Tuesday, 11 August 2009


And it started so well!
Decided to park the car this side of the river & catch the passenger ferry over to Dartmouth so we parked in Kingswear marina & headed for the ferry ..... along with 300 other people who had just got off the steam train! The queue was horrendous but, thanks to local knowledge we headed for the car ferry & managed to get on quite quickly.



However. this meant a much longer walk to the pontoon and my little legs could hardly keep up with Mike & Rob & I soon started to fall behind. I'll catch you up I shouted as they disappeared into the distance totally unaware that I wasn't there.
I then remembered we needed food so called into the local supermarket which seemed a good idea but, I had forgotten I had a backpack on, & I spent the next 5 minutes apologising to staff & customers alike who foolishly got in my way.
I left the supermarket with 2 carrier bags & the backpack which slowed me down even more &, by the time I reached the pontoon Rob was picking Mike up in the dinghy.
You can come & pick me up in the boat I shouted -I'm not getting in the dinghy. So I waited (impatiently) whilst they took the covers off, tied up the dinghy, checked the engine, etc etc & I spent my time chatting up a handsome young yachtsman who was cleaning his boat.Just as we were becoming buddies the boat pulled alongside without mishap & I clambered aboard & we set off for the sea.
It was lovely, not as hot as the week before & a pleasant breeze kept us cool. We carefully watched our speed as the river patrol were right behind us probably with the name of our boat on the top of their list of "idiots".

Then we reached the open sea & Mike opened up the engines to full throttle.As it was as calm as a mill pond we skimmed across the water at a great rate of knots; Rob & Mike were fine sitting up front behind the screen but I was frozen sat in the back catching the spray & hurriedly found a damp towel to wrap round me. This is "quite" nice - I thought, if only I had brought my fleece with me.
After 10 minutes or so Mike handed over to Rob and came & sat beside me to "enjoy" the ride. "we'll go into Brixham shall we " he said "it won't take us long at this rate". Yes, they were the famous last words as the next thing he said -or rather screamed was " Rob, throttle back it's over heating". He lifted the seat above the engine & clouds of smoke billowed forth. The air was full of blue smoke & blue expletives and I disappeared into the cabin.
Mike, being the engineer put his head down in the engine compartment to see what was wrong. Several burns later he pulled out a sheared fan belt & waved it in the air - Oh S**T, F*****G HELL, hope there's a spare on board he yelled. Of course there wasn't & they spent the next hour or so trying to make one out of rope & various bungee ties we had on board. All this time we were drifting closer to some rocks & my IBS was beginning to grumble. By the way -  DID I TELL YOU WE STILL HAD NOT DISCOVERED HOW TO WORK THE TOILET?

JEAN!!! start waving at any boat nearby - we are going to be in big trouble in a minute says Mike. Rob, being Rob remained calm & said "welcome to the world of boating Mike" & carried on trying to make a substitute belt.Then the wind started to get up & the sky began to darken and no one took any notice at my frantic waving! I started to feel sick as the boat was rolling from side to side & I suddenly realized why most people wore life jackets when at sea. Not us, needless to say - we can all swim!
Eventually a little motor boat came alongside - too small to tow us but they went to a cruiser moored in a cove who agreed to help us. Don't think they were too pleased as they had been sunbathing wearing only a smile.
T'was a magnificent boat very clean & pristine & very, very expensive. Obviously the owner's pride & joy but, not practised in towing, he got out his book of rules and we were secured to his boat & headed back to Dartmouth. At the mouth of the river he pulled us along side after making sure that his fenders were strategically placed so that his shiny hull wouldn't be damaged & we headed into the river in tandem. Not the most comfortable of rides but, we could see houses & boats & people & were very relieved.It started to rain but we didn't care - we were back safe & sound & managed to tie up without a problem.
Needless to say we didn't have any money on us so I asked our rescuers for their name & address so that I could send them a cheque but they wouldn't hear of it. So, thank you Nicky & Andy, we will catch up with you in Brixham soon and show our appreciation.
I've nearly finished, but there was still the problem of me getting back to dry land without getting into the rubber dinghy. Boats were moored on our pontoon full of kids fishing for crabs; I'll hitch a lift with them I thought having overcome any shyness when my dignity was at stake."Are you going to Dartmouth " I asked with a big smile. No, we're going back up river, ta ta & off they went!

So it came to pass that eventually, I had to get in the dreaded dinghy! Knees shaking, IBS really, really bad, I sat on the side of the pontoon. Put your legs in & sit on the back says Rob. Legs in - not too difficult, lean forward & plonk, sat on the side. No way I could move so we teetered across the river, with the tide coming in fast & eventually reached the other pontoon.

Then I had to get out! well, there were loads of ropes in the way but I managed to get hold of the side of a boat & started to pull myself up, at the same time the current caught us & I was pinned round my neck by a rope. Now, for those who don't know, Rob was our son-in-law & I felt sure he was deliberately paddling backwards as the rope tightened. Surely not I hear you cry. But, if you had heard him laughing you might think differently.
Anyway. after a struggle I pulled myself onto the pontoon with all the grace of a big fat Hippo & sent up a little prayer of gratitude.
Here endeth episode 2 & it's all true - honest!


  1. Oh dear, what a ruddy predicament!!! But you did have me chuckling. A great post, especially as you were near my old haunts. I know the area well. A comedic series of events, not funny at the time I know but in the retelling, absolutely brilliant!!! Glad you got on dry land finally. That was quite an adventure and I am sure not one you want repeated.

  2. Glad you enjoyed it Denise.
    Me too in retrospect.



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