October 2016 - Malaysia

1 October 2016   Malacca, Malaysia
We had a tourist day, wandering around Malacca, looking at the architecture - European Churches mixed in with Mosques, Chinese and Hindu temples.  Glenys dragged me onto some of the tourist attractions, like the Skylift - a revolving disk sitting 60 people that rises to 60 metres above the town and gives a nice view of Malacca.  She even persuaded me to go on a River trip - yawn...

There are a large number of trishaws in Malacca who take tourists around the town. Instead of being a discrete, traditional looking form of transport, these are extremely gaudy being decorated with Disney and cartoon character themes.

Gaudy Trishaw

At night they are lit by bright LED lights and some of them have 500W sound systems blaring away as they pedal punters around the streets. I was fascinated by the surly looking men pedalling these garish contraptions around - I managed to avoid the humiliation of a ride.

One of our more interesting stops was at 8 Heeren Street, which is a restored Malaccan shop house.   It’s a small two-storey building built in the mid-late 1700s and these traditional shop houses commonly served as shop, residence, stable and animal yard all at the same time.  They used to be very common within the town, but many have been altered with modern shop fronts.  The restoration project is run by volunteers and one of the guys gave us a great tour of the shop house. 

We had lunch at a café on Heeren Street, which served a nice Laksa and “Top Hats” which are small crunchy pastry cups filled with vegetables.  In the afternoon, it was too hot to wander about the streets, so Glenys went for a haircut and I chilled out in our air-conditioned room.  In the evening, we hit the Jonker Street market again and ate in one of the big restaurants.

2 October 2016   Admiral Marina, Malaysia
We left the hotel at ten o’clock - four buses and four hours later, we were back at the boat.  We spent the rest of the afternoon, chilling out.

3 October 2016   Admiral Marina, Malaysia
I went for run and then had an administration day - it was time to review our finances.   For the past five years, we’ve been steadily eating into our savings and we’ve finally run out of easily available cash.  We’ve still got money invested in ISAs, but they give us tax free income, so we don’t really want to cash those in.  The UK FTSE 100 index has just topped 7,000 points, so after a lot of research, we think that it's a good time to start withdrawing funds from our pensions. 

Fortunately, the UK has gone through a lot of pension reforms and it looks like it’s easy to move some of our pension into a “draw-down” which will release a nice tax-free lump sum and allow us to draw income from our pension, which should put us back in the black.  I’m hoping to be able to do everything online over the next few days.

FTSE100 - a good time to cash in a Pension?

Glenys did more practical things and flushed out our water tanks and pipework with a mild bleach solution.  We were a little concerned that we’ve got some bacteria in our water, which could be a root cause of my on-going ear infection problems.  Our water tanks are now filled with Malaysia town water, which is heavily fluorinated, so we should be okay now.

4 October 2016   Admiral Marina, Malaysia
Glenys dragged out our old main sail and spent the morning stripping off the foot tape which was only put on a year ago and will be handy for any repairs.  We unceremoniously dumped the rest of the sail next to the bins.  No point in carrying a spare mainsail.

I pickled the water maker because we’re not going to be using it until December.  In the afternoon, I removed the old tap from the galley sink.  I’d bought a new one when we were in Singapore back in June and had not got around to fitting it. When I unboxed it, I found that the pipe fittings were the wrong size. I walked to the local hardware shops, but they didn’t have anything to help, so I had to catch a bus into Port Dickson, where I found an Indian hardware shop who had the right stuff.  Four hours to fit a tap...

In the evening, we were invited for drinks by Ian & Alison on “Nereids”.

5 October 2016   Admiral Marina, Malaysia
I spent all day sorting out our pensions.  I managed to do most things on line, but we had to ring up our pension provider in the UK and answer a list of questions, which were a statutory requirement to ensure that we understand the risks associated with drawing down our pensions.  I also had to fill in two paper application forms that I’ll send off by courier tomorrow.  It’s amazing what we can now do on-line - ten years ago, I would have had to involve a personal financial advisor and it would have been lots of hassle.

Glenys had a sewing day mostly repairing the dinghy cover with some of the material that she stripped off our old mainsail.

6 October 2016   Admiral Marina, Malaysia
In the morning, we popped into Port Dickson to run a few errands and send off our pension application forms.  I’ve found a small stainless steel fabrication shop, so they’re making me a simple part allowing me to extend the viewfinder on my underwater camera. 

After lunch in town, we headed back to the boat and spent the afternoon tidying up and packing our bags ready to go off on another short holiday - this time to the Cameron Highlands.