Monday 12 September….stay calm, stay calm!

We have decided to stay an extra night here and explore the upper reaches of the Hamble in the dinghy. The river is more open than we had expected and we trundle up to where there used to be some old boatyards and an amazing set of floating barges called Aladdin’s Cave. This was the repository of a real treasure trove of old boaty bits and pieces, and the scene of an encounter many years ago which sums up John. He was seen holding a very shapely but completely indeterminate (in terms of future or past use) piece of Stainless Steel. He was trying desperately to think of somewhere he could use it. He only reluctantly put it down when it was pointed out to him that it probably weighed more than most of the rest of the gear on the boat put together…

Aladdin’s Cave is sadly no more (or at least we couldn’t find it)… probably to the relief of the female section of the group. The river at this point (just before Burseldon Bridge) was flooding extremely fast and true to form, the outboard decided at that moment to take a break from its duties. A slightly undignified paddle saw us washed up on a muddy bit of beach by the road. This is where the engine decided to resume duties and seemed to run without problem. As we were not far from the chandlers we decided to wander in to look for a few bits including some new wellies for me. The assistant was slightly aghast when I took off my muddy sandals and handed me what in the end porved to be an inadequate supply of tissues and disinfectant gel. It was not my finest hour trying to clean my feet in front of a shop full of rather more well shod boaty folk. We mumbled apologies and said that we would come back later. Oddly she didn’t try to stop us.

We continued up stream and encountered an amazing set of standing waves formed by the sheer rate of the current, before the rather calmer waters just underneath the M23. The engine needed another break, but this time we were able to hold on to a pontoon while pondering a pleasant afternoon next to a thundering motorway.

On the basis that less is more, the details of the engine repairs are left out and we were able to head back down stream in the first of the ebb in a rather more decorous and sedate style. We headed straight for the Jolly Sailor (as featured several times in the awful soap about boats called Howard’s Way) and counted the trip as just another little adventure even if it is little over a half hour drive from our home port.

We wandered on foot this time into the village of Hamble (Hamble le Rice as it is properly called) and had afternoon tea from the beach café and wondered at the understated little ferry which plies from Hamble across to Warsash…

At the time of writing we have the cockpit tent up as the promised rain arrives…Oh well, scrabble and cribbage it is!

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