Coming into Dieppe off the rolling sea. The sounds of retching, a few sick bags full and over flowing. Quieter waters for a while.
The French pilot all gung-ho, jumping on board. And then Dieppe, people waving. The captain and his crew all focused on the navigation – us rowdy lot waving and shouting out whatever school French we remembered.
In we go to the point where we will dock. First the old town, red umbrellas covering pavement cafes. Us rowdy lot all excited about French coffee, pan au chocolate and, ooooh yes, dinner out. We’ve all been starved of proper French cuisine since Brexit, covid, high energy bills and goodness knows what else.
Super organised Diana is already looking up restaurants and booking tables. There is talk of swimming and visiting Canadian memorials. But first, further into port we go. Into the secure area – we don’t want any one jumping on board.
Finally, at the dock and our Bosun, Fi, getting the ropes ready. Eager volunteers in life jackets and climbing harnesses ready to help. There is a buzz, an excitement. Finally, we are docked and secure. Most of us change clothes and the eager beavers set of to the beach. The sea rolling and blowing – strong enough to lift the rocks. The life guards say, “It’s up to you” Several swim and rave about it. Others are glad to be warm and imagining the delicious gastronomic delights ahead.
Into the restaurant we all troupe, in wheelchairs and crutches – the doors not wide enough so we go through the back way.
Oh, but then the moules, the fat pink prawns, the softly cooked fish, the combination of cheese and wine and French herbs dancing on our palettes. The joy of being out and celebrating our voyage so far with our new-found friends. More wine please and yes why not have a cognac to follow.
Harbour watch for some. Reading all those numbers for the log and walking around the eerily quiet ship. Everyone fast asleep, dreaming of adventures to tell the folks back home.
Up and out so soon. Breakfast in a hurry and the ropes all ready. People waving again. Us rowdy lot waving and shouting – Merci and au-reviour
And then the thrill of the pilot boat chasing us in choppy waters. What skill they have positioning the boat right up to Tenacious so the pilot can jump on board like a circus acrobat.
And then calmer waters, a night in anchor just in the Thames. And now … motoring down the Thames, past the rusty world war lookouts, past the large container ships, the docks, the windmills, and on comes the pilot
OOOH! there is nothing like messing about in boats ……