Birdsong

Delphine made cheese tea for her sister. Parmesan flavour. She’d been interrupted by Jack and said it was an accident. He asked her why there was cheese in the cup. We knew straight away. That was no accident. She came giggling back to the table.

But those were the heady old days. When we were happy and didn’t realise it. Why didn’t we realise it? Because those days are up. The air-con pump broke today. Questie’s pump. This is the pump that controls all the air-con units. This means that we have three beautifully serviced air con units – with no pump. This means that we lie here on Quest smothered by our 12 volt fans. We’d be scuppered without these fans. I still feel like the inside of my head might start boiling.

The air-conditioning technician, Keet, is coming in the morning to check the pump. Hmm. We think it will be a miracle if he can fix it. When we turn it on, the pump makes a strange whirring noise and then the breaker trips on the control panel. This protects the air-conditioning unit, but also turns the water off so the unit can no longer work. We think we may have killed the pump. The pump is a pretty chunky unit and isn’t available on the island – Jack went over to the chandlery and discovered we’d have to order it in from California. That’s ok, we could do it, except it would mean another long period of waiting around in Trinidad.

This seems to be a sign that we need to cut our ties with land. Life is cooler on the anchorage anyway. It’s breezier and you can swim to cool off. We will go… in six days time. We can’t leave until Jack’s had his tooth checked at the dentist’s on Monday. He’s had a bone graft in the tooth space he broke, so he can have a replacement implant put in. We’re hoping for pirate gold. In the meantime, we’ll have to escape Chaguaramas’ midday heat. Sit up in the cockpit and hope for a breeze. We have to go, as they say in Australia, troppo.

It makes me realise the essence of travelling. You can’t go and live in another country and not experience what it’s like. The sweat coming through your pores. Your taste buds tackling new flavours. Your eyes processing what your brain hasn’t ever seen. I woke up this morning and for the first time in six weeks, the windows in my bedroom were wide open. This is the coolest it’s going to be all day, I thought. I need to get up and do the jobs that’ll be too hot to consider doing in a couple of hours. And then a bird began to sing somewhere. I lay in bed and listened to it, savouring its sound. It matched a vibration in my blood. I’d forgotten.

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