Arwen's meanderings

Hi everyone and welcome to my dinghy cruising blog about my John Welsford designed 'navigator' named Arwen. Built over three years, Arwen was launched in August 2007. She is a standing lug yawl 14' 6" in length. This blog records our dinghy cruising voyages together around the coastal waters of SW England.
Arwen has an associated YouTube channel so visit to find our most recent cruises and click subscribe.
On this blog you will find posts about dinghy cruising locations, accounts of our voyages, maintenance tips and 'How to's' ranging from rigging standing lug sails and building galley boxes to using 'anchor buddies' and creating 'pilotage notes'. I hope you find something that inspires you to get out on the water in your boat. Drop us a comment and happy sailing.
Steve and Arwen

Tuesday, 3 November 2015


They came from all quarters, on scooters, walking, riding on the back of pushchairs, on the back of mopeds. The streets were filled with lively chatter and laughter; of intense conversations, parents bent low whispering intently. Smiles filled the streets competing with the early morning sun's rays.
They came dressed in all manner of clothes, Asian saris, burkas, track suits and jeans. Little backpacks depicting cartoon characters gripped tightly. Mothers stopped at the gates to chat, fathers gave children big hugs before heading to work. Children skipped through the school gates. The large tenement blocks disgorged their young inhabitants into the monastery school at the heart of the housing estates, the tenement quarters of El Raval district. At the school gate all religions met, from Sikh to Catholic, Islamic to Buddhist. All ages, all races, all religions, a multitude of languages. 

School gates are the same the world over. 'Be good'. 'Have a great day'. 'Do some good learning'. 'Have fun, work hard'. As we sat, lost in unfamiliar surroundings, we realised they weren't unfamiliar at all. To two teachers with 64 years teaching experience between them, it was business as normal. Tag was played in the playground. Football dominated the centre, children whispered conspiratorially on the fringes, all smiles and laughter. Another school day with humour and fun and intense inquisitiveness...and always the possibilies.........the next diplomat, nurse, engineer, inventor, architect, pilot, astronaut, care worker, business woman, firefighter, cafe waiter, artist, musician........endless possibilities, how exciting is that?

Three things struck a privilege it is to be a teacher.....and two........on that street today everyone was Spanish, European, another nationality too. Most were bi-lingual, many tri-lingual.  All seemed comfortable with their multiple identities. 

And three? Isn't it a privilege to be part of a continent of such diversity...............we are all European citizens.....and in Britain we need to be prouder of that than perhaps we are.

We are back in Barcelona......already lost.........and loving it!

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