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Sunshine and Gales

Weather in the area of Scotland where we are now floating tends to follow a fairly typical pattern during the months of May or June in most years; in a typical year there will be a long period of dry, sunny days. This is just the way things tend to turn out and this year has been absolutely true to form with almost continuous daily sunshine, hardly a break, throughout the whole of June. Even May, looking back, was sunny even though a little too cool to encourage sunbathing. As if to prove the accuracy of this rule, on the evening of the last day of June this year the clouds began to form. Overnight some light rain fell and by early morning on the first day of July we were getting the first gusts of a full blown gale driving horizontal rain before it. Gone is the sultry heat; we are now in a different pattern, depressions forming over the Atlantic which follow time-honoured north-easterly tracks over Northern Ireland and Scotland. These are important facts when your life is governed by the wind, its strength and direction, as ours is. Our intended direction of travel now is southwards – we are bound for Ireland – and from Troon this means we must wait for winds with a northerly component or else push on, against common sense, into headwinds.

Troon being on mainland Scotland, we berthed there for the express purpose of leaving Cirrus for a week so that we could journey the length of a very hot Britain to visit our English home in Yeovil, a brief visit to celebrate switching on our new central heating boiler. Such was the temperature there that we took no more than a few minutes to decide that we had a working system; we just didn’t want the house to be any hotter than the sun was already making it, over twenty-five degrees Celsius. But this is an important milestone in the house renovation project we have set ourselves to complete before the end of this year (a target now driven by the scheduled increase in VAT due in January next year).

Even after dragging our hired car back to Scotland our heads are still full of construction plans and colour schemes – we have become avid readers of newspaper Lifestyle supplements – but back on Cirrus we must turn our minds to assessing the weather and making the mental adjustment to life on board again. Fortunately Troon Marina provides a spectacular shower room where we can stand and soak away to our hearts’ content whilst contemplating isobars and thermal gradients.

Today the forecast gave us an opportunity to move very slightly closer to Ireland and we seized the day and sailed west for Campbeltown on the Mull of Kintyre. It was a wild and uncomfortable sail, six hours of being tossed and shaken about although we sailed as fast as our salt-drenched decks could take us. But Cirrus didn’t complain as twenty-five knots of wind screamed through her rigging and pushed against her tight sails. She just bashed her way through every wave making spray-rainbows in the sunshine. No gale this, but more wind than we like to be out sailing in. Cambeltown will have to put up with us for some days now while we wait for something better than this to come along.

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One Response to Sunshine and Gales

  1. Hi.

    Glad the journey is progressing. Did the mayor come round for the switching on of the boiler?

    I was sent a poem this morning, that I thought you may enjoy …

    Journey to Ithaca

    When you set out on your journey to Ithaca,
    pray that the road is long,
    full of adventure, full of knowledge.
    The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
    the angry Poseidon — do not fear them:
    You will never find such as these on your path,
    if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine
    emotion touches your spirit and your body.
    The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
    the fierce Poseidon you will never encounter,
    if you do not carry them within your soul,
    if your soul does not set them up before you.

    Pray that the road is long.
    That the summer mornings are many, when,
    with such pleasure, with such joy
    you will enter ports seen for the first time;
    stop at Phoenician markets,
    and purchase fine merchandise,
    mother-of-pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
    and sensual perfumes of all kinds,
    as many sensual perfumes as you can;
    visit many Egyptian cities,
    to learn and learn from scholars.

    Always keep Ithaca in your mind.
    To arrive there is your ultimate goal.
    But do not hurry the voyage at all.
    It is better to let it last for many years;
    and to anchor at the island when you are old,
    rich with all you have gained on the way,
    not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.

    Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage.
    Without her you would have never
    set out on the road.
    She has nothing more to give you.

    And if you find her poor,
    Ithaca has not deceived you.
    Wise as you have become,
    with so much experience,
    you must already have understood
    what Ithacas mean.

    -Constantine P. Cavafy (1911)



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