This post should have been published on Saturday morning having been meticulously compiled during the course of Friday spent tracking up the Channel. The excellent sailing wind dropped away and we flew the Parasailor while there was sufficient wind to still maintain sufficient pace with the Yarmouth deadline very much in mind. Resorting to the engine, we made the Needles channel just as the tide turned in our favour and with the sun shining on our arrival we motored through the familiar waters and passed Hurst Castle into the Solent. Although there was plenty of room inside Yarmouth harbour, we chose to pick up a buoy outside, fearful that a late arrival rafting up to us might have delayed our early departure on Saturday morning as we woke the occupants and untangled the ‘knitting’. Calling a taxi, we explored the Yarmouth hostelries savouring the best bitters on offer. Disappointingly, both the Wheatsheaf and the Kings Head are under common ownership with similar, uninspiring menus. In desperation, we wandered to the Royal Solent Yacht Club and we found it impressive in its location, ambience and welcome. The Commodore took the time to sit with us and chat and the menu looked very appealing. In fact, the attractiveness of the place was the factor in us eschewing its hospitality as the linen table cloths, napkins and precisely laid formal tables was not really what we were looking for as all our senses craved steak and chips. Moving on, the beers on offer in the Bugle did not inspire so it was back to the Kings Head as we tried to ignore the TV in the background loudly showing the European football and the steak turned out to be surprisingly good.
Returning to Hejira, I was looking forward to a relatively early night when Peter insisted on pouring large glasses of Scotch for him and me but, true to form, I fell asleep after the first sip. Barry has since explained that Peter couldn’t allow such fine scotch to go to waste so he polished mine off as well as I dragged myself off to bed.
My body clock being programmed to wake for my 4am watch – which it still is as it happens, I surfaced to proof read my rather substantial ‘sign off’ blog before despatching it to the ether. Noticing a pair of glasses next to the computer at the nav. station, I tried to open the blog document. Where my pages of retrospect and musings on my year-long adventure should have been, there was a single word ‘admiralty’. No amount of ‘undoing’ and searching could retrieve my ramblings and I had an empty feeling as I prepared for our final passage, carrying the flood tide up to Port Solent. When Peter finally surfaced, he was mortified as he began to recollect the events of the previous night and I almost – but not quite – felt sorry for him as he apologised profusely and repeatedly for deleting the outpourings of my soul.