Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 August…days of contrasts…

Sounds like we are being churlish, but to finally get on heydays and for the weather to turn after the great weather we have had so far this summer seems mean. We decide that the best way to cheer us up is a full English at the café in the marina. This together with some nice coffee takes up  most of the morning (it’s a tough life) and we finally set of in a mizzle (is it even a word?) for the short hop back to the lovely anchorage at East Head, just inside the harbour entrance. We join a dozen or so other boats in the peace and quiet as the drizzle dries off. There are a few hardy souls on the beach and there is even the ice-cream boat who sees us after much frantic shouting and whistling. The rest of the day passes in a few games and general lazing before its time for dinner…and a few drinks.

A larger motor boat joins the gathering with attendant heavy bass and lots of motorised toys. We try not to be grumpy at our peace being disturbed…everyone is entitled to enjoy themselves…. They eventually leave around dark and we are left to a glorious remainder of the night and even some stars. There is something about a peaceful anchorage which is hard to beat, despite the comforts of a marina.

Early morning coffee looking out over the water, even if it is grey is special and we treat ourselves to some sautéed plums for breakfast (recipe courtesy of our friend Alex), but sadly none of his genuine french brioche….granary will have to do.

We continue the theme of just mooching locally and head out, bound for Haslar in Portsmouth. We manage to sail for a while which is nice, but the misty dampness soon gives way to no wind and a steady downpour.

The Southsea to Ryde hovercraft momentarily thinks about taking us out, but heads away behind us in a cacophony of noise and spray.

We are diligent in keeping to the small ship part of the channel, when we are overtaken by a fast rib on the wrong side. In no time they have been flagged down by a harbour patrol who appears to give them a stern talking to…ha! Some of us consider another rendition of “oh when the saints….” as we enter enemy territory. Everyhting looks grey as we enter and we hunker down for a wet afternoon..

…but as evening comes so does the sun and the spinnaker tower takes on a completely different look.

We decide to head out and treat ourselves to dinner on the old lightship while musing on what a hellhole those things must have been.

Lighthouses were bad enough in terms of isolation on dangerous rocks for weeks on end, but the lightships just relied on an anchor to hold fast and were just as isolated while having the dubious benefit of also being tossed around for good measure. From the deck of the lightship we get a good view of our navy…most of it we assume, as both of our aircraft carriers are in dock. A far cry from the old days of HMS Victory and HMS Warrior moored just a few meters away.

…and the spinkaer tower almost takes on a magical light at night….it would still be better in red!! COYS.

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