Poor Questie

Hold on. All this writing.. this obsession with life at 52.4887° N and 4.0512° W, up north towards the Arctic… but there is another life for us too. A clean boat with cool air con running through it and possibly some packets of food that I should have thrown away before we left (don’t tell the captain). At 10.6825° N and 61.6341° W. South and east towards the Equator. Quest the boat waits for us… or at least I’d like to think she waits for us. And are we far away from her right now.

Our plan is to renovate our bungalow in the spring. The bungalow is smiling smugly at this news. ‘I’ve needed a new roof for ten years you guys. How many more times were you going to try and get away with it by spreading tar on my roof?’

Ok, you win bungalow. We’ve run out of tar. Meanwhile, Quest sighs and shifts on her metal stands in the boatyard. The warm rain washes down her like a sluice… since it rains a lot in Trinidad.

When you have this, in crudely economic terms; two significant resources in two very different places, then it’s a weird, cut-in-two kind of life. We’ve been in Wales from the end of spring.. long enough for us to forget about life onboard. Except for little snippets.

Like the electric blue of the wide-open tropical sea. The precarious nature of Quest’s anchor. Checking it and re-checking it after we’d set it, then waking up to feel its squally strain against the sea floor. We remember the pure stillness of the great barracuda as it watched us toothily from under Quest’s hull. The smell of burning sugar cane wafting down the Bajan hills. Chirps of insects and tree frogs under the Trinidadian rainforests. Mango and salty pineapple slipping down our throats. So many engaging and interesting people entering our lives. Receiving countless Caribbean ‘Good afternoons,’ as we’d go about our business. Returning the greetings with a rebellious sense of gusto. Overall I remember the feeling of getting away with it. I mean, how did we manage to get to this paradise and stay here for such a long time? And all of this accompanied with no real idea of where we were going to end up.

Three years before, Delph had her first eye operation when she wasn’t quite five years old. After she’d been put under anaesthetic for her operation, we went down to Morriston’s hospital chapel to wait for the news. The chapel was a really nice space to wait. Even though through the stained glass you could see patients in dressing gowns smoking outside by the car park. This didn’t bother me. This was Swansea after all.

During the wait that blustery April morning, some kind of deal was made for us. I remember writing in the visitor’s prayer book, ‘Please let our Delphine be able to see this beautiful world.’ Sure enough, Delphine woke up a couple of hours later like an angry wasp but an angry wasp that could see. The lenses in her eyes had been successfully changed without a millimetre to spare. For this, I give eternal thanks to Delph’s surgeon Mr. David Laws, his team and the smokers outside the chapel. For some reason, I can’t leave those guys out. The rest is history.


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