As I write this in the cockpit wrapped in a blanket, I must say I’m feeling pretty good with myself. The Saturday morning air is brisk and the late autumn sun is sparkling off the glassy water as it rises. It is still early, so the water is only disturbed by a dolphin busy hunting and the occasional early morning fisherman heading out. A clever duck who has figured out that landing on the deck vastly improves its chances of receiving a bread crust, is staring me down. The bread dough I have just finished kneading is rising under a tea towel on the galley bench. Very soon, the boat will be cosy with the heat from the oven, and hungry children will be circling the galley, attracted by the promise of hot bread with a curl of salty butter.
I find something deeply rewarding in making my own bread. I like that it requires just a few very simple ingredients and I like getting my hands dirty. Ten minutes of hard work transforms the sticky mess into a silky and stretchy ball of dough. I love the smell of baking bread wafting through the boat. For me, making bread is an almost symbolic step I take towards living a simpler and more deliberate life; a conscious effort to slow down the silly merry go round of life.
Now don’t get me wrong, home made bread is an infrequent treat on board Venilia. It is reserved for weekend days when there is not much else on. If we had to bake all our bread ourselves, the only way we could possibly make time would be for either Sheree or myself to quit work. This new order, where spending an extra thirty minutes each day lovingly making ones family a loaf of bread is an unthinkable luxury is called progress.
When did things go so wrong?
No one can deny that life is becoming more and more convenient every day. But what is this convenience costing us? I think most will agree that despite the myriad of devices designed to save us time that have been recently introduced into our homes we have less and less spare time for the basics of life. I believe the reason for this is we are being sold into the manufactured dream of home ownership. The median house price in Perth is now almost half a million dollars, around six times the median salary. The only way a family can achieve the Australian dream is for both parents to work full time. School teachers and day care staff raise our children. Could it be that the “dream” we are sold is little more than the foundation of the trap that sees us caught in a life of commuting and consumption.
Well this family says no more. We will not be swept down the rapids of modern life and miss out on the scenery. We are going to live a deliberate life.
Look out world, we have a plan. It is going to involve home made bread every day of the week.
Mechanic, electrician, carpenter, plumber, upholsterer, rigger, author, painter, sailmaker, navigator, meteorologist and captain of the S.V. Venilia.