Traditional Latina Boats line up in Alghero Marina

These Latina boats look lovely in the marina, ready for the Regatta tomorrow

These lovely traditional boats are along side us for the next few days in Alghero Marina. Tomorrow they will take part in a May Day Regatta. We will hopefully watch it all happening out on the water in Alghero Bay. The sails on these boats are not easy to master, so it takes well practiced sailors to skipper them. All adds to the fun I’m sure.

So the season has started quite well with a late Easter

We have had some nice trips out on the water over the Easter holiday and great guests on board, who have all been from Germany to date. The new crew are settling in very well, we are pleased that they have enjoyed the work so far, having been here only a week and a half! The weather has been mixed in between the trips, some rainy and windy days, but that does not seem to have deterred their enthusiasm. They are very keen to help which is just what we need.

The work on the boat continues between trips and Andrea Jensen really is looking spectacular with her new bright hull colours and varnished brightworks. We think she looks the best ever. It’s amazing what another pair of hands allows us to achieve. The maintenance list is definitely getting shorter by the day.

Alghero is starting to come alive with bars and market stalls popping up all over. Many locals have had a long Easter holiday with Labour Day bank holiday all rolled into one long break for them to spend with their families. The Ramparts around the Old Town have been buzzing with buskers and street entertainers all trying to make a few euros! But we are getting a bit tired of the same songs being sung over and over. Please learn a new tune, that’s our request!

First Day Trip of the Season under our belt

Ant and Ella hard at work with our German guests onboard for the day

Good Friday 2019 and we went out on our 1st day trip of the season. We had a full boat thanks to Matt and his family choosing a day out with Andrea Jensen. Everyone onboard seemed to enjoy the great scenery along the way. Sorry there were no Dolphins today!

First Training Day Out on the Water

Meet our volunteers Ant and Ella, out for their 1st day sailing on Andrea Jensen

After working hard for the past four days we decided to take our 2 volunteers Ant and Ella, out for a wee tour of the stunning Alghero coast. Here they are in the net and loving their first experience out on the water. We were lucky enough to have two sightings of Dolphins on the way too! Great day

Ant is Up the Mizzen Mast

Nice day for a bit of block replacement

The wind dropped and the sun shone so why not get our new volunteer to climb the mast? Welcome on board Ant and Ella! No time to waste, we start our fabulous day trips in 3 days time and there is still lots to do
(I cannot believe its Easter already). Something important is missing from the boat? Yes you guessed it, the SAILS! We are not going to get far with out them. But before they can go back on we had some blocks to change at the top of the MIzzen mast. Thankfully we had a brave volunteer. Thanks Ant!

Ella, in the meantime was getting to work on some sanding and painting. Those all important finishing touches make all the difference! Great work guys. Thanks.

All Part of Life’s Rich Tapestry, But I Could do Without This!

If you have read my earlier blogs you will know that I was diagnosed with diabetes type 2 at Christmas time. I was back in the UK and went to the Dr’s with my sore feet and two blood tests later it was confirmed. My blood glucose levels were sky high but I had no other symptoms to speak of, so why me???? What have I done wrong to become diabetic at 50 years old, (possibly younger, since I have had sore feet at night, for over 3 years – and I mean uncontrollable burning, pins and needles, numbness, truly excruciating)? The answer to both questions, is of course, that we don’t know. I do know that my foot pain is neurological nerve damage, caused by the diabetes and of course that does not happen over night and it is non reversible, unfortunately! Why did I not go to the Dr’s earlier? The really annoying fact is, I just ignored the signs, but to be honest the only sign was sore feet! How was I to know that this was a sign of a much more serious disease – a silent disease of the modern age? I wasn’t.

To be honest it is still a huge mystery, what has caused my diabetes and I will probably never get to understand it fully. What I do know however, is that I can no longer binge on chocolate, sweets and cakes (not that I did very often) and my diet has had to change drastically. Since Christmas I have adopted a very controlled, low carbohydrate diet based on my Dr’s advise. I have had to learn what foods contain high levels of carbohydrate and sugar and avoid them completely (banana’s!!!???). I have read all there is to read on the internet about type 2 diabetes and record everything that I eat in a day, into a special Low Carbs Diet Program to help me calculate the total carbohydrate content of each meal. I also have to read the nutrition panels on every packet of food I buy, looking at Carb. and sugar content and that is not easy at my age. The writing is so dam small, I need to carry a magnifying glass now too! Col and I have each managed to lose 7Kg in 3 months. I probably could do with losing another 5Kg, but I would never have considered myself obese by any means.

All this weight loss should have helped my glucose levels drop to normal. That is what I was hoping anyway. But guess what, after 3 months of a low carb diet (less than 130g per day), my glucose level have only reduced slightly. I have been monitoring my bloods weekly, with a home test kit from Boots. So, on Monday this week I attended the Diabetic clinic at Bosa hospital. After reviewing my glucose test results (which I have recorded for the past 3 months) and carrying out their own tests, I have been given Insulin to inject x 4 per day before meals and at night. I still cannot believe this is really happening. I am diabetic and having to inject myself with Insulin at 50 years old! WHY ME?????

I have been back to the hospital again this week for a review since starting the Insulin injections 4 days ago and my dosage has had to be increased but only slightly. Thankfully my blood glucose levels are now in the normal range. I have to monitor my bloods x 2 per day and can adjust my dosage accordingly.

It has to be said that diabetes has totally taken over my life (and Col’s). I have to plan every meal, when to take an injections, when to take bloods. Nothing can be spontaneous anymore. I have to carry a ruck sack around with me containing all my drug taking paraphernalia. Worst of all, and this is a real bummer, I am facing my 1st Easter ever, with no Easter Egg!

Rainy week in Villanova Monteleone

We still have a lot to finish off on the boat before next week which is Easter. We want to be ready for paying guests by 19th April. Our pre season on-line bookings are very slow this year and we think maybe Brexit is to blame. But that is all I am going to say about that! Our volunteer crew arrive from the UK on Sunday too, which will mean lots of training needs to start next week and we hope they catch on quick!

So back to Villanova Monteleone, we came here at the weekend due to the rain forecast in Alghero. I have posted some pics which I took this morning from our roof top terrace. As you can see the sky is a bit gloomy, but we never tire of the fantastic views across Monte Minerva, Rocca Doria and beyond, which we overlook from our roof top vantage point. Isn’t it stunning? We are 576 meters up above Alghero and on average it’s about 5C cooler up here, so today it was 8.5C when we go up, a bit chilly!

Our mountain top village is very rural and very traditional Sardo, that’s why we love it. It’s worlds apart from bustling Alghero city, but only 23 Km away. There are about 2,000 inhabitants who rely heavily on a Pastoral existence, most men being farmers, shepherds mainly. Families tend to share a small holding, somewhere in the surrounding countryside with small numbers of sheep, goats and cattle (and of course the loyal sheep dogs) which provide both their food and livelihoods. There is a large, local modern looking dairy cooperative in the village, which employs locals making very well known Pecorino cheese for the export market mainly. The locals speak Sardo, not Italian (so much for us trying to learn Italian, which we are doing, all be it very slowly) and are predominantly erderly. Life here is very simple and very family orientated. The young leave the rural villages (once they have finished school) for the busier towns and mainland Italy, where they try to find work. English was not taught in schools in Sardinia until very recently, so only young Sardinians know any English.

Views from our roof terrace in Villanova Monteleone