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  • Writer's pictureMark

The joy of humans!

The day after I wrote the last blog we had a visitor. We didn’t actually speak to them but the Border Force appeared from behind a big jetty and did a lap around Altor, clearly checking us out. This story to you, like Altor is to them, is old news and we have become used to it too. What actually happened was that the Harbour Master came out to us and asked us the usual questions, almost apologetically. He said he had been asked to come and check what we were up to which is of course fair enough. He was a very nice guy who nodded in an ‘I thought so’ kind of way when we explained that we were live aboard cruisers etc, etc. The Border Force guys then got together with the Harbour Master presumably to verify the Harbour Master’s findings and then we were left alone. I always tell myself not to feel unduly threatened by authority but I still find that easier said than done. The Border Force vessels are grey, they look menacing and I am wary of anyone who aspires to wear a uniform and get paid to tell people what to do.

When we went ashore, two locals on the quay said ‘So, you came in last night then’ and then we saw someone else from the harbour office who asked us what our plans were in Falmouth. Any ideas of sneaking around would be totally impossible to achieve so I am happy that we had previously decided to broadcast our AIS signal for all to see. As I have said before, I don’t really like authority but I will do whatever I must do in order to stay within the law and the fact is that we are doing that although I believe we are slightly closer to the edge than the ‘powers that be’ would like. However, let’s not forget that we all have the right to choose whatever we want to do. That is our human right and if our choices are slightly outside the ever narrowing lines of what the authorities want, we can expect a few shots across the bows. Once again, law breakers we are not but we are also not inclined to roll over and have our belly’s tickled at the mere hint of a suggestion of what we ‘should’ be doing. What we ‘should’ be doing and what we are prevented by law from doing are two totally different things. One is advice that we can choose to take or not without fear of consequence and the other is not. What I want to ensure is that we continue to exercise our right of free movement whilst remaining within the constraints of law. I do not mean for this to appear as if I am referring to Coronavirus, or any other farce for that matter, I mean all the time. No matter what. I once saw a fishing boat with the following phrase written on the side of the wheelhouse.

“Illegitimi non carborundum” which means "Don’t let the bastards grind you down".

Unfortunately I feel like this is exactly what is happening to a lot of people. The authorities take away almost all freedom without any particularly clear, logical, consistent or even believable reasoning and then weeks later we get told by the top man that we can have a modicum of freedom back but if we don’t behave then it will all be whipped out from under us again instantaneously! It appears that to many people, that tiny bit of freedom being dished out has gone a fair way to make up for all the freedom previously lost and from what I can tell, the general feeling is that of gratitude when to me all that has happened is that we have gone 9 steps back and one forward. I for one am not happy about this especially as there now seems to be a suggestion that ‘track and trace’ is a good thing for us all! It’s not and marks the start of the end of the freedom that our forefathers fought so hard to get for us, if we allow it.

In case anyone is thinking ‘Well, its ok for you, try being on land and locked down’. Yes, I totally agree. It is so much easier for us but hopefully this may demonstrate to you that my feelings are not entirely selfish. It has been ok for us, much more than ok in fact, but if we give things away bit by bit, soon we will find ourselves a long way away from where we started. If we are not careful we will wake up one day feeling crippled because the ‘death by a thousand cuts’ technique that has been used has left us with all but the minutest amount of free will and choice making ability bled out of us. It’s the same analogy as the frog in a saucepan of water. He doesn’t notice the slow but steady temperature changes until it’s too late and he has been boiled alive.

It is obvious from what I’ve said here that my view of this entire situation has been stewed with that self preservation ingredient called cynicism. Cynicism is bitter and hard to swallow but unlike sugar it doesn’t turn into crippling fat or have long term consequences if you ingest too much. It keeps you sharp and full of questions.

