FROM 1-22. Still heading south south east

Oct 02, 2005 - 2200hrs UTC │Violent Tea Drinking

2200hrs 02 Oct 2005 UTC 25’31”S 025’13”W Ref 408

If you happen to be very very unlucky, sitting in your bus shelter on the Fox studio lot with your clackerboard and your nice mug of tea – very very unlucky – the Vogon constructor fleet will arrive and decide to chuck you about a bit. Drench you with their foul smelling bilge water. Scratch and grunt a lot and give you the full benefit of Vogon armpit though the atmosphere control vents. You, of course, will keep your cool, brace for the worst, hold your nose for as long as possible and continue sipping your tea.

You will have developed the technique over several unlucky episodes and it goes like this – first, of course, make the tea – tricky if you haven’t got past this bit before they arrive – and then sit with your toes curled around the edge of the opposite bench, heels firmly wedged underneath, non-tea hand gripping the nearest upright and shoulders wedged under the frame. It’s black darkness – so black that you can feel it.

Next bit all done by feel. Tea hand holding mug in float mode – arm half extended but kind of hanging loose, every sense twitching for the feel of the next bit of violence, arm and hand in continuous fluid motion trying to keep the surface of the tea horizontal. Now for the really tricky bit – getting the tea into the face calls for truly advanced technique – move mug towards face, senses now in overdrive, blow across top of – hopefully – horizontal tea and extend puckered lips towards rim of still moving mug.

If you get the coordination right, tea, mug, arm, lips and bus shelter will all freeze for a nanosecond while tea is transferred across the gap. Mostly, you will get it wrong and at best, mug will depart from face at warp speed leaving nothing behind. Then there are grades of disaster starting with half mug of scalding tea in mouth and over face requiring instant ejection to prevent serious burn. If mug, meanwhile, has moved – fluidly – away, then there’s nothing to eject into and clean up will be necessary once Vogon armpit and other nasties have been neutralised.

I expect you are getting the picture. No doubt you are sitting at your computers with nice square bottomed mug of tea in Newtonian conjunction with desk – well, it ain’t always so. I’ve just come in from the cockpit having managed to get about a quarter of my tea actually into my face. And there are 67 more days of this? What are we doing here?

I think that we will be in this stuff for another week or so and then it could quite possibly get worse. The fronts down south look very intense – the grib puts the average wind speed in the current one at 45 kts – so 60 – 80 knot gusts. I hope we will be able to stay north of that lot but I’m not sure how it will work out. I’m hoping we will start getting some definite westerly airflow from about 30 S but we might have to go much further. Cross your fingers and toes, all y’all – this is where we start to earn our keep. Should get a bit easier once we can turn downwind, but that may not happen almost to Cape Town.

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