To be away from the home river feels great. It is always tough to sever the ties of home and that is simply a consequence of reconnecting with family and friends and having to leave them behind again. That and the east coast rivers that I will miss the very second they are in our wake!
We had a lovely week in the River Orwell. We didn’t film anything because I didn’t see any point in creating another youtube episode covering what we covered in Episode 17 of Season 1. This also came with the bonus of not having to constantly think about the camera and what may or may not be worth capturing.
We left the River Orwell, as Asha explained in her recent blog, in fog. That made for a tricky and nerve wracking entrance into the Deben but the good advice provided by John, who looks after the navigation side of entry to the river, enabled things to go smoothly and once we were within a stones throw from the land, the fog cleared and we were swept in.
I love the Deben. There is nothing not to love. This time, and for the first time ever, we haven't been able to go into the Tidemill Yacht Harbour. The depth over the cill at the marina was not sufficient for Altor's draft because of neap tides. Instead of being disappointing, this means that we have seen other parts of the river and called those other parts home by dropping anchor for a few days here and there. Woodbridge became a dinghy destination rather than a boat destination and was as charming as ever. What a lovely town.
The whole point this year is to get to Iceland and I really don’t want to set off north in anything other than an ideal wind direction. For that, we have to be patient. As often happens at this time of year the prevailing southwesterly wind direction loses its focus, wanders off to have a fag behind the bike sheds, or lots of fags, and lets the north and east wind have a blow. I don’t begrudge anyone or anything a good old blow so as the song goes ‘Let it blow, let it blow, let it blow’. Hang on. Maybe it’s ‘Let it snow’ but anyway, it doesn’t matter because it's currently blowing from either the east or the north so we aren’t going anywhere. I can be impatient but not this time. We are facing a journey up the east coast without many places that we desire to visit so we’ve only got to be patient, wait for the wind to blow out of anywhere from the west to southeast and we can start to take a couple of meaningful chunks out of the migration north. Talking of migration, I’m no nature buff but don’t paths of migration go to where the weather is favourable? I’m not sure if this is the case or not but in any event, the weather has already confused me. We’ve had our cockpit enclosure for just over a month now and it hasn’t been tested by anything more than a light speckle of rain on two occasions. Where were all the April showers? What does this mean? Maybe eff all but maybe it means the weather is going to be messed up down here this year and we will, in fact, be sailing into summer by going north. Wouldn’t that be something? Call me overly optimistic, call be unrealistic or call me anything you like. I've probably heard it all before and if I haven’t, I like to learn! Whatever the weather, you must weather the weather, whether you like it or not! It will be what it will be and it will be what it will be when it will be and until then, we will enjoy this beautiful period of ‘On your marks, get ready…..’ until we can go.
One last point is that we have been conducting what I think is a pretty comprehensive Deben river tour. Key milestones of the tour, by sheer coincidence, happen to be marked by pubs. My favourite on the Deben is the Maybush at Waldringfield. There is nothing not to like about this pub. It is in a beautiful little village overlooking the river and I can sit there looking at at Altor, drinking a pint while getting excited about relaunching the dinghy and getting back aboard again. Oh yes, I really am that sad!
The only problem with this perfect theory is that, in practice, we had two failed attempts to get a beer in the Maybush. The first time we were shown to a lovely grassy area and told that someone would be over to take our drinks order. It was really busy and we didn’t see anyone for twenty minutes so we left. That evening we tried again and this time, we were shown to a table and sure enough, a lovely waitress came along to take our drinks order. However, fifteen minutes later, the sun had gone down, it was freezing cold and we didn’t have any beer so we left, again, empty handed. The good news is that even without beer, I was still excited to get back onboard Altor so it wasn’t a complete failure other than one issue. What service does a pub provide if it can’t provide alcohol? Ok, I know - dry sales too but if you are an old school fool like me you will bang on about the days when pubs were pubs. I don’t have a problem with them being family food halls these days but I do have a problem when they are family food halls without beer for the wet sales punter who wants to sit with his bird, have a beer and fantasise about climbing on his other bird moored on the river.
That night I wrote a strongly worded email to the pub. Actually I didn't. Strongly worded is only ever my last approach. Instead I wrote a lovely email saying that I had been twice thwarted in my attempts to get a beer at the beautiful Maybush pub. I asked them to take my email as a ‘plea’ to get back up to speed now that they had reopened. I didn’t get a reply but that didn’t matter because the next day, on the third attempt, I sat in the late afternoon sun drinking a pint of Ghost Ship with her indoors, looking at her outdoors and everything was right with the world!
Martlesham Creek off the River Deben
The beach at Waldringfield