Welcome to the blog of the sailing yacht Sea Bunny.

Monday, September 8, 2014

House for sale - two careful owners

Mummified squirrel
New back roof
Staying in Asia opened now up an opportunity. Our tenants had moved out so we went back to empty the loft and put the property on the market.

During our visit we got to the top of the roofer's list for repairing the damage from last year's storms.

Not This Year

Day 1 -Ice machine on right shoulder

When the consultant said that a shoulder reconstruction was necessary - too much winching - we laughed.

Then explained that this was the third year that all had been set for the S.A. then halted.
Now issue preventing the elective surgery was nowhere for our home, Sea Bunny.

No problem the surgeon actually phoned the owner of One 15 Marina where she was and arranged that she could stay for the maximum three months - well this is high, high end Asia.

Day 2 On Sea Bunny

Not a very flattering photo - definitely not showing the glorious bruising but hey at least I got my clothes on by myself!

A sling worn without the arm in will serve as a to others warning to keep clear for several weeks.
The flight cabin bag becomes my shopping and laundry trolley.

The downside to this time was that Richard had a fairly new computer stolen in town, this caused more concern than the surgery!

We are leaving for S.A.

So there is only the freezer meat and fresh food to put on board before we leave.

Last minute jobs install new auto pilot, fill dive tanks.

Quite an expense is having the life raft serviced.

Last time one of us saw it opened was back in Australia.

Fingers crossed that there is not a new one to purchase.

The factory is full of the type seen on ocean liners.

Well it inflates - looks like new.

I don't remember such a large boarding ladder or as many details printed on the inside so lots of photos are taken.

Pete and his mate check all fixings and the contents for expiry date.

The usual case is made for a two year stamp instead of the annual SOLAS (safety of life at sea) one - achieved!

UK Visit

An English invention- fan vaulting
As well as family visits, this trip was designed to deal with unfinished business regarding various graves in March cemeteries and to progress a memorial for my mother.

Staying with my cousin Valerie and her husband Robert near Wisbech proved very supportive.

Nearby Anglo Saxon Peterborough Cathredral which is the resting place of Catherine of Aragon and the first resting place of Mary Queen of Scots has a superb Gothic west front which our photos did not do justice to.

Untouched since 1250

It was an opportunity to show Richard the only 200 foot long hand painted wooden nave ceiling completed by 1250 that is in the UK

I remember being stunned by it as a child..

On Loch Leven

Our children always make us very welcome.

Nik, Lou and dog Rapha in Surrey.

James, Jane, Joshua, Jake and dog Digger in Hampshire.

Catharine, Steve, Archie,Max and no dog in Edinburgh.

So each visit sees us travelling the length of England.

Hi Guys

A warm Easter in Edinburgh with the castle garden daffodils in full bloom is rather special.

The 10 year project to complete a good track around Loch Leven is now complete so further outings for the boys will be planned. There is even an app.

We snuggled into a Bothy for a few days at Falkland and
had our first mammoth session of monopoly.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Vietnam NW Loop 5 Hanoi Kids

Cross with care
Must make a comment on hanoikids.org.
This is a voluntary English speaking charity (the only one in the world) where local university students offer to take tourists on free tours (you cover entrance fees, transport, food and donation).

On the two days they were with us, we saw the city through different eyes. We did mundane things like getting a SIM card and crossing the road to beat the swarms of bikes.

Handmade Cards

Then the lads took us for our second cup of the Hanoi specialty Ca Phe Trung - Vietnamese egg coffee, in a cafe that was down a long alleyway, up winding stairs and into daylight where you sat on tiny stools.

Alter to Confucius

The highlight was the visit to the Temple of Literature, an original temple to the philosopher Confucius; the site of the country's first university founded in 1070.


College Group

Literature Lake

Feb 14 NW Loop 3 Mountain Walks

Black H'Muong  - dye your teeth with indigo when you reach 40

The Hoamg Lien Son mountain range that surround Sapa is at the very eastern end of the Himalayas. The town  has all the requisites for a winter visit-hotels with windows that fit, doors that close and wait for it - central heating. Plus a load of rip off shops selling North Face etc. The mist hung over the valleys while we were there giving the vast hillsides an eerie feeling.  So there will be no photos of green rice paddies.

Vietnam NW Loop 4 - Quang Ba Night Flower Market

When the night train from Sapa to Hanoi arrives
at 0430, what can be done to keep awake
until bedtime?

Well the commercial flower market set up beside a dyke in the Red River delta is a must and is at its height about midnight.


There is a permanent roof structure but most of the vendors set up on what they have available under the strip lighting.
Most vendor sell specialist flowers so a florist would have to visit numerous stalls.

Once customers have made their purchase these are loaded onto bikes and make a pretty wide load.
Our purchase was just a single orchid, which was later saved in the security belt at the airport by a vigilant attendant!

A taxi back to the hotel in time for breakfast followed by a stroll to Hoan Kiem Lake where locals go to promenade.

Then a very leisurely lunch at a high end restaurant was called for. This view from the balcony just shows the old  Long Bien Bridge.

From the balcony we looked down on tube houses.
This form comes form an old taxation system where
the law were such that property tax would only be
charge on the length of the front facade.
Strangely as it is, the overall square footage of the
house made no difference.

 Music was then needed to avoid the match sticks being needed. We found that the water puppet theatre certainly received our nod of approval before it was time for bed!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Feb 14 10 day NW Loop 2 Markets

Cock fighting a male watching activity -  Bac Ha

Meat purchase- Bac Ha

Stayed in Bac Ha and were up early for the market to beat the bus loads from Sapa then further up into the mountains to Lung Phinh market - it was so cold!

The local dress is part embroidered, part Chinese factory made and is practical enough for the bike!

Touristy Bac Ha

Local Lung Phinh

Fresh vegetables - Lung Phinh

Photos - Is that me? Lung Phinh

Feb 14-10 day NW Loop 1 History Lesson

French bunker

Dien Bien Phu  35km from Laos border is  used as the caravan route between Myanmar and China.

This is where Viet Minh soldiers under the command of iconic general Vo Nguyen Giape over ran the last French outpost in 1954.

The defeat was so overwhelming that it effectively brought an end to French colonial rule in Vietnam.
Sanitised Vietnamese tunnels

In the battle of Dien Bien Phu, the Viet Minh demonstrated the creativity and determination that later characterised the long struggle against the USA and South Vietnamese forces.

So proud are some people that they have changed their family name!
The commonest surname is Nguyen and we met several Viet.


The country is pulling itself into the present day at an alarming rate.
Beautiful valleys flooded for hydro-power schemes.
How do you make a town in the mountains?
Flatten the smallest, concrete the buffalo tracks sanitise the villages for home stays.
In ten years all might be greened and the infrastructure up to speed but for now we were pleased to have a guide as only the local dialect is spoken.

In 1986 the government began allowing farmers to work individual plots of land now Vietnam is the world's second largest exporter of rice.
The growing of it remains as backbreaking but not quite such a time consuming activity - better seed and fertilizer.
Trying to walk between paddy fields on broken mud walls requires precise balance.
At a lunch stop - local medicine