So just to bring you up to speed….we’re now back on Enceladus in preparation for the 50th Anniversary BCN Challenge. We’re moored at Pelsall, having achieved a mammoth positioning cruise of half a mile yesterday. So far, so normal. We’re down at the nose a bit, though unsure whether this is due to the weight of beer or cake. But otherwise, we’re good to go. She thought.
As it looks like I’ll be at the tiller for a good 24 hours straight over the weekend, don’t ask me when I’ll be doing bulletin #2, just be grateful I’m doing this one. At one point yesterday it looked like I wouldn’t be at the tiller at all because the first mate got all vigorous with the Brasso, removed the tiller pin, and promptly swooshed the tiller arm with a resounding ploppity splash into the cut. I wasn’t present at the time, probably a good thing as we need to preserve not diminish crew numbers at this stage of proceedings. Instead, I was at the station mid car-shuffle when I received a call with this plaintive little voice at the other end saying he’d done a terrible thing. My mind did somersaults…surely he hadn’t eaten all the cake?
When he explained, I was very good and remained calm, issuing some instructions for retrieval. He’d seen where it had gone in, how hard could it be? Well, if you’ve ever tried to find anything lost in the cut that’s gone in with that definitive ‘it went in there, just there, I saw it, there, no, there!’ location service, you’ll know that his desultory poking about with the long shaft proved fruitless. So fruitless apparently that his pitiful wails and distressed demeanour attracted the attention of a family having a barbecue on Pelsall Common who invited him to join them – the kindness of strangers eh? Andy promptly consoled himself with a burger, a hotdog, a kebab and a can of Carlsberg, while I contended with the hottest day of the year schlepping through Birmingham and Walsall. I had had no answers to my querying ‘Any luck?’ texts (no wonder, he was scoffing his face) and my hope that he just wanted to surprise me and that I would see a nice shiny tiller back in its rightful place sustained me right up to about twenty feet from the boat where I saw the naked truth.
I’d had time enough on the trains to think about a Plan B but Plan A was an awful lot less aggro. A quick poke just further confirmed the pointlessness of poking so I removed certain items of clothing before slipping in between the boat and the bank. Thank heaven this had not happened at the bottom of Ryder’s, that putrid chemical gunk fest; indeed this almost had a river like quality to it and after the stinking hot day was rather pleasant! While standing on one trainer-ed foot, I removed the other shoe so I could prospect with my toes and, bingo, I found it, hoiked it up and saved the day. I made him polish the bloody thing though.
This does bode well for the weekend ahead.