susys running away to sea

"The rigors (sic) of an expeditionary lifestyle"

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

On the road again ...

The omens, if you know where to look, were not good. Fog had descended amost all over the country, closing airports, delaying trains, and forcing all travellers on to the now-crowded roads. So it was slowly and painfully the traffic crawled along the motorways. That was the first sign - I should have stopped before I'd even begun. Or turned back at the first fog-induced accident and associated diversion s through dark-shrouded villages.

The fog and the traffic had thinned, though, by the time I was able to speed past Plymouht, but by now it was night and rain had started to fall. Over the Tamar bridge, and I could just see the lights of Saltash way below me. And then I was in Cornwall.

The plan was to meet up with a sailing boat, putting into Falmouth on her way to Antigua. I'd rung the skipper the night before - a last-minute, spur-of-the-moment, Christmas-skipping decision to cross the Atlantic under sail - probably the last and longest sea trip I'd ever take, or want to take. The dog had een hurriedly taken in by kind friends, anti-burglar lights left on, curtains half-drawn. I'd be away for a month.

As the car, used to the flat plains of East Anglia, ground and groaned its way up and down and round the contorted landscape of Cornwall, I recognised towns from long ago family holidays. Dozy, cosy, sometimes comical, Devon names had given way to the bleaker granite Cornish names. This is a place that, in its centuries of isolation, is part, yet not part, of the mainland...

The night was now totally black - no moon, no streetlights, few car headlights to show the way. And as ever, master navigator that I am, no map. The last one had disintegrated on the back seat beneath the scrabbling claws of my dog, and had never been replaced. But I knew where Falmouth was, and expected to see it signposted. By Bodmin, still no mention, but I knew it was about an hour's drive from Plymouth...


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