I don’t have my log books with me, but Pippin and I have covered thousands of miles together, not all happy for me if truth be told, but that says more about my limitations than hers. We’ve been together in winds from 0 to 40+ knots, waves from ripples to maybe 25 feet, and the only one who has ever been concerned on occasion has been me; Pippin has been mistress and Hercule Lord of all.
Oh you’ll miss her, friends said, but the funny thing is I won’t for I don’t look back as I’m not going that way, so I will carry only fond memories with me as I trudge on, no regrets. The important thing is to have plans, but even more important is to actually enact those plans, for there never is a best time to go and do – so just go and do.
Except I am sitting here in Holyhead, 5 days without a shower, awaiting an easier ride, listening to 24 knot gusts build to 33, so I am not going to go and do; heavens sake I’m an OAP! But I am lucky, for just as being a Jester earns membership of one select group, so custodianship of a Francis 34 Pilothouse of which there are only 6, brings membership of another even smaller group.
Gerry Burns, master mariner, won’t mind me involving him in this blog for he is a previous owner of Pippin, and lives near my next destination, tiny Ardglass in NI. Who better to assist with my interpretation of local weather and indeed, to meet me there? His advice proved a great comfort as I swung wildly, like Irish weather, between sod it lets get out of here, to let’s have a glass of hair restorer and await better times. Though I do find the latter emotion comes more naturally these days.
As some will know, I have a love hate relationship (mainly hate) with the Irish Sea, a body of water pummelled from above and below by tidal water jets squeezing between narrow rocky necks, accelerating tidal flows and creating maelstroms of colliding water in high winds. This is further stirred up by the depressions that track high across this sea Hell bent on seemingly endless mischief.
But I remained surprisingly upbeat, even when a boat filled with cruise ship passengers pulled alongside as I stood in my birthday suit, scrubbing my marbled limbs in the pilothouse, whilst the wind blew and Pippin tugged restlessly at her tethers. Perhaps I’m now on YouTube, but whatever no more came, and my local neighbour opined that I probably had put them off though he also felt they were a tad too posh for Holyhead. I subscribed to his latter theory, though liked him a little less when he theorised that the weather was all my fault.
It was chilly so I decided to seek a fleece at the chandlers and met a nice young chap, except he said just what I didn’t want to hear – this time last year he was sunbathing on the beach in perfect sunshine. The first mate has often said I carry a front in my rucksack and it seems she’s right, but maybe there’s a little sunshine and a fair wind in the pocket of my new fleece.
I also needed gas and just as there was no hot water in Holyhead, so there was no gas, but I was not to be defeated and mounted a taxi in pursuit of the evasive ether. I will report success in obtaining gas, but would rather not report at what financial cost! There is no diesel either, but that was OK as I had plenty.
Downtown Holyhead is tired but if you allow your eyes and mind to feast only on the evidence of dilapidation, you will miss the whole point of the place. What you get is unerring friendship and kindness and not one dog walker, of which there are many, passed without a cheery greeting. For my mile walk to town I took off my smart shades and wore my older clothes so as to fit in more, and was not surprised to discover I had no chance of replenishing my stock of Gentleman’s Relish or dark roast espresso.
Talking of rations, a quick trot to a nearby hostelry resulted in the worst curry ever, period. It was so bad it was amusing and I certainly didn’t have the heart to tell the nice waitress, who came to check all was well. Contrast that with a very simple, basic little Thai restaurant which provided excellent fare for £12.
Incredibly the sun is out and the noise of the wind in the rigging is down to a moan so hopes have risen for a break out tomorrow. So I’ll leave you hare and hopefully report next from the other side.