I have been re-learning the crossword. Things have changed quite a bit since I last did it regularly. Much less knowledge of the classics or the Bible required. Much more on recreational drugs and cyber stuff. Encouragingly, the setters still seem to have no interest at all in popular music thank god.
I have also been out sailing quite a lot, including yesterday when a small but elite group went for an impromptu daysail from the beach at the end of Warblington Road, Emsworth. It dries out two hours after high water on the dot and I left it a bit late and got firmly stuck on the mud.
Now I would have survived eight hours not sailing as I had a packed lunch and a good book (Eric Newby's The Last Grain Race) but everyone I know walks along that beach at least once a day and I couldn't bear the prospect of explaining every five minutes why I was sitting in my boat twenty yards from land.
So after thrashing about with the oars and punting mightily with the paddle I finally got out and pushed. The oozy sensation of mud between the toes is always such a delight. Got off, got back in, got out into thicker water, dangled feet over the side to get rid of the worst of the mud.
It didn't seem worthwhile putting my socks and shoes back on so I sailed barefoot and very nice it was until I got home and discovered I had burnt them to buggery (a medical term).
But the highlight of the day was discovering that Snarleyow sails faster reefed than an unreefed cutter-rigged yacht double her length. I was sailing as close to the edge of the channel as I dared and she was breasting the full tide at the centre. And I think she may have been too tightly sheeted for a broad reach.