Friday, September 29, 2017

Separate voyages

We are now home, and so is Kalessin, unfortunately via quite separate routes.

Louis arrived at Brest on Tuesday, sailed on Wednesday evening and got back to SYH, after a phenomenal sail, on Saturday morning. According to my calculations they did 400 nautical miles on 60 hours, give or take (I haven't seen the detailed log) and hit a top speed of more than 11 knots surfing downwind in the Channel. It's good to know that Kalessin can sustain that kind of sailing, and even revel in it. The passage was so quick they had lots of leftover food apparently – Guy was able to meet the crew at SYH and take them out for a drink. And Louis, who spends his entire life doing deliveries on highly assorted yachts and hasn't even been home for five months, reckons the Westerly Storm is up there with the best. Praise indeed.

Meanwhile Sam and I left the boat on Monday for the relatively short drive to Saint-Malo. We had a slight hiccup in that Sam's right leg went into spasm as I was getting him off the boat. This means that he puts the entire muscular strength of his leg, which is still pretty considerable, into not bending his knee. Worse, he doesn't seem to know he is doing it and can't understand instructions to bend the leg. It has only happened once or twice before and I don't know what triggered it this time, but by the time I got him off the boat he had new scrapes on his head and his leg, I was dripping with sweat and we were both exhausted and furious. I will talk to a physio about ways to overcome this if it happens again.

Once again we spent a night in the delights of the Hotel F1, described by Steve as a Gulag, but actually I quite like it. I bought a picnic at the unbelievably huge Carrefour around the corner and combined it with a few leftovers from the boat, so we had mini fruits de mer with real mayonnaise,  bread and cheese, and raspberry tartlets. Tastier, cheaper and a lot less effort than going into Intra-Muros, but perhaps a bit lacking in atmosphere.

The ferry crossing to St Peter Port was fine apart from the fact that we had to disembark, on foot, to get our passports checked in Jersey. A nice Frenchman called William came and pushed the wheelchair and we were first off the boat (down the car ramp) and first back on again, but it did seem a ludicrous waste of time and effort. Every passenger going to Guernsey has to get off and go through the check. Then of course I had to grapple with the delights of driving a large estate car on Guernsey where all the roads are narrow and most have granite walls a foot away on either side. Thank god for the satnav. Sam knew the way, mostly, but kept either forgetting or forgetting to tell me, which didn't help.

Typical beach view
A week at Robin's went remarkably quickly and we were very lucky with the weather, with most days warm enough to sit outside in the sun for several hours. I thought the sunshine might help Sam's cough, but sadly not. He really has been finding it quite debilitating and is slower, less active and much more bad-tempered than usual. However I ran away several times for long walks around the island.
Some of the oysters...

A highlight of Wednesday was a bucketful of oysters provided by Robin's younger son Charles. They were misshapes (all oysters look misshapen to me) but just as delicious. Unfortunately at least one of them disagreed with me severely, although it took until Thursday night, but then I spent a lot of time talking to Hughie on the big white telephone and not much time sleeping. Of course the mere fact that I'm ill doesn't stop Sam needing help, and twice I had to break off from retching to assist him with personal needs. Grrr. Do I sound bitter?

Anyway, apart from the fact that my digestive system is still recovering a week later, all went well, with an excellent Sunday lunch gathering and barbecue in the rain on Sunday. At least we got to spend time with Sam's oldest son Tim who returned to Guernsey after his holiday late on Saturday. And the ferry back via Poole was fine, other than the fact that the A12 was closed and we spent 20 minutes or so wiggling through tiny foggy lanes at 11 o'clock at night. Tomorrow we'll check up on the boat, regroup, and start getting ready for winter.

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