22nd August 2020
Puerto de Aldan, Ria Aldan, Spain – Praia De Agra, Ria Pontevedra via Bueu, & Puerto de Aldan, Ria Pontevedra, Spain.
Cricket is a great and very unique game. Only in cricket, after 5 days of play can the game result in an inexplicable draw; only in cricket, play can be stopped for reasons as simple as rain or light; only in cricket are players given such great names as ‘silly mid-off’ or a bowler can be ‘right arm round’. The best thing about cricket however is that a simple phase can sum up an entire chain of events ‘It’s just not cricket.’ The sailing on Ruffian has had all the highs and lows of a 5 day cricket test match and events could be described as ‘It’s just not cricket.’
Like the best of test matches ‘rain stopped play’ on Ruffian. Day after day clouds sunk low over the hills and emptied their contents on us, we hid below and tried to think of things that would give us an excuse to remain below. Emails were written, paperwork completed and, never have spreadsheets looked so appealing and never had record keeping seemed so important.
Iain was getting worried that he would run out of dry jobs and to be effective Fiona would banish him into the rain. He came up with a cunning plan, he’d build a set of remote control switches and sell it to Fiona as a ‘safety feature’, enabling us to always find Ruffian when we ventured away at night.
Out came all the electrical paraphernalia and Iain busied himself studying manuals and how to guides. The smell of solder flux was thick in the air, with heat shrink shrinking, wires wiring and finally lights lighting, Iain was like a batsman marking his century. He was both victorious and dry!
While Iain was busy making his century, Fiona was busy winning! While she was busy with paperwork an Instagram message popped into the @sy_ruffian inbox. We’d not won the lottery from an east African country where we had to launder funs by paying an upfront transaction fee, we had really won a competition.
The competition was being run by Imray and all you had to do was upload a picture of all your pilot books. Weeks ago we’d got out our antique set of Imray pilots of Europe and our new pilots of Scotland, we’d arranged them around books from places as far flung as Africa, America and the Caribbean. Clearly in the judging they’d felt charitable and awarded us a prize for not only the most extensive collection but also the oldest. We now need to decide how to spend our extensive winnings.
With the rain turning into drizzle we found there was still enough light for play to happen. Before the clouds had descended, we’d spied not only an abandoned factory that needed exploring, but we’d also heard about a fort hidden deep in the woods.
Braving the weather, the long abandoned canning factory was eerie in the extreme. Scary graffiti covered every vertical surface, every horizontal one showed the ravages of time and the clouds pressed down giving everything a sinister air. The signs of death and decay were everywhere from the dock that was crumbling beneath our feet, to the concrete walls that were suffering from cancer, to the chimney that was beginning to lean at an alarming angle.
The eeriness continued as we ventured into the woods. In silence and surrounded by ancient trees, suddenly out of nowhere a fort emerged from the forest. Every turret and wall were covered in moss and what was once a moat of clear water was now a seething mass of blackness waiting to swallow up the unwary. This sort of scenery never appeared on test match special.
The rain was still stopping usual play however play didn’t stop on Ruffian. Out came crosswords, where Fiona showed her knowledge and Iain showed his lack of GCSE English and then the scrabble was broken out. Amazingly, even with Fiona knowing words like ‘Quoits’ (on a triple word score) and Iain putting down exotic words like ‘Cat’ he emerged victorious and, as usual was magnanimous in his overwhelming victory.
Finally, after days of rain, where ‘It just hadn’t been cricket’, the skies turned blue, a big yellow ball appeared above us, the hills could once again beckon, hiking in the midday sun was back on the play list and white sandy beaches were like a magnet. With play resuming life on boat Ruffian really is now ‘Just like cricket’.
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