A goal is but one step towards an objective. In my case the first objective is to ‘enjoy’ a cruise along the south coast of England during May, June and perhaps into July 2005.
Before the objective can become a reality I need to ‘score’ several goals, and yet the making of a goal requires several moves whereby one outwits the opposition. There needs to be an overall strategic plan and guiding principles governing the plan.
My principles are fundamental, but they cannot be divorced from the reality of priorities, the first being to guard and look after my good wife who has not had the best of health for several years. Strategically caring for my wife is good, not only for her, but it makes sense to ensure she is able to fend for herself while I’m off sailing. She needs to be fit enough physically and mentally to cope with my absence. Once that is assured, I’ll be able to leave her with my conscience clear. Of course, the mobile phone means we shall be able to communicate on a daily basis; therefore if there is some deterioration in her health or an emergency I’ll be able to ‘park’ the boat somewhere then make a quick return home by rail or by coach.
Continuing with the health strategy, I need to keep fit myself, and this I do by taking a walk most days and by having a nutritious diet.
In summary, principle number one is to look after my wife and care for my own needs. This is not a case of making Jack all right, but rather recognizing that if one is not on top form, then others cannot receive the benefits. Ultimately, we are all dependent upon each other, even the most self-sufficient and insular person finds it difficult to live indefinitely without using resources provided by other human beings.
Another fundamental principle is daily satisfaction; that’s not the philosophy of hedonism whereby every activity is with the sole purpose of achieving pleasure; no, in fact it’s almost the opposite. Satisfaction comes from doing those things you think and believe are right – there’s an inner peace. For some this comes because they know they do not condemn themselves because their actions confirm and are in harmony with their moral and ethical values, whether they are formed by upbringing, religion, an examination of how others live and behave, or other accepted inculcated set of norms.
The simplest of goals in pursuit of an objective are sometimes the most difficult to achieve. How often do we see an accomplished football player taking a free kick, only to miss the upper bar of the goal by miles! There’s much recrimination and self-examination and hand thumping when it happens.
I suppose one of the simple goals for me was to service ‘Bumper’s’ engine seacock to comply with the insurance survey. What a hassle it turned out to be. By Sod’s law it was located in a dark recess under the engine beyond a narrow opening under the companion way. This necessitated me reaching forward while kneeling and applying a Molegrip and a spanner in opposition to one another. Even before that could be done, various bits and pieces had to be removed from the seacock. Frustratingly I allowed the restraining nut at the base where the intake tube passes through the hull to come loose. That meant finding a way of retaining it while I attended to the other part of the procedure requiring both hands. With some ingenuity I managed to jam the Molegrip against the bulkhead while it gripped the lower nut, thus enabling me to use both hands to accomplish removing the seacock for servicing.
That single, seemingly simple goal, took two half-days to achieve.
There are numerous other maintenance tasks to perform before ‘Bumper’ will be ready for launching and there are just over two months for all of them to be done.
At the beginning of today’s entry I mentioned overcoming the opposition, and here are some identified elements:
1) External demands requiring my participation, things like shopping expeditions, perhaps helping others in a practical way with their every day problems or attending an appointment at the dentist's or doctor's.
2) Adverse weather, perhaps it’s too cold, too wet or too windy.
3) Unexpected emergencies, such as having to get the car attended to after an unwelcome incident, or needing to visit a relative who is unwell.
4) Then there’s just the onset of ‘blues’ perhaps when one is feeling off colour or just too fatigued to cope with the 40 mile return journey to the boat.
My opening sentence contains the word ‘enjoy’, and if that is a prime reason for making the voyage, I believe the preparations should as far as possible be guided by the same principle. When these things become ‘chores’ they have no place in the order of affairs, but now and again we have no control over the outcome, and need to keep an attitude of calm resignation in knowing that most things and activities are not perfect.