FROM 1-25. Blowing a (super) gale

Oct 22, 2005 - 0530hrs UTC

0530hrs 22 Oct 2005 UTC 39’40”S 014’18”E Ref 470

It has been said – I think – that when a person dies, a library is lost. Underlying a lot of these idle ruminations – with apologies to the goat – is a desire to trawl through the library and perhaps trail some of the odder or more interesting bits before all y’all as a very non-captive audience. Without wishing to be too pretentious and without any expectations, I’d like to leave some of it as the seeds in your minds – to teach, to surprise, perhaps to annoy, maybe disgust and I hope, always to stimulate. I know Pete feels the same way and his journal does it with a lot more humour than I can, as I hope you will all see eventually.

So to receive the sort of feedback we’ve just had from Mark makes the sun shine on the bleakest of days. Like today. Thanks Mark, for taking the time to put it all down and I’m beyond belief delighted that you actually went looking for Kathleen Ferrier and, having found the record, were moved by it in the same way as I have always been. And to all of you who have hung in there for the journey, thanks as well – it is just possible that you are, by not voting with your feet (fingers?), telling us that some part of the message works for you. Or, perhaps, it’s just morbid curiosity. But you’re out there and I’m moved to write – it’s the immediacy of the experience that grabs me – an idle thought transcribed and on its way so easily – something I just can’t do in longhand. Well, easily except for the exigencies of the bloody USB thingy. I get about three crashes for ever five connects. Tedious.

This is very difficult to write. Berri is rising and falling about 20 feet over each ordinary wave and much more over the bigger ones, with the underlying swell making the whole world gyrate and tilt and roll and slew and crash. I am sort of wedged at the nav table, knees locked underneath, but my backside describes a semicircle around the seat with my knees as the pivot and my shoulders often trying to go the opposite way. My wrists are – as much as possible, the reference points, held tightly so the flesh welts against the fiddle on the nav table with fingers sometimes within range of the keys. In a fairground, you’d pay for this and probably hate it. What can I say?

Before I climbed up here, I spent a contemplative hour, midst the howl and crash and niagara noises, real green water rushing past the windows and the storm jib’s quivering, sitting on the cabin floor, back to nav table, feet braced across the boat against the locker under the sink. I had a mug of coffee and went carefully through the dunking ritual (it’s been a four biscuit morning) and, perhaps for the first time, wished I wasn’t here. There’s going to be a lot more of this in the next two months and I’m getting a bit weary, I think. But the old farts will persist, persevere, push on and overcome. Dr Cooper will soothe the savage breast in due course. Sir Malcolm Sargent thought it was music that did that and said so one year at the Proms. He didn’t know the half of it!

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