20th September – Book Launch Party at the Romito Restaurant, Laterina Stazione, Pergine, Arezzo

I have just been trying to make an invitation for the party to launch A Whisper on the Mediterranean. I cannot work out how to crop the photo I want to use. I cannot divide a piece of A4 into equal parts in invitation shape and I cannot work out how to modify templates either! I am getting quite exasperated with myself and my fingers are sticking to the keyboard in this heat too.

How I struggle with technology. I see young children zapping around with TV remote controls and mobile phones that seem to be a part of their anatomy and get quite envious. I have a good grasp of a computer keyboard by now, although even there, since I never took typing lessons, I have an odd, two-fingered method that would make a real typist wince. I am also quite proud that I have managed to set up a website, get a Facebook page and use Twitter, however, I am never going to be a modern technological writer. This fact was brought home to me recently when I had to Skype with my 19 year old son who has moved to America for a year.

I desperately wanted to see his lovely little face. Stop, start again – he is 19 now, not a child and will be really fed up with me if I write that.

I desperately wanted to see his lovely, manly, grown-up and by now if he is reading this, scowling face!

So I got my husband to position the camera and microphone and took my place beside him as he made the call. Seconds later we had a great connection and I would have been able to hear all of James’ news, if only I had been able to concentrate on him. Instead I was distracted by a small image in a corner of the screen, of me and Guido staring into the camera. I got all self-conscious, started blushing and fiddling with my hair (It looked odd on the right side. Maybe I should have combed it beforehand) James asked me a question and I started to answer with my usual enthusiastic hand gestures and expressions. Yikes. No one had told me how many faces I pull when I speak. I sat on my hands and tried to compose myself and smile sweetly without screwing up my eyes. James wondered if I was feeling ill and Guido gave me a nudge so I pulled myself together and ignored my image for the rest of the conversation. Am I the only one to feel awkward like this, I wonder?

I prefer photos, especially the digital ones that you can cut, modify and generally tweak. You can also eliminate ones that are downright ugly (very frequent) and settle on an image, like the one shown here, that makes you look almost the way you think you look. This photo was taken at 6am on the morning we left James at Fiumicino airport. I had not slept much for worrying about how much I would miss him and then got up at 4am. I put no make-up on and admit to having cried on Guido’s shoulder all the way from the airport to the port. However I wanted to put it here as it really does show me as I am and also proves how a beautiful light and no fidgeting can work wonders.

Fiumicino port is where we moored before setting off on our very first adventure, with 16 month old James, on our beautiful ketch Whisper. I have so many memories of that day which were stirred up again last week. I was really disappointed that the Rusticelli Bar was closed so I missed out on the most delicious “cornetto” ever. As we wandered along past the boats waiting to set off for Ponza and the Italian Islands we felt so nostalgic and longed to buy another boat. We are inbetween boats right now as Guido wanted a slightly larger one than our Contest 40 in order to live comfortably for a long navigation. He has his eye on a lovely one if Florida – a good excuse to visit the young one soon!

You can find all the funny stories about our first year sailing the Med with a toddler on board in A Whisper on the Mediterranean which will be released by Sunpenny Publishing this August.

I look forward to seeing all of you who live in Italy at the book launch party X