Countdown. The clock is running and the home fires are lit.

If I can’t quite see clearly now because I’m looking through a dark glass, at least the light at the end of the tunnel probably isn’t a train coming. No, this isn’t an attempt to see how many metaphors I can get into an opening paragraph but rather reflects a certain uncertainty of mind, or perhaps the fear of an at times seemingly unlikely dream finally coming true.

As the title of this rambling indicates, the countdown to moving back onboard the boat has started. Originally, well at least a couple of weeks ago, I’d agreed with Rose that I’d move out by the end of this month, as I write that’s five days away. She was thinking of a trip to Australia and had thoughts that it might be an extended one. Rather than commit myself to housesitting for an undetermined length of time, we agreed I’d move out to allow her more flexibility in planning. I’d be quite happy to housesit if it would help out, but with the boat launch looming, I wanted to get Trouters in the water asap rather than pay F$500 per month for being on the hard and leaving her alone at anchor isn’t an option. So with five days of the self-imposed deadline to go I’m readying a cabin and tidying up the saloon as best I can. Tonight, Rose said to stay until the boat is ready for launching, apparently it will seem strange not having me around. With a few of us ‘Peters’ around the place, apparently I’m refered to as ‘our Peter’, I can think of much worse ways of being refered to. We’ll see.

The engines ‘should’ be ready Saturday Martin told me today and I’m going to chase the electrician to connect the batteries/test the lights and wire in the cabin fans. So far so good, but boy it feels strange thinking I’ll soon ‘be home’, particularly as home has been somewhat remodelled since I last lived there and is minus many of the ammenities that I used to enjoy.

At the risk of sounding like an Oscar acceptance speech, I guess I’d better thank some people for getting me where I am (where am I and who are all these people staring at me?). First and foremost, to those who made it financially possible, thank you. You know who you are and probably wouldn’t thank me for naming you. Without your help I’d probably be stacking shelves somewhere. Probably; there have been dark times, darker than perhaps I’ve let on. At least with the price of drink here I literally couldn’t afford to disappear into a bottle, that I think would have been fatal, but believe me the temptation was sometimes very strong. To those who provided much needed and appreciated moral support, again thank you. ‘I refer you to my previous comment’. Somebody (Beez Neez I think) likened the last ten months to going up Everest twice with a camel on my back; believe me it certainly felt that way at times, but regular emails, phone calls and visits kept my pecker up (and no Andy, that isn’t a reference to any torrid imagined combination of Gina and Alice!). I have to make a special mention of Rosemary and Vincent, who welcomed me into their home sometime last June and at times must have wondered what the hell they’d let themselves in for. I guess I would have survived camping on the boat, but maybe not. Like I said dark, dark times. I hope my ex-crew has found a safer berth, and can still enjoy being on a boat. Sorry and all that.

So, thank you all. It’s still not all ‘plain sailing’ from here and I suspect the projected launch date of April 7th may be put back, not least because I probably won’t be able to afford a crane until the end of April when the old pension gets paid in. Yep, financial miscalculation rules yet again, but this time it’s an inconvenience rather than an insurmoutable barrier. To quote an old chum, ‘budget? Think of a number, double it and add on a bit!’ Hey ho, at least dried beans are cheap in Fiji! That reminds me, the heads still need to be connected and I must have a rummage around and see if the pressure cooker survived. Ah yes, curried beans, bean stew, beans a la (com)mode, I remember it well!

As to the future, well I think I’ll be in Fiji until the end of June before moving on. Henning (Smiley) has volunteered to crew for me when I leave Suva and take the boat round to the west. I’m both looking forward to the trip and dreading it, many reefs on the way y’know.

It will be strange to be part of the yottie community again.

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