Desperate in need of 4G

Beautiful spot for camping without 4G or 3G or any kind of connection.

No, I’m not a 4G junkie. When I’m in Scotland I don’t even switch on the internet on my phone. I want to be away from everyone who is trying to reach me and I don’t want to talk to anyone. I just want to be a-social on my Scottish island for 5 weeks totally disconnected from everything. Let’s say, disconnect in order to get truly connected with myself, my hubby, and my surroundings.

But….

Do you want to know how this story ends? Please Read more on my new site. There are many more stories that might interest you. And if you enjoy reading my blogposts, please use the like button and become a follower on my new site!!!

Midgies are therapy animals!

I’m not kidding!

In case you are wondering what the dark smudges are, they are a cloud of midgies.


If you like to give this perfect and totally free animal therapy a try, my best advice is so go out camping in Scotland on a windless day with a bit of moisture in the air and wait for the sun to set. Just sit outside in a short-sleeved shirt and……

Do you want to know how this story ends? Please Read more on my new site. There are many more stories that might interest you. And if you enjoy reading my blogposts, please use the like button and become a follower on my new site!!!

Dear President Trump,

Through this letter, I want to express my admiration on how you handle the fight against the Coronavirus. You latest recommendation really made me feel so much safer in dealing with the virus on a day to day basis. Injecting disinfectant inside the body seems to me the most sensible solution. When it works on the outside why not on the inside. It is logical,……

Do you want to know how this letter ends? Please Read more on my new site. There are many more stories that might interest you. And if you enjoy reading my blogposts, please use the like button and become a follower on my new site!!!

Being a weatherman/women in Scotland

Paddling in fog patches, not predicted in the weatherforcast….

It must be an awful job, being a weatherman/women in Scotland. Dangerous too. Not to mention the mental health issues that might occur while having this job.

It is probably advisable….

Do you want to know how this story ends? Please Read more on my new site. There are many more stories that might interest you. And if you enjoy reading my blogpost, please use the like button and become a follower on my new site!!!

Meeting on Raasay, the ceilidh.

Raasay bothy

The Raasay bothy is a favourite bothy to go to. It is a very busy place so we usually meet some interesting people. The floor is not very even that is why the MBA installed a platform which is level. But it can also be used as a stage!

While we had installed ourselves in the little house…

Do you want to know how this story ends? Please Read more on my new site. There are many more stories that might interest you. And if you enjoy reading my blogpost, please become a follower on my new site!!!

My own countrymen.

Where do you turn to when you need help? Right, to your own countrymen. They will definitely help you out. This is the best advice ever.

Eastcoast paddling is different than Westcoast paddling. The Eastcoast doesn’t have snug little inlets, sandy beaches or lochs to land the kayak safely. No, it has a rocky coastline with high cliffs and small awkward little harbours. At high water, there are some sandy beaches but at low water, the beaches are long and littered with a lot of slippery rocks. The second bit of very good advice is to study the coastline at home using Google Maps to see where the cleared beaches are. That really helps to avoid being stuck on a beach because of submerged dangers like rocks.
But sometimes the best of studies do not materialise in reality….

Do you want to know how this story ends? Please read more on my new site. There are many more stories that might interest you. And if you follow me on this site and you enjoy reading my blogpost, please become a follower!!!

Plovers

Piping Plover with kayaks in the background.
Piping Plover with kayaks in the background.

‘Oh, there is a nice grubby there, let’s run to it. Oh no the wave is coming, let’s run back. Oh, there is a great jummy grubby there, let’s run to it now the water is gone, Oh no, the water is coming, let’s run back. You see that grubby there? Let’s….. Read more

Move with me!

Hi guys, it has been a while since my last post. I decided it was time to create a self-hosted website. This has been quite a learning curve but I’m proud to present my creation.

Not exactly dead, but migrated to the other site.

And now the big reveal….Ta-ta-da-da….https://allexclusivecruises.com/

Please tell me what you think!

