Sunday 4th October – Planning a party at Sea

My attention is drawn away from racing today as it's Al's Birthday on Tuesday – the day when I'm next on Mother watch, so the onus is on me to try and conjure nice Birthday food from the contents of the 'day-bag' of ingredients I have on that day.  It's a bit like 'Ready, Steady Cook' only without the cameras, the chefs who know what they're doing...oh yes and without any decent ingredients!!!
The menu for Tuesday is the normal breakfast (porridge, cereal), packet soup and tinned hotdogs for lunch (only we now don't have any bread unless we make it ourselves) and pasta carbonara with tinned ratatouille for supper.  Now carbonara happens to be one of my favourite pasta dishes but when your ham comes out of a tin and the sauce comes out of a packet it's less Cordon Blue and more Gordon Bennett! Not good!  This was not about to make good Birthday food! So most of today was spent negotiating with other “mothers” and swapping day bag contents to try and come up with something vaguely nice!  After many hushed discussions we decided on fresh baked sausage rolls for breakfast to supplement the norm (made out of the lunch hot dog sausages and bread dough, wrapped around them, sausage roll fashion), then having found some nice part-baked baguettes we would have ham and mustard or ham and pesto sarnies with the soup at lunch, followed by a hot, spicy, chorizo arriabatta-type pasta dish in the evening with fresh baked garlic bread and a dessert of fruit custard crunch pots – using you guessed it, crushed biscuits (liberated from Monday's day bag), tinned fruit 'found' in store and custard which we have gallons of packets of, which I'd have to make thick and try to cool as much as possible! Feeling pretty chuffed we'd come up with something different – in a good way – from our 8 day menu rotation, there ensued many secret squirrel missions to swap contents and ingredients around without Al suspecting anything. Chloe and Jeremy volunteered to make a big chocolate cake during their night watch when Al would be in bed, so all that was left was to wrap the present  (in a rare sheet of blank A4 paper, decorated Blue Peter fashion with multi-coloured, dry-wipe pen swirls) and to conjure up the clues for the Treasure Hunt - as I'd decided Albert would have to work for her present! We had Happy Birthday candles stashed away, a card signed by all the crew, a Happy Birthday Banner and a packet of Balloons that you make animals from.  Mission accomplished...although not much sailing achieved by me today!