10) Hope an anchor, final chapter.

by formerharbours

You‘ve got to pick up every stitch.

So I’m writing this while motoring the North Sea at night. There’s a waning moon and, by its light, which at sea is really weird, I can see a broken thread of spider web clinging to one of the stays on the port side of the boat. My kidneys ache from sitting. I can whistle through the holes between my gums and my teeth.

About 4 nautical miles ahead is a huge windfarm. An electrical storm is building to starboard, and every so often, I catch flashes of lightning in my blind spot. A huge ship just went behind us too fast, and I didnt wake Paul up. Sailing by moonlight is breathtaking.

I couldn’t have written that sentence two months ago.

We all want a redemptive narrative, eh?

I’d be lying if I said the trip back has been easy. We almost run out of diesel at one point, and the thingy (still not quite grasped the lingo), the thingy came out of the mast. It’s a really important thing that, erm, holds up the main sail and it came out when we were taking in another sail at sea. The whole main sail collapsed. By this point in the proceedings, neither me nor Paul hardly flinched. Stuck the thing back in with Epoxy.

But even that hazard had a silver tiding. I didn’t flinch when the sail collapsed but it stressed me out and I was screaming at Paul so much and so loud that day as we tried to moor in Burnmouth harbour – it’s a very quiet harbour and you could hear my swearing echo off the walls – that I think the harbourmaster took pity on us, and we got more tricks off fishermen; this time in the shape of three crabs and a cod, which fed us for a week.

I’d be lying if I said that I thought I was a good sailor. I still can’t steer head to wind, and haven’t even started with putting up the main sail on Hope. I’m too physically weak.
But I did make a spaghetti carbonara, at sea, in a force 5, and even separated the eggs without spilling them. So what you sayin?

And if you’re reading this, it means I didnt drown or top myself, or get thrown overboard by the Captain.
For the first month at sea, I had nightmares literally every night. I used to have alot as a kid and again in my twenties. This bout stopped a week ago after I had a dream I was tidying my dream house – tidying! I was picking up piles of clothes that have been there since I was eight. Literally picking up every stitch. Last night, I had another significant dream – one I’ve been trying to have for the past 15 years. I woke up elated. It seems, this time for me at least, that all those stories about initiation rites are true. Magic works.

This morning, there was a beautiful, weird CGI sea. Paul was cursing the lack of wind. I turned around to hail some cherubs to blow breath into our sails, and look. Up in the sky. Look :


God gave hope an anchor.