RMS St Helena Departing Cape Town July 30th 2012
I set off on this expedition from Heathrow on a warm July day, one of the very few we have had this year. After a delay of a couple of hours due to the plane being too hot to board, (yes it was too hot to get onto the plane as the air conditioning was only working in one area of the aircraft) we headed for Cape Town.
Almost 24 hours after arriving in Cape Town I was going through the now familiar boarding process onto the RMS St Helena. The ship had just returned from its annual makeover in the Cape Town Dry Dock. A few people had mentioned
that sometimes the ship gets delayed on her first sail after dry dock, and yes we were: One of the cranes had decided to play up and was refusing to work. This could have had catastrophic results if it happened in St Helena as the cranes are the only way to get all baggage and supplies off the ship and onto dry land.
Eventually we set off 24 hours later in perfect conditions.
Viewing St Helena for the third time from the deck of the RMS was just as beguiling as the first time.
The excitement is almost visible as families prepare to be reunited, some having been apart for years, tears are shed and not just from those meeting loved ones!
Work this time round is in the Castle which is the home of the St Helena Government.
I am working with a team who are looking at the whole of Government in the context of standardising processes and procedures and modernising some areas. My role is to look at the customer service aspects of the project and to deliver some training. The work is very absorbing and time is just flying by.
Getting Ready for Pizza!
Saturday night was spent in the company of Michel Martineau, his partner JJ, 11 guests and a wood burning Bread Oven!
Michel and JJ had installed the oven 7 years ago but had never used it. Anyone who knows me will acknowledge that I have always wanted one of these ovens and the only reasons I haven’t taken the plunge is that in the UK, our weather and my working patterns (never at home) precludes the cost and time to build one.
So it was my extreme pleasure to have the opportunity to practice on Michel, JJ and their guests with wood oven baked Pizzas.
JJ lit the oven at lunchtime and fed it stack after stack of wood. We knew it was getting warm when the paint around the oven started to blister and the chimney started to smell like something chemical was burning!
4kg of bread dough started to have attitude problems toward the end of the afternoon when it had been punched down for the third time: It wanted to get cooking!
I realise I have a training need when it comes to flattening dough into a Pizza base. There was no way I could get the dough flat without the aid of a rather heavy rolling pin which kind of spoilt the effect. No twirling a ball of dough on my hand until flat as done in Naples!
When it was time to cook we trundled fillings and bases close to the oven where guests were invited to create their own Pizzas. The oven could only manage one Pizza at a time, possibly due to my portion control or lack of it.
11 Pizzas later and the oven could still manage to bake 6 small loaves of bread which looked a treat. The overall verdict was positive from our guests, there were a few burnt bits and some topping which slid into the oven when dislodging the pizza from its peel (the shovel you slide the pizza into the oven with) but generally the oven did us proud and I would like to have one even more now!