I will tickle my own belly and all I want is for consideration to be given to the other side of the story. What other side? Exactly! We don’t get that anymore. We are simply told how it is and unfortunately we seem to fall in line so readily. Where are the questions? Where are the devil’s advocates? Why do most people assume that what is shown on TV is definitely the truth? Is it because it is indeed a ‘program’? A program to take control of us and render us submissive fluffy doggies waving our tummies and balls to the sky for a good tickling that feels sweet like sugar? Short term gain only there I’m afraid especially when you relax, lay back and someone takes your balls off! Give me spoonfuls of cynicism any day and above all Illegitimi non carborundum!

Instead of writing about the beauty that surrounds Altor as I type, I am going to rely on the saying ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’ and let the photos at the end of this blog do the talking. What I’d like to do instead is to talk about some people we have met over the last few days.

Harbourmasters in Falmouth - I only know one by name and he is Barny. Absolutely bloody lovely. Couldn’t be more helpful, professional or pleasant. What a pleasure.

Harbourmaster in Truro - Not a nicer man could you ask to meet. Helpful, friendly, welcoming and appreciative of the fact that we actually went to the office to pay some dues!

We randomly met a guy who lives on his boat in Truro when we went on a dinghy mission to get some supplies. He was moored on a pontoon near the Harbourmaster’s office and we got chatting. He saw our jerry cans and asked where we were going to get our fuel. I told him we were going to get forty litres by foot from the Shell garage a few hundred metres away. ‘Don’t do that’, he said. ‘It will cost you a fortune’. When I told him that I didn’t have a choice he said ‘Yes you do. Assuming you have a driving license you can take my car and go to Sainsbury’s’.

Yep, that’s right! A total stranger I met five minutes before gave me his car keys and off I went to Sainsbury’s a couple of miles away. A complete and utter gent with no selfish motivations - simply a good kind man.

We needed some gas and there was a calor distributor nearby. I called them and asked if we could come and buy some but they explained that they were’t actually open and are really only doing deliveries but if I paid over the phone they would leave two full bottles outside their gate and I could simply take the full ones and leave my empties behind. No ifs, buts, errs or problems. Just a great example of ‘We will help you. We will find solutions, not problems’!

Then we went to Tesco and had to fall into the strict 2 metre rule. I don’t believe in this but I don’t have any problem with other people choosing to believe that this measure will save their life. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, for now at least!

The mood in the store was a little too sombre for my liking but the lady at the checkout was a breath of fresh air, or at least I hope she was 😳, because when I asked her why she wasn’t’ wrapped in a scarf or wearing a mask she simply said ‘I was told I could wear a mask and I was offered one but I can’t have a yap with the customers then can I’!

Finally, we met a couple by the name of Fiona and Iain on the Truro River. They are live aboard cruisers who have a mightily impressive sailing CV and a lovely boat. We chatted a lot whilst maintaining distancing etiquette and in fact, we spoke more to them than we have to any other humans since leaving Essex. Lovely, lovely people and a pleasure to meet. We hope to meet them again around another headland in the future.

What’s the moral of this story then? Well, while chanting the mantra ‘Illegitimi non carborundum’ we’ve got to remember that out there, amongst all the scaremongering, doom and lockdown gloom there are plenty of perfectly lovely individuals who are treating people as they would like to be treated, wandering through life with a smile, a friendly hand and remembering that life is an experience to be savoured. We all need to grow wiser, stand on our own two feet and take what big brother says with a big pinch of salt, just take care not to have more than 6 grams a day, in accordance with government guidelines….

Please do not let the bastards grind you down and don’t give up your freedom without question or a word of protest, let alone a fight!

Going up the Fal River

and into the Truro River - beautiful

'The King Harry Ferry'. Ok, he was never going to be King but maybe he is destined to drive a ferry now he has cast himself aside. Meghan can collect tickets.

I'm sure this person was thrilled to get his lovely boat out on the water again

Just to make a change we gave the anchor a rest and tied up to this pontoon for a few nights

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