The kindness of strangers

Thankfully they’re not after prey as big as Iain.

28nd April 2020

Malpas, Falmouth, UK 50 14.00 N 5 01.11 W

Communities are created through shared experiences and acts of kindness. Houses are emptying on Thursday nights in a shared experience to clap for the NHS and streets seem to be awash in kindly neighbours looking out for each other. Life on the river Fal is no different, we have experienced acts of kindness and have shared experiences with those around us as we all shelter from weather (when it’s bad) and have battled the local hills (when it’s good).

For days we’d been going ashore (for our daily dose of exercise) and had been waving at our boat based neighbours. Finally, we were beckoned over (and adhering to social distancing) met our neighbours in person. We had shared experiences of crossing the same oceans, anchoring in the same distant bays and being members of the same clubs. The joy of cruising, without the moving was with us.

With this new found cruising joy, energy washed over us and on the little wheeled Bromptons we tackled some of the big hills around us. We climbed the up to the apty named, but misspelt village of ‘Hilleigh’ and were bound for the long sandy beaches on south coast of Cornwall.

Nearing our quarry we climbed over stone styles that had been polished smooth by hundreds of years of farmers feet and scaled ancient stone walls that that been built with rocks as steps. Making our way through the last fence far below us the sand stretched for miles and was only disturbed by the fields of mussel’s and the sideways tracks of crabs that feast in the clear pearlescent waters. All those hills had been worth the scaling.

Now with very sore bottoms and equally tired legs we found ourselves on Ruffian and once again “met” our neighbours. They wanted to confirm we had everything that we needed. We were happy with full diesel tanks, full petrol tanks, full water tanks and heaps of long life food. Although we were out of meat and living on a plant based diet. This shocked Bob as Bob was a beef farmer, with a freezer full of Daisy’s and Gertie’s.

The most remarkable act of kindness arrived the following day. Slabs of home reared succulent beef were gifted to us by our fellow cruiser and Fiona soon got to work on it. Out came the most luxurious of ingredients and the smell of Christmas enveloped Ruffian as it was stewed in mulled wine and walnuts. There was to be a feast of the most epic proportions and the succulence of the meat was enhanced by the act of unselfish generosity that had delivered it to Ruffian. We were really feeling part of the Fal community.

Life on Ruffian was good, however our world was about to get a little smaller. For weeks we’ve been slowly removing the tired and worn out deck covering from Ruffian. Elbow grease has been expended and blisters upon blisters have been endured. It was finally time for us to have a rewarding job and crack open the paint. In moments the decks had been transformed from bare stark fiberglass to a sleek grey matching the rest of the topside; all the hard graft had been worthwhile. The only problem with this painting however was our little world was cut in half with no access to the starboard side of Ruffian.

With Ruffian’s world having shrunk we felt we should explore the wider world outside. The order of the day was once again biking and beaches, but this time with a more ambitious (and distant) goal. Again, the hills were scaled and again the white sandy beaches welcomed us. This time however we were not alone. In the water below us seals frolicked; they caught fish, enjoyed the sunshine and basked on the super-heated rocks as wavelets lapped on their flippers.

On the way to the beach we’d once again cycled through the aptly named ‘Hilleigh’, today however we’d also taken in ‘Tow-an’. Fiona resisted the temptation to get a tow as she pushed her tired legs on the little Brompton pedals as the lanes twisted their way uphill. There was however a sense of humour failure as false flats, hidden summits and endless uphills seemed to rule the ride and all this with no lunch, limited water and on pre worn legs. Cycling is not going to be on the agenda for a few days. With more weather on it’s way and a fridge brimming with beef we are really felling part of the Fal community. We’ll be sharing the experience of the howling winds and driving rain while feasting on the kindness of strangers.

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Author: Iain & Fiona Lewis

3 thoughts on “The kindness of strangers

  1. Good to see you enjoying the lock down.
    Makes us want to come along once this is all over

    Doc and Mrs Doc

  2. You’re right about those bikes – not exactly built for hill-climbing! I’ve got enough trouble round up and down Northants and I’ve got loads of lovely Shimanos to help me! Glad to see you two surviving so well. Great pictures 😊

  3. Missing you already sweet cheeks. Let’s hope Boris releases you soon. Hope you’re both well and stay safe. X

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