Forgive me the tardiness in blogging but to be honest? I hit a little bit of a brick wall this week. I have been teaching from Monday to Wednesdays (IT Tutor with the Community Department of the City of Glasgow College - finish up next week, phew!) all the way through the journey so far, hosting commercial charters on weekends (what wild and wonderful clients I have had... could this be called work???) to raise money for the trip, organising and partaking in hearty celebrations at the Glasgow (Olypic Flame) and Dunoon (6th International Burns) parties. Colin & Anne (of Missee barge with whom I sail next week) have given up trying to speak to me as I am inveriably hurtling through whenever they catch a glimpse. A positive blur. How about lunch said Anita and I just laughed maniacally in her face saying YEAH, MEBBE AUGUST! (I have since apologised). Between these I have been martialing ongoing hospital appointments (another good blood result, yay!) and trying to get final trappings sorted on Peccadillo for sea state. (yes yes I know sea state is a windy term but i like it for the sense of boat readiness.)
Peccadillo is in Bowling. Gales prevented us from getting to Dunoon for the party (sadly we had to drive there; fantastic bash Billy, but most of the videos need to be censored... Mario!). (The pipers won the competition on Saturday by the way - hurrah!!!) Weather-wise we then missed a wee window this week between relentless lows (they are coming one after another and look for all the world like a stirng of beads that the gods are dragging carelessly across the pressure chart - problems with the jet stream apparently?) They bring gales and nastiness blasting from the east, and as they ease the wind turns West North West agains the outgoing tide that we need to carry us down (wind against tide = waves and we've had our share of those thanks!)
While I have been teaching on Monday's to Wednesday's the water has been like glass, but as Thursdays come so do the winds. There have been brief windows but there's a danger of, even if we make it to the Holy Loch or one of these other posh marinas, getting stuck there for 10 days... at £40/day. It's a sickening sum though I'm beginning to think I might need to bite the budget and risk it.
A window is opening up at last... we will drop to the bottom of the Bowling sea lock on Saturday night, spend the night in there with the gates open and set off with the 0405 high tide. Unless the predictions deviate ENORMOUSLY before then... and it is, after all, the west coast of Scotland so of course they could...
So, speak to you from Dunoon and beyond (hello to the new Russians and Mexicans following this blog!). There should be an article in the Scotland on Sunday this weekend (more about the wee spark but hope Peter mentions Clyde to Caledonia... bet you anything there will be a picture of RICHIE!) and the radio show of course... though I'm a little embarrassed to say until it's in the bag as so many of you had your ear clamped to the radio at 0630am last Saturday! Sorry!
Finally I'd like to share a piece I put together at the Bank Street Writers poetry group on Wednesday. The exercise was to look for inspiration from a piece of writing and then see where it takes you. This one grabbed me, conjured up images of the Custom House on the canal at Spiers Wharf, and the CC life lesson of having been brought to a complete halt by the elements (my schedule is as nothing in the face of the wind - I am sooooooooo not in control any more!). Yes that's right; they put the custom house on the CANAL because this WAS the hub of imports, not the poor old Clyde and the vagaries of it's shallows. This piece also puts me in mind of those I bring with me on this journey, some passed and some here, but all equally present to me. Ray, Pete, Nick (who has now been ordained and his new name is Mai Tri Siddhe), Daz with whom I have been sharing some existential angst and our Johnno who has hurtled off into the beginnings of his breathtaking cycle round an inordinately large piece of America. And John Cochrane for whom we take a song and a prayer to the Corryvreckan as he begins a journey much more arduous than ours.
La casa deidoginieri - by Eugenio Montale (exerpts)
"The Customs House" - translation by Allam Cameron
Libeccio sferza da aani le vecchie mura
The salted wind whips against the ancient walls
La bussola va impazzita all 'avventura
The compass spins and madness calls
Ed io non so chi va e chi resta
I do not understand who goes and who stays
salted wind on ancient walls
compass spins madness calls
and none of us can know
chi va e chi resta