Thursday, 4 August 2011
Summer Cruise, Part 5. The most important meal of the day
The sea, combed flat by the offshore wind, looked dark and cold. A double reefed main and mizzen day for sure, but even that would probably be too much for the gusts. I’d have to be on the water to know. I would have pushed out straight away were it not for one precaution. I hadn’t had any breakfast.
I wasn’t hungry but on a day like today breakfast might be the only meal I got. I’d leave food till last though, hoping that all the boat jobs would wake my appetite. By the time the main was reefed and furled and the mizzen shortened and set, I had a yawning cavern inside.
Setting up the stove I saw that a tractor was thundering up the beach towards me. He didn’t look like he was going to turn. ‘Oh come on...’ I thought, putting down the frying pan and standing up, ‘Don’t do this to me.’ The tractor swerved round OB’s bow, a large metal rake slewing behind. If the driver had taken one look in my direction he’d have noticed my disgruntled expression. He set off on another lap and I went back to my eggs.
5 minutes later he was hammering my way again, aiming dead amidships. I switched off the stove, flipped the eggs onto a piece of bread and stood up. The tractor swerved and stopped. The driver was red faced, ‘Get out of the way! Can’t you see I’m trying to clean the beach! Jesus! Let a man work!’
Dumbfounded I watched him roar off. Was I being forced to sea, by the cleaner? I wolfed some sandwich, watching the tractor burn down the back straight. He entered the turn and came round, hugging the bend, then, bows pointing my way, the driver’s foot hit the floor.
My gullet was rammed with eggs but I wasn’t going to play chicken with this maniac. I stuffed the rest of the sandwich between my teeth and a fender under OB’s bow. Then I took hold of the stern and, like a frightened penguin with an overloaded wheelbarrow, waddled to the water.