Monday, 12 December 2011

Bon Voyage?

You may recall that we dug the house up last week, to sail it to greener pastures.
Well - I am exhausted. I also have a headache and a sore throat.
I think it is all the paddling, in the teeth of a tearing gale.
On the bright side, it seems that we successfully annexed the shed and the hen's paddock before departure,  as they are bobbing along behind. On the down side, no sooner had we 'slipped the surly bonds of earth' than the ever-changeable Atlantic bared its teeth and turned nasty on us.
The wind has been like knives, thrown edgeways at our jugulars, the rain non-stop. At one point, I wondered if all the glass had fallen out of the windows as we slewed down the shingle beach - but no, the glass purports to be in situ, even though it is doing nothing to protect us.

At least the divine duo are happy, as I took the precaution - while my husband completed the digging operation - of packing the woods into the spare bedroom, so that our daily constitutional could continue unabated on the high seas. I find the walk most beneficial, and deem the wind howling through all those trees in the next room at night a small price to pay, (even though it has kept me awake once or twice).

Under-Dog in the woods

As we were pitching in the briny off the headland, I had planned to steer for New York, where I know someone who is a devilishly good cook and who wouldn't mind putting the hen-house on her roof for a week or two. But sadly we were blown off-course almost immediately, and I can only think it was Iceland that eventually loomed up on our starboard bow. Or was it port? And is it a bow, even? I'm not hugely nautical yet. Anyway, it was on the right and it nearly did for us.

Napoleon had gallantly volunteered to man the lookout amongst the chimney pots, (Wellington having informed me that he has more important tasks to perform, although he didn't elucidate,) but unfortunately Napoleon is given to deep and recumbent sleep in the afternoons - a foible that I suppose we must forgive. I did quiz him about it, but he just looked surprised and, with what I can only describe as a Gallic shrug, asked what else was there to do after lunch? I only mention this as we nearly hit Iceland. (If it was Iceland.) I had brought a long stick for repelling boarders and icebergs - exhausting tasks, both - and luckily I had it to hand, and was also peering down the sights of the shotgun at the time, which doubles neatly into a two barrelled affair and also a telescope.

Was it Iceland? I rely on your help in this matter.
There was indeed some ice and a lot of rock, and while the fjords seemed very pretty, I spotted a distinctly dodgy looking volcano and was struck by the rather fishy smell lingering in the air. On closer inspection there appeared to be quite a lot of cake around and some very nice horses, both of which seemed excellent reasons for landing. However, the remains of a very bad crash site - in which I spotted the fallout of what appeared to be no less than three banks - and a distinct rumble from the volcano made me hesitate, and the divine duo clinched the matter when they pointed out how few trees were visible from the shore.

So we're still in mid-Atlantic somewhere between here and there, and listing, I might add, rather heavily to the rear where there is a distinct drag factor. Further investigation has revealed that this is being caused by the spare dog bed bobbing along in our wake.It is tied to the back door by an assortment of leads joined end to end, and rather like Winnie the Pooh's honey jar, is sometimes afloat and sometimes not. Under-Dog, when questioned, immediately pointed the paw at Top-Dog who had the grace to look sheepish and said it was for incoming parcels. Apparently, they have entered into an arrangement whereby Paul the butcher continues to deliver the necessary once a week, without which, they say, their lives are rendered meaningless and devoid of hope and marrow. Top-Dog hastened to add that I was not forgotten in this transaction. My heart glowed momentarily at the thought of cheering hot sausages to fend off the Arctic winds, until he explained that I am just to be in receipt of the bill.

Top-Dog apologised to the Boss

Top-Dog apologised to the Boss for acting without due consultation and was let off with a caution as I have other matters on my mind. As I mentioned earlier, the house is leaking - water is literally pouring through  windows - and the hen's paddock is flooded. We could be growing rice - cold rice, it's true, but rice nonetheless. (Now there's a thought.) Also, I have started knitting rubber boots for the hens. Wellington is very chuffed, and has suggested we call them Wellington boots after him. A novel idea that I feel might catch on. He is obviously not as useless as I thought and clearly not to be wasted on such frivolous things as look-out duty. (I notice that he is also far too busy receiving the adulation of his girls.)

Wellington, well known for his boots

The wind is picking up again, and hail is clattering on the windows, so I shall, with regret, have to abandon New York as a destination. Lashing the roof down in a 95mph NNWer once in a week is quite enough, and I am tired of being seasick, so I shall plot a course due south to -  I know not where. Dinner - even with some fancy French sauce - will have to wait. Balmier weather and calmer waters are beckoning. At the moment, even the doldrums seem enticing.


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