On holiday in Cyprus, I have recently come across a novel boat building material. To explain, I quote from the official publicity statement from The Annabelle Hotel, Paphos, Cyprus.
"Before the Christmas tree was popular in the Greek islands, Greek children decorated model boats and carried them from door to door as they sang Christmas carols. In recognition of this tradition, our chief baker, Doros Nearchou, is constructing a large scale Christmas boat, or Karavaki, out of biscuits in the Lobby."
Actually the material is what I would call gingerbread. It smells wonderfully spicy and Christmassy. Being a dab hand with a piping bag, Doros makes a fine job of gluing all the individual "planks" and "timbers" together with icing, rather than messy epoxy or other glues.
His boat is about 3.5 metres long. The design is his own. I'm not sure if his rig is really practical as a means of propulsion, especially as the bowsprit was arbitrarily removed to make the boat fit the space available in the hotel lobby.
I was told the boat had taken hundreds of hours of work, which, I explained, I could well believe, having built a few of my own. Doros opined that perhaps my boats might be more durable than his, to which I was confidently able to reply that his boat would be far more edible than any of mine.
By the way, I can thoroughly recommend The Annabelle Hotel where, these days, I spend much of the winter escaping from fuel poverty in Northern Europe. I have discovered I am more comfortable diverting the heating oil budget to my hotel bill.
My ex-partner's parents used to rent an apartment in Portugal for four months every winter. They reckoned that the saving in heating their house near Plymouth, plus the saving from cheaper food, drink etc in Portugal at that time, pretty much covered the cost of their four month break each year.
Every year at this time we like to take the trip north for a few days to visit our family in Scotland.
The main purpose of the trip is to remind ourselves how lucky we are to live in the south of England.
Oh how we laugh at friends down here who constantly moan at how bad the winters are.
As my father-in-law would say, stop moaning and put another jumper on.
Its all relative you know.
Merry Christmas Everyone, Merry Christmas.