The Hatch Tale

In our heads has entered the check-list for getting ready to go home. Ahhh, that she-devil the list. I have such a love-hate relationship with the eponymous list. Not sure why. Perhaps it’s because every time I make a list to go anywhere, I get there and realise I forgot the list. Not list’s fault. My fault. Then I get home and the list is right there, laughing at me.

The opening hatches are being re-sealed today. That was one of the first things on our going-home list. These hatches always remind me of a story. When we first sailed to the Isles of Scilly, the ancient islands off the tip of Cornwall, we escaped the rain into the museum one afternoon. There was a large photo of a beautiful, historic sailing ship mounted on the museum wall. She was like the Isles of Scilly mascot schooner.

She’d just been refurbished at great and tender cost. The lady working at the museum must have been bored, because she came and started telling us about the ship. It’s weird when the Cornish get friendly.

Anyhow, she explained that after the ship had been refurbished, it went out for its maiden sail around the Scilly Isles. Unfortunately, someone forgot to close one of the outside hull hatches – and no one noticed for a while. I don’t think the ship was ruined, but after the extensive flooding was discovered, it did have to come back to the harbour at St Mary’s for another programme of refurbishment.

I wish I could remember the name of said ship. Maybe I could Google it. I always thought though it was a bit of a secret – and that the museum lady was counting an hour until her break, so she came and told us to keep herself amused. She must have smiled to herself when our jaws suitably dropped. ‘Tourists,’ she probably thought.

Well, ever since then, even if the story was spun or it really was a real and painful yarn, what’s the very first thing we do when we are setting off to raise our sails? Yep, check those outside hatches. It’s on another list – but this one I keep in my head. It’s there so I don’t forget it.

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