South Coast, England
20th June to 5th July
Route Azores to Exeter
When you return to your home country after a spell away, first impressions count. My impressions of my home country were that it is very affluent, tidy, organised and generally friendly and often beautiful, with a population of industrious efficient good-natured people, huge numbers of whom are constantly on the phone. Such is the nature of generalisations. As ever, I am out of touch with the majority. I know little of northern cities or right wing zealots. I’m privileged to meet mainly sane and moderate sailors.
A few weeks ago I knew one reason for returning to England was to vote in the EU referendum because I knew I’d be cross and sad if the other side won and I’d not had a teeny weeny say in trying to stop it. Deary me, even though I did place a cross to remain, I still find I am cross and sad, very sad, with the outcome. I don’t even take comfort from thinking the Brexit crowds will have to stop whinging about Brussels, or bureaucracy or immigration.They won’t.
I shan’t dwell on the EU business too much as millions of excellent professional writers have filled the column inches (and miles) with their own analyses. It does occur to me though that in voting to leave, the nation has behaved like a cigarette smoker who knows it’s very very silly to smoke and may lead to fatal cancer, and certainly ill health, and yet, despite knowing the consequences has an uncontrolled death wish. He smokes just as he votes; it’s bad for him, but he can’t help it. You can take the analogy quite a long way. Some people don’t seem to believe the ill health that will come about; and there are cases of people who even think smoking is healthy (remember the Marlborough ads?). And don’t forget there are the greedy tobacco companies like Gove Chokers Inc. whose vile vested interests try to tell us that smoking is actually a very good idea if only we’d listen and buy his brand. And then, us older folk, a majority of whom voted to smoke, are tainting the air and good health of the younger generation, a majority of whom voted for fresh air. …but this analogy has gone too far….
It’s all too depressing to contemplate for long. I am of course seriously fortunate in being afloat on a sailing boat. In theory I can distance myself from the nonsensical arena of British politics. But I like Radio 4 and cannot resist reading the newspapers.
However, moving on….as I type this, there’s the beautifully sweet sound of terns squeaking as they dive and fish around my anchorage – off Newtown, IoW. A cool English summer dawn had me up early, revelling in the fresh calm clear morning light. (This is in sharp contrast to the busy throngs that were out and about for the Round the Island Race on Saturday.) From Falmouth, I’d sailed east to the Hamble in the Solent, where I’d booked to attend a radio course. Overnight stops and short day sails, stopping in familiar haunts: Fowey, Dartmouth, Weymouth, Swanage, Lymington and now, off Newtown. It’s been really good to see friends along the way, and enjoy the company of Anna and, now George on board. (I’m back in Lymington to upload this lot.)
It’s just over a year since I bought Henrietta. We’ve sailed over 12,000 miles together, visited 23 countries and 46 islands. There’s now some maintenance needed for both of us. We’re heading back to Devon to get on with it, and delight in that county’s beauty and charm. (Small comfort that Exeter and Totnes – the two places for Henrietta and me – voted in.)
If you’ve followed Henrietta’s little adventure over the past ten months, thank you. Like lots of solitary people, I quite enjoy scribbling away. With few people to talk to, it’s a way of sharing experiences. It’s also a way of venting thoughts that otherwise are liable to fester and go mouldy. Even worse than barnacles on Henrietta’s bottom would be mould in my brain.