It is exactly one year since I set out from La Gomera to row 3000 miles across the Atlantic. My first dispatch shows I didn't get off to a promising start.
It's hard now to identify with that nervous ocean rower taking her first tentative strokes in between hanging over the side of the boat to be sick. By the end of my 103 days at sea I had long since found my sea legs, and knew much more about the ocean and about myself than I did at the start.
And yet in another way I can still relate to that feeling of taking on a large project and feeling daunted. I am up to Chapter Three of my Atlantic book, and I feel I have so much I want to say that the closing line seems as far away as Antigua is from the Canaries. While I was out on the ocean someone wrote to me, 'After this nothing will ever seem difficult.' Not true. Life always will be and always should be full of challenges.
The Leander story has taken on a life of its own. Apparently I got 8 column inches in the Telegraph today. I am also in the Times, I'm due to be on Radio Five Live in about half an hour (5:50pm), ITV News and GMTV have been in touch, and I'm on the BBC website.
And why? Because a group of pink-socked gentlemen decided, as it is perfectly within their discretion to do, that I did not meet the criteria for membership of a club that few people outside of rowing or outside of the UK have ever heard of.
In my blogs I regularly talk about things that are important to me - the environment, anti-materialism, finding life purpose, etc - but apart from a few loyal readers making comments, these things rarely cause a stir.
In the overall scheme of things, what matters more? That a small and insignificant club turned down a small and insignificant rower, or that the whole planet is going to hell while politicians twiddle their thumbs and watch their popularity ratings?
What is going on with our scale of values? It makes me want to scream. Stop reading this site immediately, and go and use your mental energy for something more important instead. Like deciding what you're going to do with your time on this earth, or how you're going to do your bit for the environment.
My little membership issue with the Leander Club seems to have made it into the papers. This article appeared today, and the Daily Express have been on the phone as well.
I'm actually totally over it, and am starting to feel faintly embarrassed about the fuss. It really doesn't matter to me. I only made the point about the apparent sexism of the decision in case any other women, to whom membership may matter more, wanted to join.
I shall now refrain from further comment on the decision, and rise above it with dignity. I will allow my actions to speak louder than words.
We arrived in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico, yesterday to start preparing Eric's catamaran Jangarda for our trip down the coast to Zihuatanejo.
A recent email from my sister referred to my 'champagne lifestyle' - this gave me serious pause for thought. For the last few years I have been living in very reduced circumstances - homes have included a camper van, an office, a 6ft x 6ft x 6ft boat cabin and a Dickensian garret above an antiques shop in Richmond - and I quite enjoyed the feeling. Being poor kept me on my toes.
But due to my recent change of circumstances I find myself living in a beautiful house in the Gorge and sailing on a sumptuous catamaran in Mexico. Even before my sister's email, it had been bothering me. Will this lifestyle make me go soft? If I'm not living life on the edge, am I taking up too much room? Will it make my Pacific row all the harder, if I get used to this level of comfort?
My take on it is this: I used to think that money could buy happiness. But now I've found out that isn't true: I can be rich and miserable, and I can be poor and happy. Money and happiness have very little to do with each other.
I still don't have any money of my own, but I am lucky enough to be living the lifestyle of someone who does. I don't take it for granted, and I don't feel I need the rich man's toys to make life good. I could go back to living in a campervan and it wouldn't bother me.
So I'm just living life for the moment, and enjoying it. There will be plenty of opportunity for me to don my hair shirt and get uncomfortable next summer when I embark from San Francisco to row to Hawaii.
In the meantime, it's not all a joy ride. Back to swabbing the decks...
Song for the day: Once in a Lifetime by Talking Heads