The Good Ship Floats Again
It's that time of year when I start thinking, ‘I’m never going out on that boat ever again.’ But sailing is what Tom loves to do. He’s just replaced the stern gland with a stuffing box (no, don’t ask me, I haven’t a clue) and generally fussing over her so, reluctantly, I decide to give her once last chance.
The launch gets off to an inauspicious start; we arise bright and early and go down to the estuary. The plan is that we will board the boat, still on its trailer, on dry land then The Pirate King and his Merry Crew, the folks who run the river here, will tow us, by JCB, deposit us in the middle of the channel and wait until we’re happy that the boat isn’t about to fill up with water again. But no, we arrive at the appointed hour to find that The Pirate King & Co. have arisen even brighter and earlier and dumped the boat in the river on a rising tide. Furthermore, the inflatable’s on board. Berludy great. Tom goes off to have words with The Pirate King whilst I wait on the shore gazing balefully at the boat. It starts to rain.
Just when I am feeling very pissed-off indeed, there is an engine roar and a JCB trundles over the horizon.
‘Get in,’ shouts Tom, pointing at the business end of the JCB. And so it is that after a bit of a struggle, we arrive at the boat, standing in the bucket of a JCB. Nice. My happiness levels lift a bit when we reach our mooring in one piece, although I am slightly miffed when I spoil my 100% record by failing to pick up the mooring buoy. By the time we’ve had a cup of tea and found the stash of chocolate and ginger biscuit, I concede that it’s not all bad; here we are in a loop of a beautiful, peaceful, estuary away from the madding crowd and prying eyes – how bad is that?
Back ashore we deflate the dinghy, Tom packs it up and I try to do helpful things with the tailgate whilst Tom shoves the dinghy bag and all its contents in the back of the car. Alas, we have a Laurel and Hardy moment, when Tom turns round suddenly and thwacks me across the face with the set of oars.
‘No marks!’ he announces. The pain suggests otherwise and, looking in the passenger mirror, I find two fat stripes either side of my left eye, reminiscent of David Bowie in his ‘Aladdin Sane’ period. Tom seems terribly hurt when his cheerful ‘Do we need anything at Tesco?’ receives a short, angry reply. Still, at least the boat is on the water and safe on her mooring. Back home, the weather forecaster tells us that heavy rain and strong gales will reach the west Wales coast this evening.
‘I think I’ll just make sure those mooring lines are ok,’says Tom.
Ah, sailing days are here again!
Cardiff Half Marathon Training
Runner's World SmartCoach programme, Week 2 = 18 miles.
Weight loss = 1lb.
The image is 'The Sea', a print by Tom Tomos