If I hadn’t laughed, I would have cried. I had been watching the engine coolant system for a few days so whilst it was hugely disappointing to find a significant leak from the sealed system water pump during my pre-departure checks, it wasn’t a total surprise. Team A-Jay would not be going anywhere today (Thursday).
I happened to find 6 engineers of various hues at coffee in the Marina Offices and wedging myself in their midst, regaled them with my tale of woe, determined not to leave without securing assistance. Five fingers pointed at Richard, who looked over worked and underwhelmed, but he kindly arrived at Team A-Jay after lunch and agreed with my diagnosis, adding there wasn’t another Yanmar engineer for miles. The very expensive parts couldn’t be fitted until Monday at best – agggghhhh!!!! The real sting in this tale is that I had had a new pump fitted before we left.
If I have any virtues patience would not top the list, so I headed off for a pacey steam powered bash round Bangor to check out bus and train time tables and by the time I arrived at Asda for a spot of culinary retail therapy, equilibrium, though shaky, had been restored. Indeed the smells of potato gratin and cauliflower cheese wafting through the cabin later reminded me that all was not so bad. After all, summer might actually arrive before we escaped the clutches of Bangor.
Talking of Bangor, whilst the town lacks designer shops and beauty of the architectural kind – neither of which I miss – the marina is excellent, probably the best managed and run I have encountered on this trip, so not such a bad place to be confined. Even my case for a discount seemed to find a sympathetic ear.
I am now a fully signed up Guillemot fan; there is a breeding station here in the marina where Black Guillemots can be watched close up. Plump, dignified, ever so neat fussy looking little birds, they look for all the World like mini-Poirots with red trainers. Their scruffy, rufty-tufty Common cousins seem to spend all their time out at sea, where they understandably have less opportunity to attend to their coiffure.
Harland & Wolf is a very large part of Belfast’s industrial heritage still hugely yellow, visible on the Belfast industrial sea front. It was of course the yard that built the Titanic, now remembered in a fantastic museum and if you ever go, I recommend the audio visual experience that takes you from engine room to bridge and the incredible live footage of the ship on the sea bed.
Having been here for a while now, I have had many neighbours …. there was a hippy German couple with a ‘witch’s broom’ mounted on the backstay of their boat named Kleine Hexe, so no surprise about the broom – might make an interesting conversation on the VHF though. Earlier this evening a rufty-tufty little Norwegian yacht arrived, powered by a smoky old egg whisk of an outboard, the propeller of which barely touched the water; I took the lines of the 4 young Vikings aboard and haven’t seen them since; I suspect they are keeping up the Viking tradition ashore. There was certainly enough testosterone aboard to see them through most things.
I was later adopted by a delightful crew of a Moody 38, led by Eamon Furlong and we dined upstairs at Donegan’s after a pint of Guinness poured through two taps, something I understand is essential to achieve the perfect pint. Next morning I dropped the boat down to the leeward pontoon to work off the Guinness scrubbing the water line, cheered by news that the spare part had arrived and will be fitted tomorrow, so we’ll be away God willing at ‘0-sparrow-fart’ Tuesday. Yipppeeee!
Did I say ‘summer might even arrive before I leave ….’? Barry the barometer is in a sulk and the rain is thundering on the cabin roof as I sign off ……