My Travels Abroad Part 3 – Brazil

The vessel I was working on at Singapore was bound for Brazil and before being commissioned offshore it had the final yard commissioning at the Keppel yard in Brazil about 100 miles south of Rio De Janeiro in Angra Dos Reis, with some spectacular views along it’s fjord like coast line. Another small town with not much to do, the hotel was good I just ate there. There was a small shopping centre next to the hotel and a beach round the bay but looking up the hill side you can see the surrounding poverty with very basic dwellings. Walking about was safe enough but the advice is that if you find yourself walking up hill turn round! Along the beach there were people playing football and volleyball and it was quite relaxed, not that I had much time for relaxing though! I did have one day that I wasn’t required on site and had planned to go on a sightseeing trip round the islands. I had booked the trip at reception then within about 15 minutes got a text to say that I might be required and would be on standby, there goes the sightseeing trip. I managed to cancel and worked on my report by the pool and needless to say was not called upon.. A wee walk around but I couldn’t find a wooden spoon for Emma, for those that don’t know Emma collects wooden spoons.

The vessel was then transferred to the field and I attended the final offshore commissioning, this was another trip to Brazil further north though to Vitoria about an hour’s flight from Rio De Janeiro.  I arrived at the airport and it was a short walk across the car park to the heliport and headed offshore. Sitting in the coffee room, the telly was on a music channel, I wasn’t paying much attention then recognised the stage, just travelled 5000 miles from the Isle of Wight to watch the Isle of Wight festival on the telly. On returning to Vitoria from the vessel I had a couple of days before my flight home. Vitoria is a fairly large town with lots of hotels along the sea front. I was there on the Sunday and it seems that the thing to do was walk, cycle or roller blade along the promenade. So as they say when in Rome, I took a walk along. It was a very pleasant walk along the promenade with a number of street vendors selling some much required, refreshing, freshly pressed coconut water. There was a pier with several guys fishing next to a statue that provides good fortune to the fisher men. Further along the promenade there was a number of outdoor gym areas. Personally I couldn’t imagine jogging and working out in the intense heat but maybe it isn’t quite so hot when you are used to it. I then came across my dingy and time for a wee beer on the beach. Along the sea front Vitoria appears to be quite affluent with a relaxed atmosphere, people going about enjoying the weekend, just slightly away from the sea front there was a number of high end shops and a modern shopping centre, I was there in November and along at the shopping centre there was a big Santa waving with his red coat, hat and gloves. Seemed strange walking in the sweltering heat and seeing  Santa all wrapped up. No not the real one or even one of his real helpers but a larger than life model. On another visit however I had to go to the federal police to get my works visa stamped. I was picked up by the taxi firm and along the journey to the police office it was quite a different story and just a few roads back from the sea front it is clear that the town isn’t as affluent as first appeared maybe not quite as poor as Angra but a stark difference all the same, I wouldn’t be as comfortable walking around this area as I was along the sea front.

I have flown into Vitoria three times in total, twice for offshore trips and both having some time to relax and enjoy some time on the beach. The third time I met up with a team from a Brazilian company that we did work with and we travelled further north for about an hour, I can’t remember where but this was for an onshore commissioning job. The town that we stayed in was less affluent than the sea front of Vitoria but there didn’t appear to be the vast contrast between the rich and poor that I have seen before. At lunch time we headed to a road side café with a large salad bar and grill, just fill your plate up and pay by weight. Weight of the plate of food that is just in case you were wondering! Working with the team, I didn’t have any Portugese and only one of them spoke some English but this didn’t hinder us and we were able to communicate quite easily.

In all I have been in Brazil four times and didn’t manage to see a samba band once.

Continuing to live my dreams

Bren x

Life gets in the way!


Life gets in the way


The last couple of weeks have been pretty crazy round here.  I really love being busy, as long as I am organised!  I don’t do surprises very well but I like to think I can take them in my stride.

I had planned doing 6 of my ‘fifty things’, which were all fab, I hadn’t planned on getting run down and worn out.


I really felt like my life was over and I hated my illness.  I was thinking I am only 50 years young and yet felt so much older, ready to finish off my years in Sheltered Housing!

I missed a couple of gym sessions which really annoyed me.  I was thinking how on earth am I going to complete a Charity Challenge if I can’t even get through a week of active fun in my natural environment with rests in between?

Then on Tuesday I discovered a small pus filled lump on my body…..yay!

