susys running away to sea

"The rigors (sic) of an expeditionary lifestyle"

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Saturday 24 June (later) - What SHALL we do with the drunken sailoresse?

Final night in St Pierre, and we go to La Voilerie, a very smart and very French restaurant along the harbour front, recommended by one of the Customs men – and incidentally run by his sister. I’m in heels and hairdo, diamonds and decent black, and full warpaint – I’m eating out in France.
We turn up at 6.40, to find it still closed beyond its 6.30 opening time. J rattles the door and I press my pauper nose hungrily to the window. Personne. As we turn away, the door is unlocked – the treat is on, after all! Fusion food and amazing combinations of spruce and lamb, shellfish and eglantyne cream, and (someone’s been to Japan), scallops and kelp and miso sauce. That’s my choice, served in a bamboo steamer, with chopsticks. J has onion soup – when in France – with a thick cheese croute semi submerged. Courses are served at a civilized and leisurely pace – lamb and duck follow. And so does the conversation. J tells me about previous female crew members. One is still a friend and 30 years younger than he is. I raise my eyebrows and J turns lightly pink and smug round the edges. Another one lasted less that 24 hours after she complained about his fridge. And “You’ll need another glass of wine,” said J, signalling Madame, the third was a somewhat bigger built lady, “but attractive,” he added, who stayed for an allotted three weeks.
“But didn’t you notice?’ said a friend of J’s later. “She had man’s hands?” No, he hadn’t.
“You didn’t …?” I ask. No, he hadn’t – damn another good story spoilt.
Two glasses of wine, and I’m mellow. Outside, later, after an excellent meal and company – I twirl in the middle of the main road – no traffic – and hope I’ll be able to get back on board. The wooden wharf is slippery with rain and has a dodgy ladder starting a couple of feet below the dock. But I’ve changed my heels for red flower seaboots; the tide is high and J hauls the boat in. This lovely evening is fully rounded off by a) sorting the washing, b) filling the water tanks and c) drunkenly whacking my forehead on the chart table – Jack, concerned about his chart table, knows how to give this girl a good time.
Insomnia, and in my bunk – the foghorn hoots mournfully somewhere across the harbour, the rain hammers on the hatch above my head, and a stray howl of wind clatters in the rigging. I gotta get out of this place …


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