Firstly, an enormous thankyou to Marty for his generous donation at a very tough time. Thanks again Marty, I really appreciate it. As you well know, I flew over succesfully, however my trick of strapping the mainsail to my backpack and claiming it was only one bag was unsuccesful the second time around. British easyJet staff let it through, but the Germans wouldn't have it. So, for an additional 15euros I got it onboard, and managed to only be 1kg over the baggage limit which was overlooked. I arrived in at Gatwick and took the train in to see a friend I hadn't seen for a year, and as we're as poor as each other, he'd already made dinner and we sat near Victoria Station for quiche and salad (thanks Matt!). I stayed for two nights in Harrow, London with the company I work for - I was put up with good food and drink for two nights, and even a lift down to Constellation on the Friday (thanks Simon!).
Constellation was full up with water again, but I've been through that already... I pumped it out and luckily Friday was one of the last sunny days since, and she dried fairly well. Saturday & Sunday were a right-off, I just walked around a bit and bought food for the week. Wondering what on earth I was going to do about my dwindling money situation, I looked into a pub job and suprisingly started on Sunday evening. My first night was utterly nerve wracking, not knowing the first thing about working behind a bar. The locals have named me 'Ned' (after Ned Kelly) and I was flamed thoroughly for not knowing the Sunday night quiz question of 'what is the name of a dry bed in Australia that fills with water' - It's a Billabong in case you're wondering - I slapped myself with a wet tea towel after finding out the answer.
The remainder of the week has been hopeless for boat work. Incredibly wet and windy, and no sign of a break. I've worked more hours than intended this week, but since I haven't yet got an office or nice weather to work, I guess it doesn't really matter.
I'm still really pushing for a May launch - However finances are incredibly tight at the moment. The past year has been really quite amazing in regards to last minute donations or help from people. On around 5 distinct occasions I've been utterly devasated financially, with bills looming and banks chasing minimum payments, only to have money literally appear from nowhere. Last night was an excellent example: I had 2pounds left in my pocket to last till Thursday, and I was wondering how I was going to make it - And then, a large table came in at the pub and left a 14pound tip, of which the manager gave me 10pounds. Thursday is payday, so now I'll make it quite easily. Matt, my friend living in London boasts a 3pound a day budget, but I must say I've completely smashed his efforts, living on roughly a pound a day. Tesco's is your friend.
While living finances are non-existant, I have managed to more or less pay off the boatyard - I now just need to come up with 90pounds for the launch fee. Finding a marina who will allow me to pay pro-rata on the yearly mooring fee is however posing to be difficult. The yard I'm currently in is reluctant to give me a berth on such terms, because they'd rather an annual customer. Other yards have quoted me 'visitor rates' at 21pounds a night, which is laughable at best. I'll anchor in the Solent and swim in to shore for sandwiches before I part with that kind of money...
So, problems abound, but I'm doing my best. I'm able to get Internet access at the pub instead of having to go through my 5 mile walk to the local Library which is nice, so fingers crossed for everything else working out. I do miss Berlin dearly, as it's been my home for over a year and I loved the life I was living there. My apartment is still there intact however, which the Germans call a 'Koffer in Berlin' (translation: 'Suitcase in Berlin') - It's definitely a city you can't leave easily, and must always have a toe in. I'm here now though, still completely focused as I have been for the past 9 months on this project - This new effort is merely another step closer to making it happen.