Once I know how to move you to my new website, I will pack your waterproof bag and paddle you there!
But if you are afraid of the water you can always decide not to get into the boat and stay behind.

The waves are alive with the sound of singing.

An example of a rough sea at Mealista. Charlotte is not in her boat
Rough sea at Mealista. Definetly waves where you should sing in.

Throw mindfulness out of the window! We should all be singing when fear gets to us.

Anyway, that is what I do when the waves are just a bit too high. Or when bigger waves are coming from the back and I can’t see them coming. When I’m not singing, fear will take over and I will start stiffening in the kayak. The paddling strokes become careful and tense. I try to find support on the waves by bracing. The entire flow and energy are gone as is my speed. Totally exhausted I wash up on the beach with aching muscles and close to crying. Not a nice state to be in. Fear takes too much energy.

Do you recognise this state? The best medicine for this is Singing!

I will tell you why.

I read a book written by Timothy Gallwey called ‘The inner game of tennis’, he has written also one about work, golf or any other field except kayaking.

In short, the theory is that there are two selves: Self 1, which is analytical and ego-driven, prone to worrying and ruminating, and Self 2, which is more unconscious, intuitive and physical.

The secret to the Inner Game is to get Self 1 out of the way, to stop being so self-critical and anxious, and simply let your body play the game, without being too outcome-oriented. You can get Self 1 out of the way by training your attention on each point, for example, or on the sound of the ball (in tennis) – giving your Self 1 some activity to keep it busy so it can let Self 2 do the work.

Alexander and Charlotte Gannet in big waves, I’m sure I am singing here although you can’t hear me. Which is a good thing.

Translating this theory to kayaking, my Self 1 judges the waves and my own skill set in paddling bigger waves, this will lead to thoughts of fear which results in stiffening up and paddling with laboured strokes, ending up in exhaustion.

My Self 2 is not bothered by the fear and knows exactly what it must do in order to stay afloat.

The problem is that my Self 1 is dominant over my Self 2.

So, what to do?

According to the theory, the best thing to do is to put my conscious Self 1 to work. To Sing. Let it be busy with remembering the lyrics of the song. With big waves, I sing out loud with smaller waves I sing inside my head. In the meantime, my Self 2 will do the paddling and be excel at it. It hasn’t failed me yet!

To be honest, I have to bring myself to start with singing, usually, fear is sitting right on top of my head. First I start singing hesitantly, I notice it helps a bit, then I sing a bit louder and try to sing more convincingly, Yes, I definitely feel the benefits. And then there is no holding back. I sing aloud and I don’t care what the birds think of the quality of my singing.

Alexander en Charlotte Gannet in a big sea, Charlotte must be singing to paddle her boat.
O yes, must be singing here!!

My preferred songs are from ‘The Sound of Music’. This movie has a special place in my heart because it was the first movie I ever saw in a cinema when I was around 10 years old. I cycled all the way to The Hague with my mother and sister to see it and it was magic. I have this totally useless gift of remembering the lyrics of a song after hearing it only once and remembering them forever. It is a family thing, both my sisters suffer from the same affliction.

So after TSoM I go on with lyrics from the movie ‘Grease’ and then Aretha Franklin with ‘Ain’t no mountain high enough’.

There are more benefits to singing, it boosts your immune system, it lowers stress and is a natural antidepressant. I wonder why people are not singing all day? Wouldn’t the world be a better place?

Try it next time you come into a scary situation like paddling higher waves that you are used to. Of course, you can create your own playlist of favourite things, euh, songs…

Charlotte Gannet

The divorce

Our blue mini campervan overlooking Maclean’s nose on Ardnamurchan

I felt a bit of a struggle coming up when we drove back from Orkney. The paddle of the clutch was not responding all that well. It kept sticking. Overall it sounded a bit unwell. I thought it caught a Scottish cold or something. The indicator lights didn’t flash up when needed and the headlight sometimes just switched off for no apparent reason. All signs that the car was definitely a bit under the weather. I opened up the hood to check for problems but no problem was found. I checked the wiring, everything was fine. Perhaps it is a bit of oxidation on some switch or whatever, of the Scottish salty air. Just like other years, the problem will wear off with use, I’m sure.

