience does not make me an expert, it makes me a sanguine cynic towards beliefs peddled by others for their own benefit. I rather believe in building up one's own framework of economic, trading and personal values from first principles and experiences. Don't trust anyone trying to sell you a story, least of all me.

Why do you write then?

 I am trying to test some of those  aforementioned self derived personal beliefs and theories with a wider audience and hopefully logical feedback will push me back on track should I have strayed. Of course I also like to have fun with parody, poetry and creative stupidity and if I can share that for the enjoyment of others then all the better. Sometimes the steam built up at frustrations over the world's stupidities has to vented in the odd rant too. It is also nice to build an archive of diverse thoughts for my heirs to have a place to refer to when asking about what great great grandpa was like. I wish my ancestors had had this facility.

Would you do link shares and advertising?

Advertising probably no, though there is a price for everything, and link sharing immediately means I have to select who is in and who is out and I don't want to upset anyone by excluding them or upset them by including them amongst the average. I also tend to find blogrolls are a bit like coffee table books. Rarely read but there to give an impression of being well read. I will always make links to references when used.



All polite messages from humans gratefully received and swiftly responded to.