The stupid bloody engine decided to keep overheating. What had appeared to be a blown head gasket now seems to be a cracked cylinder liner, which means the engine will need to be removed from the boat again and most of what Rich has already achieved will have to be redone. It is a terrible shock – we’d begun planning trips away for the end of last month and are now back to wondering if we’ll move at all this year.
The poor boy has been coping valiantly. He poured his sadness out to everyone who would listen until he got tired of hearing the story himself and began to bury his misery in galley refurbishments. A lovely set of kitchen drawers has appeared, and when people ask me “how’s the boat?” they quickly realise they already know the answer and wish they hadn’t.
Good things have also occurred since my last post. I’ve celebrated an anniversary of Gwen living, something which would most likely have surprised me this time last year. With every month I live in the comfort of her yawning and bouncing I feel more and more at home, and more eager to get her moving. We’ve got little systems in place (tidying on Saturdays, me cooking and Rich washing up, dividing up the outside chores depending on who’s the most tired or wearing the most clothes) and are quite the happy boatmates.
We also had a wonderful trip away on Shamrock to celebrate Rich’s birthday and commiserate the lack of a trip on Gwen. On Friday lunchtime Rich sailed round and picked me up from a conversation class in Cawsand and we headed off to Noss Mayo with a boat full of picnic goods and warm jumpers. This was for the best, as it was bloody freezing, and our hands were blocks of ice by the time we got to the pub that was to provide our evening’s entertainment with Big Joe and his girlfriend Mij. The wind was against us so this took over five hours, at least one of which was spent trying to get round the mewstone while Rich was suffering terribly from premature tacking. I caught my first fish, a mackerel that I cooked up for us as a starter on a gas hob, and that evening after drinking and eating far too much in The Swan (which included me belting out a well-received rendition of It’s Oh So Quiet, complete with screams, at a badly undersubscribed karaoke) I fed my first lamb, Charlie, at Mij’s place.
We left Noss on Saturday morning, worse for the wear of a midnight bottle of rum, to find a polite parking attendant’s notice from the harbour master who pointed out that we had tied Shamrock up right next to the sign that gave a maximum of 2 hours mooring. We paid him and had what was quickly becoming a staple conversation – Shamrock was built in Noss and was used for the moulds of a great many Cornish crabbers, and we were happy to verify that it was indeed she, and that she now belonged to Andy and Fi in Millbrook who still use her for trading up the Tamar now and then.
The return journey was more speedy, and choppy, as the wind was now behind us. I guess I’m just an eager beginner but I find it much more fun when the boat’s leaping around, and I got quite a thrill steering her into the waves and later motoring her into Royal William Yard’s harbour alongside a pontoon (the wrong one, as it turned out, but hey). Rich went off to a gig with his (also birthdaying) brother while I watched a dreadful Arnie film at the Uni and drank hot chocolate at one of the poncey bars at RWY. Between there and Noss Mayo we spent most of the weekend surrounded by the super wealthy which I suppose was nice in that it was a comfort to me not to have the poshest voice in the room for a change.
After months of scraping the bottoms of our overdrafts Rich has suddenly been offered more work in the North Sea, which means we may be able to afford to send the engine away to be fixed rather than going through that ballache again, and that in a couple of weeks I’ll be alone on Gwen again. Though I profess to anyone who will listen that I look forward to time alone, in honesty I’m hesitant this time. I’ve had some social problems of late and am feeling a little friendless, and after initial readjustment on his last return Rich and I have got closer and better than ever at cohabiting this year, and I will miss him as my companion and confidante as much as my best friend and boyfriend. Still, now is probably as good a time as any to write my masterpiece. Whatever that is. Hey ho.