But when the door handle of the side door broke off while camping on the Black Isle, I really was concerned. Is the car shutting me out! Am I not taking good care of my car, did I leave it alone for too long in Scotland? Is it physical or a mental problem? After some checking the internet I found I could fix the door problem for 10 euro. Great stuff. All is well again.

As we drive to Hull to catch the ferry back to the Netherlands, we hear the car crying. A high pitched crying sound comes from under the bonnet. It probably does not want to go home. Just like Alexander, it’s got ‘going-home-blues’. With handkerchiefs, I try to comfort it. Some small oily tears are dripping out of the engine onto the pavement.
The engine sounds normal but the pain is in the gearbox. When squeezing the clutch the crying starts. We drive off the ferry and limp home in our injured car, hoping it will make it home.

Back home we must consult a car doctor. Luckily my brother in law is an excellent car doctor but the diagnosis is not encouraging. All the reparations costing well over 1500 euros!! OMG.

Well, uh, just that, €1500,00.
OK, that is too much reality all of a sudden.
What to do now? Do we repair the car or do we need a replacement?

But this car has been with us for ten years! She has brought us to France and Scotland. I felt safe in her while sleeping in the back and safe while driving on the motorway. I’ve got pictures of us together on our holiday. And she would start on cold wintery mornings without complaining. It is my lovely dependable blue car and I’m quite attached to it even though she is dented on all sides including the roof, she still looks lovable to me. Every dent and scratch has its own story to tell. What is 1500 euro in a friendship like this?

Our blue mini campervan used as a drying rack.
Our bleu mini campervan used as shelter for the rain.

But at the end of the day, I am looking out for a different vehicle while my little blue car stood hopelessly on the driveway. Looking at me with sad headlights and unable to stop me in my efforts to replace it.

The more I am looking out for a new car the more distance becomes between me and the blue car. It must have felt it because I noticed it had a flat tyre. Like it was the last thing it could do to get some attention, love and care from me. A bit annoyed, I change the tire and patience is running out. I have no time for a whining car, I need a working car!!

I took Alexander out to look at some new cars and found one that met all our needs!! How exciting!!!
We went out for a test drive, it felt great. She is a lovely German reddish brunette, slightly bigger than our blue car and it sits 5 people. Lots of windows and well insulated. It is love at first sight, butterflies in my stomach. The blue car is just a vague memory now.
We can not resist her good looks and comfort and decide to buy her. We sit down for the deal and the salesman starts talking about trading in the old car….

There is this interesting mix of emotions going on within me:

  • All excitement of the buying of the new and much better car and spending lots of money.
  • This is how it must feel when you get into a midlife crisis. Replacing the old model to a new one. There is a little guild in the background.
  • No feelings for the old car, flog it for the best positive price. The car is a thing, not a person where I might have emotional feelings for!!
  • But how do you say goodbye to a trusted friend who brought us to all our holiday destination? I just don’t know….

It makes me feel a bit giddy.
Even though I try to talk positively about the blue car, the nice bright colour, the low mileage, the air conditioning and the neatness of the interior, it doesn’t weigh up to the engine problems and the dent and scratch issues.
And my feelings towards my little blue car change from affection to business-like cold hard cash.

Next week we go to pick up our nice new lovely car. I talk to the blue car one last time.
‘Now listen blue car, I am going to bring you to a nice matchmaker who will take good care of you. He will put you on Car Tinder and you will be speed dating in no time. Don’t cry!! In the end you will be much happier in a new relationship!’

Our blue minicampervan at twilight