After our  ‘overnight’ passage from Porto, our 9am arrival at the Marina in Cascais was very timely as the office had just opened but the ‘check’ in procedure at the swanky reception seemed to take forever for what was the most expensive mooring so far – how much longer will it take after Brexit….? The early nature of our arrival did not deter us from our traditional ‘dirty beer’ before abluting and changing and 3 of us indulged just as the nearest bar opened its doors and obligingly produced garlic prawns and chips which certainly ‘hit the spot’. While Ollie helped me with jobs, Stephen went off to explore and Peter spent 4 ½ hours watching our smalls go round and round in the laundrette.

A few days ago, I discovered that the battery charger had been turned off and I casually threw out a few accusations but, no, this morning, it was off again so it seems to be spontaneously tripping so I have had to apologise all round and I will need to keep an eye on it!

The weather finally looks as though it is improving and we wake to blue skies and the prospect of a good overnight sail and ‘turning the corner’ to the Algarve and Lagos.

Stephen writes:

Good Morning All, when Nick and Peter spent so long in the marina office Ollie and I  speculated on whether they were undergoing a full body search but when they returned their gait did not have  a touch of the `John Wayne’ so all was well.

Cascais is a lovely town with an interesting history which includes an earthquake and tsunami in 1755 which destroyed it at the time but subsequently it became Portugal’s equivalent of Brighton with the royal family building their summer palace here. I can see why they did that and would recommend a visit here if you fly into Lisbon. The boat remains in harmony due in no small part to Peter and Ollie’s cooking skills. Currently Peter is preparing the `full English’ breakfast after I discovered some `black pudding’ in a local Mini-market.

Full English

Since Ollie has started the tradition of the on board limerick I thought it was worth a try although it’s content is just a mild exaggeration (well I would say that if I valued the skin on my back!) Anyway here goes:

We have a tough skipper called Nick

Who keeps us in line with a stick

The crew all look scared

When his temper has flared

Cos we know we`re all in for a kick.


Ollie writes:

Some of you dear readers may think that Stephen’s limerick is a little harsh. Surely Nick can’t be that difficult a captain? He can’t be so difficult to please that it warrants a limerick?

Well, let me tell you: about 14 seconds ago he said:

“Peter, why don’t you leave that to someone who can actually do it.”

Peter has over half a century’s sailing experience…and the task in question was coiling a rope.

You’ve heard of the phrase, ‘There’s more than one way to skin a cat’. Well, not on Hejira there bloody well isn’t.

In fact, let’s look at Stephen’s limerick in a little more detail…

‘Who keeps us in line with a stick.’ The ‘stick’ may be poetic license in its literal sense. But let’s not forget that to ‘get the stick’ can also mean to be the target of opprobrium, and there’s plenty of danger of that aboard. In fact, if we can stretch the meaning of ‘stick’ to include ‘remorseless piss-taking’ – then Stephen’s line is bang on.

If you’ve read this blog recently, you’ll be aware that Stephen hasn’t covered himself in glory in the fishing department. But like the titular line of his favourite country and western song: “It ain’t his fault”. We’ve simply been travelling too fast for Stephen to catch anything. But that hasn’t stopped the skipper from taking the piss at almost every opportunity. And like a couple of toadies, Peter and I have joined in, on occasion.

We only do so out of fear, you see. Stephen’s limerick says ‘…we’re scared’ – and we are. We’re scared that Nick may point both his barrels of ridicule in our direction. And unlike the square-jawed, stoical Stephen, we don’t have the emotional resilience to deal with it.

In short, this crew lives in fear. And like the writers and poets of Tsarist Russia, Stephen is using his literary talent to sow the seeds of dissent against an oppressive and brutalist autocracy.

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