Only in America

Stella Awards in the snow.

5th March 2012
Impress natural women

Stella Awards in La Rochelle

Snow in La Rochelle

Le Christmas in La Rochelle came and went leaving us with the tasks of readying Cygnus III for this year’s cruising. This meant servicing the engine, hauling her out to be cleaned of some of the sea life that had joined us on our adventure and anti-fouling her.

Stella snow settee

A Stella snow settee

On the day we were due to come out snow fell everywhere, the water was turned off to prevent pipes freezing and instead of being left high and dry we were left low and wet. Apparently snow is as rare as a tip from a Scotchman in La Rochelle and the locals were out being amazed at a city covered in a crisp, white blanket. For us it was nothing new so there was only one thing for it. Snowball fights, snow women plus the odd snow sofa. On our cruising list to the sun we had not included snow and below freezing temperatures but even so we enjoyed it whilst it lasted. Oh and in case you were wondering the difference between snowmen and snow women is snowballs!


Hauling Cygnus Out in La Rochelle.

Towards the end of February we re-booked taking Cygnus III out as the temperature rose to a T-shirt wearing 20 degrees. Now I have to say taking 17 tonnes of your home out of its natural environment and suspending it in mid-air by a couple of straps is a cheek squeezing experience. So was living in a boat whilst she rested on four poles. (I know, these Eastern Europeans find a job everywhere).

Anti fouling Cygnus in La Rochelle

Anti Foul in La Rochelle

The jet washing was fun but after painting a 45 foot hull, twice, I need a new back and knees. The boys and Angelina joined in with the rollers although we seemed to get more paint on us than the boat.

Would you believe that I was doing my final checks when Angelina decided to use the sink, which emptied on my head? She said she didn’t know I was there!!!

We are getting our first guests of the year in a week or two when Saskia and Luke come for a couple of days. Angelina is looking forward to having a more receptive shopping partner to pick out clothes we can’t afford. In the meantime she will have to make do with our luxury purchase of the year, a hand-held vacuum cleaner. (I will have to stop spoiling her).


French Food in La Rochelle

We have even been trying more local foods of late including snails, more oysters and hot chocolate’s that would be better classed as a narcotic they give you such a high.

We need to win the stella awards for eating Snails in Garlic in La Rochelle

Snails in garlic in La Rochelle

When in France…

Snails in garlic butter as a starter. Well the garlic butter tasted nice. The rest is something akin to what you may find up a flu invested miners nose.

Later Marc, (the South African variety) and Aiden cooked the main course of steak on the barbecue. We are not sure what type of steak it was. It was called something like “Shergar or Red Rum(p)” but it tasted nice.

Yesterday was my Birthday and Angelina treated me like a king as well she should. I now have to get her to do this for the other 364 days of the year and we will be sorted. I even got a new pair of sailing shoes as my old ones seemed to be missing an integral part. The sole!

Now I have to admit we have had some wonderful company here with Jane, Marc and the boys but they are definitely getting me into some bad habits when it comes to drinking and putting the world too rights. When it comes to Americans they are like Pole bearers wandering around a graveyard. They have lost the plot. I will let you judge for yourself in the Stella Awards.


Stella Awards.

It’s time again for the annual ‘Stella Awards‘! For those unfamiliar with these awards, they are named after 81-year-old Stella Liebeck who spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued the McDonald’s in New Mexico, where she purchased coffee. You remember, she took the lid off the coffee and put it between her knees while she was driving!

That’s right; these are awards for the most outlandish lawsuits and verdicts in America. You know, the kinds of cases that make you scratch your head.

Here are the Stella’s for this past year  —



Carl Truman, 19, of Los Angeles , California won $74,000 plus medical expenses when his neighbour ran over his hand with a Honda Accord. Truman apparently didn’t notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal his neighbour’s hubcaps.

Scratch some more…



Terrence Dickson, of Bristol , Pennsylvania , who was leaving a house he had just burglarised by way of the garage. Unfortunately for Dickson, the automatic garage door opener malfunctioned and he could not get the door to open. Worse, he couldn’t re-enter the house because the door connecting the garage to the house locked when Dickson pulled it shut. Forced to sit for eight, count ’em, EIGHT days and survive on a case of Pepsi and a large bag of dry dog food, he sued the homeowner’s insurance company claiming undue mental Anguish. Amazingly, the jury said the insurance company must pay Dickson $500,000 for his anguish. We should all have this kind of anguish. Keep scratching. There are more…

Double hand scratching after this one…



Jerry Williams, of Little Rock, Arkansas, garnered 4th Place in the Stella’s when he was awarded $14,500 plus medical expenses after being bitten on the butt by his next door neighbour’s beagle – even though the beagle was on a chain in its owner’s fenced yard.

Williams did not get as much as he asked for because the jury believed the beagle might have been provoked at the time of the butt bite because Williams had climbed over the fence into the yard and repeatedly shot the dog with a pellet gun.

Pick a new spot to scratch; you’re getting a bald spot…



Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania because a jury ordered a Philadelphia restaurant to pay her $113,500 after she slipped on a spilled soft drink and broke her tailbone. The reason the soft drink was on the floor: Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument. What ever happened to people being responsible for their own actions?

Only two more so ease up on the scratching…



Kara Walton, of Claymont , Delaware sued the owner of a night club in a nearby city because she fell from the bathroom window to the floor, knocking out her two front teeth. Even though Ms. Walton was trying to sneak through the ladies room window to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge, the jury said the night club had to pay her $12,000….oh, yeah, plus dental expenses. Go figure.

Ok. Here we go!!


* The winner of the Stella Awards goes to *

This year’s runaway First Place Stella Award winner was: Mrs. Merv Grazinski, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who purchased new 32-foot Winnebago motor home. On her first trip home, from an OU football game, having driven on to the freeway, she set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the driver’s seat to go to the back of the Winnebago to make herself a sandwich. Not surprisingly, the motor home left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Also not surprisingly, Mrs. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not putting in the owner’s manual that she couldn’t actually leave the driver’s seat while the cruise control was set. The Oklahoma jury awarded her, are you sitting down?$1,750,000 PLUS a new motor home. Winnebago actually changed their manuals as a result of this suit, just in case Mrs. Grazinski has any relatives who might also buy a motor home.

So there you are. Americans are truly a breed apart! The Stella Awards brought to you from La Rochelle in France.



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