Six days

September 23rd

This must be the longest I have stayed aboard in the same place since I moved onto Samsara last year: Six days and we’re still gale-bound in Poole.

Well, technically-speaking, it’s not a gale – just blowing 25knots and raining sideways like it did all day yesterday.

Am I bothered? I’m loving it!

If you have read the “Old Man’s Story” page, you will know that I always knew this is what I wanted to do – and I am thrilled to report that it is living up to every expectation…

Yesterday, I phoned my 20-year-old son at University and he asked what I was doing. I suppose it was a good question. What have I done for the past six days? I haven’t been ashore…

In fact, the shore is more than a mile away, (unless you count the uninhabited Brownsea Island a hundred yards out of the window). The weather has been so foul that, apart from hoisting the Aquair generator into the rigging to make electricity from all this wind, the only times I have been outside have been to check for chafe on the mooring lines. Then it’s back down below and put kettle on…

Just as the days settle into a routine at sea, so they do in harbour.

And who needs to set an alarm? There’s luxury in waking up when you’ve finished sleeping. I reach out from under the covers and pull the phone in with me. This blog is producing some excitement: 50 views a day and rising…

A good deal of time has been devoted to updating the novel which is currently for sale on Amazon (see above). Now it’s gone off to a London agent. In Jersey, I caught up with my old school friend, the novelist Peter James and discovered just how successful he is (19million books in the Roy Grace series alone).  What the hell I have been doing with my life all this time? Anybody can self-publish on Amazon.

Next, fire off a magazine article and when I’ve finished writing this, I shall dig out the new book, started a month ago and in abeyance because the plot got stuck. Now I stumble on Stephen King asserting on Youtube:  “The plot is the last resort of bad writers”. So that’s all right then…

The days are punctuated by tea and coffee and hours spent reading the Kindle (currently Jojo Moyes, Nevil Schute and Stephen Leather).

Meals from the tins locker are highlights and the evening, an occasion: Curtains drawn at 7.00 p.m. The charcoal stove lit and then out comes a beer and a book (the Pringles ran out the day before yesterday). After that, 45 minutes of Clarinet practice and start cooking just before eight.

At sea, I started a tradition of Dickens with meals and gradually the endless chapters of The Pickwick Papers are slipping by. He’s a lot more fun than when they made me read him at school.

After dinner, when the evening’s musical comes to an end (Gigi and My Fair Lady are favourites), when the washing up is done and the breakfast porridge soaking, another couple of bags of charcoal plop into the stove and it’s time to settle down for “movie night” – don’t you just love Netflix and Amazon Prime? I’ve even got some DVDs in case there’s no mobile signal or the data allowance runs out.

Finally, I can promise you, there is nothing, absolutely nothing, more cosy than snuggling down in a darkened cabin with the wind moaning in the rigging and small waves slapping against the hull while your whole world rocks you to sleep.