Friday, October 26, 2007

Stolen Weekend.

Last year, we didn't manage to get out in Moonshine after the August Bank Holiday. Missy was recovering from surgery and the October weather was awful, I had the woodwork off for varnishing by mid month. This year, however, we've had two fantastic weekends to finish the season.

We'd arranged a weekend out with Mark and Helen some time ago for October 6th and 7th. I wasn't expecting much from the weather given the time of year, but it looks like 2007 will be remembered for the terrific weather at either end of the season and not much in the middle.

We travelled down on Friday evening (Ship at Itchenor, fish n chips x 2)to get things fettled so that we'd be ready to get out early, with Mark and Helen coming down early on Saturday. The ulterior motive was to get to Cowes in time to see the Rugby World Cup 1/4 final match against Australia.

We had a very pleasant sail over to Cowes with brilliant sunshine and the wind almost cooperating. From the East, which made things nice and calm, but with a few shifts making it hard to avoid the occasional gybe (mostly planned ones, but a couple of "oops" ones). I did cheat a bit, motoring for the last few miles to make sure we got to see some rugby.

Apple, Banana, Carrot, Desk, Elephant, Frog, Giraffe, Hotel, Iguana, Jellybeans, Kangol flat cap......I got sucked into Missy's favourite travelling game somehow. I'll never get those out of my memory now.

We just about managed to squeeze onto a pontoon at East Cowes. We had to reverse in and had about 3 metres of Moonshine alongside and 5 sticking out the front. I was going to suggest to the nice marina people that we should only pay 1/2 price, but they were already grumbling that they weren't making any money because it's now winter rates, so I thought I'd better not push my luck.

We actually got to see most of the second half of England's shock win against the Aussies at the Lifeboat Inn. (surprisingly good, I'm always a bit suspicious of any pub built in the last 100 years or so). It was very pleasant sitting in the sunshine on the terrace watching the boats go by and smirking about putting the Aussies out of the World Cup.

Dinner was, predictably, at the Folly. We took the Folly water bus down there for the first time, which was pretty cool. I'm not sure why, but the trip made eating down there feel something of an adventure. The Folly was busy, but the extremely efficient waitress found us a table while we had a beer on the terrace.

Clemmie got very spoiled with leftover ham and lamb, so much so that she wouldn't eat her kibble and was really rather ill on Sunday. Ooops, bad dog-parents.

The crew were a bit lethargic on Sunday morning. I'd showered and taken Clemmie for a walk into East Cowes to get a newspaper before I could rouse anyone else. Shocking behaviour. I wonder if bringing back the lash is an option?

I abandoned my plan of filling up with diesel because the fuel dock was busy, reasoning that we'd got enough fuel to get us home unless there was absolutely no wind and we had to motor the whole way, and the chances of that were so remote as to be laughable.

Anyway, we put into Gosport at about 2:45pm to fill her up, which was nice. We got to see the Spinnaker tower at close quarters and everything. The crew were very understanding about the whole thing and didn't spend the entire journey back giving me grief about it, oh no.

Anyway, after our slight detour into Portsmouth Harbour, we got back into Chichester just as free-flow started, so that was OK.

So, a hugely enjoyable, warm, sunny October weekend. It really did feel like we were getting something for nothing.

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