I slept all day on Wednesday and woke up when Brenda came home from work.  My small lump had got quite a bit bigger and was very sore.  On Thursday morning I went to the doctor and was given some antibiotics to fight the infection.  While I was at the doctors it occurred to me that because of the infection and my Panhypopituitarism I should have been doubling my cortisone dose to help my body fight the infection, as that is what your body would naturally produce.

Since taking the antibiotics and doubling my cortisone dose my life and outlook is not looking so bleak.

We had a very busy weekend planned for this weekend and I was not looking forward to any of it.  I was tired and just wanted it to be over.  I am glad to say that by Friday night I was much happier and actually looking forward to a fun filled weekend and I did have a good one.

I even managed to get back on track with my weight-loss journey (4lb loss, yay!) and am looking forward to getting back to the gym and my danceSing classes next week.

So at the end of all this I need to remember that if I get thrown off course I need to look at the big picture, take time out, if needed, and keep a close eye on my health.

I will continue to strive for my dreams…

Here’s to living the dream,

Emms x

Keep Fit Gardening


Hi there sorry it is a bit late but what can I say, we have had a busy week of fun times getting out and about and ticking of some of Emma’s 50 things. Ah back at work now and back to normal. All this fun has knocked us or me anyway out of kilter and I was having such a good time I forgot to post to our blog on Sunday as we promised that we would do, sorry must try harder in future. I keep planning to get ahead with writing posts but not quite achieved that yet, we have a list of ideas and know what we are planning to write about now I just need to get the writing done, anyway enough rambling and on with talking about gardening.

Gardening is something that we both enjoy, neither of us could say that we are experts but we do enjoy pottering about and making the garden look fairly good. It would be accurate enough for me to say that we have left the gardens for our properties in a much better condition than when we received them, although in at least one case that wouldn’t have been hard! Emma has previously said that Spring is one of her favourite seasons and I must agree it is up there with mine as well as the new life emerges and the sun starts to show its face again with warm rays.

The grass had the first cut of the year last week and it is looking like it is needing a second already.  We have a reasonable sized green area, not all grass, some dandelions, moss, buttercups and clovers as well, although not found any four leaf clovers yet. The area drops down at the back, it doesn’t look like much of a slope but it certainly is noticeable maneuvering a lawn mower up and down it working the triceps and quads as I go,

then spinning the mower to the sides to get some stomach muscles working as well. We haven’t done much work to make the greenery a lawn and when it is cut it looks neat and tidy, just need to keep on top of the cutting so that it doesn’t turn into the meadow that it wants to be. The bees however love the clovers and don’t shift for anything. I thought that they would fly off when the mower started getting too close but no, I managed to cut right beside a clump that a bee was enjoying and refusing to move, I eventually picked the clover and moved it so that I could cut the grass evicting the occupants. Not all lost we have other plants that the bees like and can hear them buzzing away.

Cutting the grass I noticed that a fern that we have in the corner was looking a smidgen sorry for itself but now the new leaves are beginning to uncurl and stretch up looking bright and fresh, I love the way they unravel themselves and stretch out as if wakening up.


When we moved in there wasn’t much of a garden to speak off, no plants other than three fruit trees. Another way to work out was to dig a border so that we could create some colour.

The ground is clay so this is not an easy task and digging up the turf was satisfyingly hard work. Gradually working in sand and compost and top layer is starting to loosen off and not so clumpy and solid. I am sure this will need to be a continuous process to keep the soil in good condition. Fortunately there is a good supply of free compost at the local civic amenity site and we have started our own compost bin, which I need to check on as I haven’t looked at it for a while, this is something that I can tend to and recycle our vegetation.

I enjoy the landscaping aspect of gardening digging the beds but just that, the area at the side of the house was dark and damp without much growth, the compost bin has been located here but the way to it was getting too muddy so a couple of areas have been created for beds and the rest has been cleared and a load of pea shingle has been laid on top of a membrane to hopefully keep out unwanted growth, I have spied a wee shoot of grass and must go and pull it out. This has created a good path up to the compost bin and left a big enough area for some planting, possibly some spuds and maybe rhubarb.

This year we are planning to plant a hedgerow at the bottom of the garden right along the width in front of the boundary fence, starting with small plants hopefully this will mature and give the wildlife a good home as well as us a colourful outlook with the hills beyond. Some more work to prepare the ground will be required but another good workout digging the ground to be had. I will keep you updated on progress of this and the composting throughout the year. Really looking forward to getting back out into the garden tending to it and just enjoying the outdoor living in harmony with our neighbourhood squirrels, birds and bees.

Continuing to live the dream

Bren x