After my last rave about growing old the feedback appears that I am not alone. But it has occurred to me of late that it is not just me growing older but how much the world I inhabit has changed. The world was a simpler place before smartphones roamed the planet.  Thanks to those wretched devices and its partner in crime the interweb, our lives bear little resemblance to what they did when we were growing up. I view the world through my children’s eyes and there childhood experiences are so different to mine.  Take evenings for example. What do you and your family do in the evenings in the modern era? When I was a lad we gathered by candle light shelling peas for dinner whilst listening to news from the war on the wireless. Well not quite but having only one screen in the house (cathode ray at that) certainly encouraged more conversation. Back then that screen was not the focus of our lives. Looking at it was only one of the many things we did at nights. Everything on it was in black and white and at about 10 pm a well-dressed chap with an ABC voice said goodnight and they played the national anthem whilst showing some scratchy footage of the flag being lowered.

Then the screen went blank. The opposite happens now.

Kids and parents alike look at their screens and their minds go blank.  People spend their evenings either posting LOL’s on twitbook or ‘likeing’ stupid photos some other personality challenged individual has posted. Or they play games where angry birds steal cars and escape from the cops. Or they watch good looking crime scene investigators have affairs with each other in several different American cities. That’s not living people! Back in the old days people used their spare time more productively. They gardened, collected stamps, read books (real books – with covers and no batteries required). Or they (and yes I am getting to the point) they took night classes!  Yes we were a nation of self-improvers back then and evenings were spent trotting along to the nearest community hall or tech college to learn something we didn’t know. Woodwork, speaking French, astrology, soap carving etc. And navigation. When I first started teaching nav at night classes it was in the UK in the early nineties in the local church hall with poor lighting and shiny loo roll. The class was mainly a group of old dears that used it as a night out. They did Italian cooking last term and were planning to do basket weaving next. Not one of them ever intended to step foot on a yacht but it was getting them out of the house once a week and they took it in turns to bring a cake.

They all knitted happily away as I explained secondary ports, cold fronts and crossing traffic separation zones. But they were using their minds.

When we started Southern Cross 16 years ago night classes were all the rage. We would fill 2 classes a week for 14 weeks on continuous loop through-out the year. But times are a changing, people’s lives are different and very few people can give up one night a week to learn nav anymore. So in fact this is the obituary to the night class. May it rest in peace. But as the modern, never sit still centre of learning that we are, we are now offering Day Skipper theory over 3 weekend beginning Sunday 10 March and then over the weekends 6 & 7 April and 27 & 28 April ($835).

You need never miss another episode of NCI Masterchef again. Enjoy those cold evening at home around a warm screen and knock off that Day Skipper theory on the weekends!

One course that can’t be done on a screen is boat handling. Our next one day course is on Sunday 24 March 2013. You will spend the day hands on learning the ancient and lost art of boat parking. This course will teach you the techniques and skill to confidently berth your pride and joy in any situation. Practice on our boats and I can buff out the near misses! Cost of the course is $230.

That’s all for this edition, until next time enjoy your evening.
Mike Job.

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