For nearly two decades, Bob and Liz Newbury travelled the Mediterranean Sea aboard their 12-metre sailing yacht after years living in the Algarve.
Now, Bob is preparing to launch the third instalment of his ‘The Utterly Useless Guide to Mediterranean Sailing’ book series – the first two of which, entitled ‘An Idiot Abroad’ and ‘Finding Einstein’, have received rave reviews for their dry, self-deprecating humour.
Bob and Liz, both UK citizens who spent most of their life in Jersey, moved to the Algarve in the 1980s.
“Liz’s parents bought The Bull (in Praia da Luz) and roped us in to run it. I’ve never worked so hard in my life. I loved what I saw of the country and dealing with bureaucracy was an intellectual challenge of the highest order,” Bob told the Resident.
Bob, who qualified as a science teacher in 1972, has taught sporadically since then and has also worked as a magazine editor, airport baggage handler, building site labourer, chemical plant technician, dustman, HGV driver, publican, restaurateur, and “Mr. Whippy mobile ice cream vendor,” while Liz qualified as a nurse.
After their spell running The Bull, they decided that it was time to explore the world aboard their sailing yacht.
“It was wanderlust, pure and simple,” Bob told us. “We’re novelty junkies, and ever since we met, we’ve been gallivanting off on boats, campers and motorcycles.”
Their long list of experiences as nomads made the perfect material for a series of books. While Bob has written a number of articles for magazines, this is the first time he has tackled the challenges of writing books.
Meanwhile, Bob and Liz sold their boat five years ago, a decision that weighed heavy on Bob’s heart.
“After having been an integral part of our life for nearly 25 years, it was akin to bereavement. I know it’s irrational to anthropomorphise inanimate objects, but I can’t help it with boats. We bought a canal boat in The Netherlands and moved onto the inland waterways of Europe,” he said.
“This life of blundering our way around Europe on various boats worked well while we had free movement, but Brexit rather threw a spanner in the works. We decided to base ourselves in Portugal and spend whatever lengths of time we could get visas for to continue travelling the summer season on Birvidik II,” he said, explaining that while he is 71 and Liz is 69, they still feel like they are “about 30, until we have to stay up later than 9.30pm”.
Added Bob, “we became residents again last year, but Covid has rather put the block on our travelling plans so far”.
In the meantime, Bob is preparing the launch of his third book which will follow the same framework of the previous entries in the series.
As he put it, the books use the journey as a “scaffold upon which to hang digressions on anything of interest that catches my attention, from the foibles of human nature, through popular science to pop-anthropology or the rituals and beliefs of the yottie tribe”.
The latest book, due to be launched in September, “picks up from our return to Greece and covers exploring the Adriatic, taking in Albania, Montenegro, Croatia and Italy,” he added.
Bob’s books can be purchased on Amazon.co.uk
By MICHAEL BRUXO