Day 97 – Homeward Bound

Day 97 – 22nd October 2010

9.30am – 1.30pm

Bangor, Northern Ireland – Castlefin Co. Donegal

We were off again, totally rested and ready to continue the trip.  It was weird being so close to home and not even bothering to step ashore.  About 40 minutes into the day, John went below to turn on the chart program.  I could hear him effing and blinding.

“What’s wrong now?” I asked feeling exasperated.

“The computer won’t turn on!”

“Is everything connected?” I called down as I was at the helm.

Next, I went down and tried.  Sure enough, it was doing nothing.  This was an emergency, we had a chartlet of Bangor in Reeds Almanac so we steered for Bangor to get the computer examined or replaced.  I was feeling quite excited.  I had the Friday feeling.  There was a possibility I could go home for a visit!

I called the marina on the new VHF, but I couldn’t hear them so I called on the mobile.  They could hear me on the VHF, so at least we knew it worked partially. We were offered assistance from the berthing master to tie up and given a berth with easy access at our request.  Tommy was the berthing master’s name and he was more than helpful.  Firstly helping us to manoeuvre into the berth then getting us the number of the PC fixer. The marina services were pure luxury. There were the usual showers and there was a bath!  The laundry room had massive commercial machines and it was all warm and comfy.

John was convinced Fridays were unlucky for stating journeys.

I grabbed something to eat, stuffed my dirty clothes into a bag, grabbed clean knickers, my wash bag and went straight to the marina office where Tommy gave me the train timetables to Derry City.

I had about 30 minutes to get to the train station to catch the 16.10 to Derry, so I passed on the shower. It had been 8 days since my last shower. I would wash at mums.

I skipped up the road and sent an SMS to mum –

Put an extra spud in the pot, I’ll see you at 7pm! X.

I hopped on the train feeling like an excited child and called my friends on the phone.  I was trying to arrange a lunch for the next day.

John phoned to tell me the good news and the bad!  The good news was that the
C-Maps program could be rescued, the bad was that he needed a new laptop.

I was on leave till Sunday!

I journeyed on the train to Belfast, changing for Derry, finally being collected by my daughter Jade and grandson at the station.  It was just great to see them!  Jade looked lovely, even wearing her work uniform, and Callum had grown quite tall and even pretended to know me. I couldn’t wait to get home to see mum and the rest of the family.

At mum’s cottage, there were so many cars parked, it was so exciting.  I jumped out and ran to the door.  I opened the latch and the top half of the half door opened.  I almost broke the sliding bolt in my eagerness to get inside.  There were so many hugs and smiling faces, I was beaming with joy. Mum had a big sirloin steak ready for me, and I tucked straight in, answering questions between mouthfuls.

I ate and I talked, thanking everyone for their compliments.  My sister in law said the funniest thing of all.  “You smell like The Ulster American Folk Park!”  I think it was the smokiness of the stove on the boat, or perhaps the fact I was on an old American boat!  Whatever it was, I still laughed.

The crowds diminished till it was just mum, dad and me.  I went to bed feeling great.

Menu today

Breakfast – Porridge with dates, apple and raisins and toast

Lunch – Pain au chocolat, brandy and a café latte

Dinner – Steak, potatoes and peas, fruit juice and wine

Snacks –

Meraid Griffin

Freelance writer, adventurer and public speaker. Descibed in the Sunday Times as a 'modest explorer'. Nothing modest about me.

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