Hearts in Throats

Another early morning peaceful scene. The first thing I do is catch up on the news. I do it every morning – definitely since March, with my heart migrating up to my throat while the page loads. I call it the ‘what now’ effect.

This morning: on top of Tier 4 lockdowns and a spiralling increase of Covid cases back home, the U.K. is about to have a snow storm. Normal for some parts of the world where snow tyres and chains for your tyres is a routine part of every winter. Not for the U.K. The best we do is salt for the roads. Salt.

So, the news is that many online orders for food deliveries – a seemingly normal way now for people to get food – have been cancelled due to the worsening weather. Let me go back a bit. Tier 4. Lockdown. Food deliveries. Snow storm. Food deliveries cancelled. Oh Jeez. Swallow my heart down.

Then, after the news, I check Pip Hare. This is a name I didn’t know until about six weeks ago. Shame on me. She’s a yachtswoman. And in a stunning display of misogyny, I only discovered her after Alex Thomson crashed out of the Vendée Globe race. He was who I’d been set up to watch and to cheer for. It was only when I was cursing his boat’s injuries, that I scrolled through the race statistics to see who else was in the Vendée Globe.

Pip Hare. She’s in it. Around the same age as me. She has the oldest boat in the fleet. The 20-year old Medallia. The boats in the Vendée are called IMOCAs. Don’t ask me why. I should know.

Pip Hare’s journey to the Vendée wasn’t as assured as Alex Thomson’s. I read she was only able to order new sails in July this year through last-minute sponsorship. They arrived in September. The race started in November.

You read stuff like that and you wince. More hearts to your throat. But then you read Pip’s blog and watch her videos. She is so cool. So honest. So fricking organised. And so happy.

For those who don’t know, Pip Hare is still very much in the race. She has, in fact, just climbed up a place, to number 17. She has also passed the anti-meridian yesterday, for only the second time in her career. Let me just Google. Aha – the longitudinal line between the Eastern and Western Hemisphere.

She’s passing from the Southern to the Pacific Ocean. Has broken into her new pack of half-way thermal clothes, even though she’s now more than half-way. She was too busy changing sails on the half-way day to change her clothes. Clean clothes are a big deal for Pip. I agree entirely.

A whole world away from the craziness at home – Pip Hare is in the middle of the race of her life. After the reading the news, I live vicariously through her, and enjoy every minute of it. Swallow that heart down.


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