Begonia - Christmas 2012
As live-a-boards our choice is somewhat made for us (either stay on the boat in the water, or haul out and find somewhere else to live). Fiscal prudence along with the fact that Begonia is so new to us meant we’d stay aboard to enjoy her and be sure to have Begoina ready for any spring sailing. Winter live-a-board life is not made any easier by the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy(our marina still does not have working showers) and since the dock water system is turned off for the winter and we fetch/carry water to our boat.
My contract at the NY Times ended in December, which suddenly freed me up to focus on all those little niggly boat jobs, and (more importantly) to relax a bit, explore a few more sights in NY, catch up with friends, and ensure that Kyle’s weekends at home were more filled with fun than chores. I’m also job hunting for another short term contract. I always find it amazing how busy a day can get, even when work is not also crammed into the schedule.
Kyle has only once visited a barber in all the time I’ve known him – and that was more for entertainment (a wet shave in an Indian bazaar). He has a tradition of simply shaving his hair off four times a year: on each solstice and equinox (yes, he’s an astronomy geek too!). Of course shaving off your hair at the winter solstice also requires a good warm hat in the northern climes, and we’ve already had several consecutive days where the temperature has refused to rise above freezing, brrr...
A selection of the things we’ve been getting up to follow.
Kyle actually managed to get Christmas Day off work. Given this is likely to be our last Christmas in NY I wanted to make it a distinctly NY one. We attended the ‘Christmas Spectacular’ at Radio City music hall, and feasted on a meal in NY’s China town.
Christmas in New York
For Kyle's birthday we made last minute plans to visit California and his favourite restaurant, a basic mexican called Juan's which he loves! It was just a weekend visit and on route we changed planes at Vegas and managed to win (not much, but a win) in the slots at the airport while we waited!
NY has an amateur astronomy association (the other AAA) and present monthly talks with external guest speakers (authors, astronauts, and the like) at a theatre in the Natural History museum. We’ve been attending where possible and thoroughly enjoying them. The Natural History museum itself is always worth a visit, but at this time of year they have a fantastic Christmas tree decorated with stunning origami animals from all phyla (Jelly fish, sharks, giraffes, etc.)
I’ve also been enjoying myself while Kyle is off at work. Although I’m sure he’d love to join me on some of the things I get up to, he is heroic enough to enjoy the fact that I get to enjoy them…
I finally found time to visit the Metropolitan Museum. I guess I didn’t really have any expectations other than those the word ‘museum’ conjures, but I LOVED it. It has way too much to complete in a day, but I focused on the ground floor and it has (among many other things) whole re-constructions of rooms from various places around the world. As you move from one room to the next you travel through time and history. These are rooms moved brick by brick, furnishings, wall decorations and all and re-constructed at the museum, they even have an Egyptian tomb and off site a complete cloister building. Of course they also have more traditional museum rooms of art works, tribal artifacts, etc, but it was the reconstructions that really amazed me. I definitely plan to return and see what the upper floor, and the cloisters, have to offer.
Not knowing when (or if) I’ll get another job, I decided it was a great time to visit my sister in the UK. She is a schoolteacher and therefore also had time off between Christmas and New Year. Perfect! We spent the week I was there shared between fun days out and organizational chores (my sister’s idea, she believes I have a talent for it, and I was happy to help and keep up the facade). A highlight was a trip to Leeds Castle that had been on my personal to-do list for years, it’s a medieval castle (with many renovations over time) set in beautiful grounds and famed for its population of black swans. Kyle had to make-do with pictures as he was off working poor chap.. I rang in the new year in London with my sister, while Kyle was in NY aboard Begonia and watching the lights on the Empire State building go 'crazy'. While in the UK I got to enjoy some cooking in a 'proper' kitchen, pub grub and even a dose of fish-n-chips while I was there; oh the life! A trip to the UK at this time also had the strange attraction of being a whole lot warmer than NY.
Scenes from Leeds Castle, Kent, England - parts of the building are 900 years old
OK, so there is plenty more wintertime to come. Kyle has his winter hat, and even with my hair, I need to find one too, hopefully before winter is over (I’m way to fussy and have rejected all found/offered so far!). I trust all our friends and family are staying warm., in the mean time I’m back to my boat jobs!