Brixham, Torquay and Harwich

Last Saturday Clive was up early and joined Jason aboard Lucky Mascot, sailing her over to Brixham while I got up at a leisurely pace and finished off the painting around the cockpit. I joined them early afternoon via the ferry, carrying my life jacket and overnight bag, the other passengers eyed me warily. “You can never be too sure these guys know where the life jackets are on these ferries,” I remarked, making my fellow day trippers glance askance worriedly.

What a lovely place Brixham is, a busy fishing port with the famous Brixham Trawlers. It’s another tourist destination and I understand there are so many holiday homes the economy tends to dip in the winter months. There are some gorgeous community gardens throughout the town, all tended by local volunteers, maximising what might otherwise be dead space and using unusual plants and imaginative landscaping.

One of the fun gardens using dead space in Brixham

One of the fun gardens using dead space in Brixham

The Marina is run by MDL, which also owns a Marina in Torquay, next door to the town one. It’s expensive to moor at an MDL Marina, but boy, they know how to build bathrooms! Bog watch gets a High FIVE!

Jason sold his last yacht, Ziphius, in the autumn. A lovely 28ft Westerly Centaur, it was bought by a lawyer who’s father used to own one and never let him helm. He doesn’t stop talking as Jason found out when he helped this chap sail her to a mooring on the River Exe in October. Small world… it moored up behind us in Torquay last week. We studiously avoided too much contact with the owner, though I had to leap off DD to help him after he cast off the bow, gunning the engine forward, leaving the stern line firmly affixed to the bollard on the pontoon. “Help” he yelped, while running to the bow to try and do something the rope there, though what I knew not. I had to admire that he is sailing her single handed, and sailing her full stop, though wondered that perhaps doing a competent crew course would boost both his confidence and his abilities.

Imagine our surprise when in he whizzed into Brixham Marina, doing a circuit looking for a mooring. Jason ducked down into the cabin looking aghast, praying that he wouldn’t try to raft on Lucky Mascot. We peeked from the windows as he almost hit a trawler, before choosing to raft onto another yacht opposite us. After going in circles a couple of times, the crew of his prey managed to take his ropes and tie him on. We then witnessed the poor owner of the rafted onto boat get subjected to over an hour of non stop talk from the lawyer. Jason from experience knew how the conversation kept momentum…. “Did I tell you I was a lawyer?” “What does this piece of string do?” “How do you get into the Exe?” “Did I mention I was a lawyer?” etc.

There was a festival happening at the fish market called Fishstock, which we went to in the evening. Bands were playing in the main tent and as the crowds grew and the heat rose, so did the stench of fish from the long drain under us. Eugh! I stood well clear watching and listening from the safety of the entrance. Fishstock indeed!


The next morning we studiously ducked out of Ziphius’ owners way before casting off for Torquay. Not a breath of wind so it was an engine sail back across Torbay to the harbour and Distant Drum. Not in time to see the end of the Cowes to Torquay annual power boat race alas, which we thought we’d have plenty of time for, however well in time to meet old pals Jane and Russ, who had flown in to UK from Detroit the day before and were staying with Jane’s brother Ian & his wife Lucy and family near Yeovil in Somerset. They all four arrived with Ian and Lucy’s sons David and Tim, Tim’s girlfriend Emma, a marine biologist who identified the enormous jelly fish as both Barrel and Compass, and their dog Tufty. We had a picnic ‘bufffet’ lunch aboard Distant Drum and a great afternoon and evening, catching up on news, views, sailing talk, plans and living aboard, before ending the evening at a good curry house a short walk away. What a treat, thanks chaps!

(L-R) Russ, Jane, David, Lucy & Ian come aboard

(L-R) Russ, Jane, David, Lucy & Ian come aboard

Tufty being a scaredy dog on the pontoon

Tufty being a scaredy dog on the pontoon

On Monday we sorted items take back to Harwich (the little freezer we’d bought on the Isle of Wight, laundry, etc) and I fetched Cecile le Citroen from up a steep hill ready for packing and our journey back across the country, leaving Distant Drum safely moored with Jason keeping an eye on her. Seven hours later we were unpacking into our lovely welcoming cottage and ready for Captain Andy Adams funeral the next day at St Nicholas Church. Always sad occasions, his son delivered an uplifting eulogy which had everyone laughing and the Trinity House flag draped over his coffin along with his Captain’s hat was a reminder of his remarkable years at sea. There was a befitting ‘alternative’ wake at his favourite pub The New Bell, where many of his friends gathered during the afternoon and well into the evening. There was a great sense of togetherness and happy stories told. It’s true that clouds have silver linings as seeing our Harwich friends again proved.

Harwich horizon with St Nicholas Church, with the white row of houses, donated by the Norwegian people after the flood of 1953

Harwich horizon with St Nicholas Church, with the white row of houses, donated by the Norwegian people after the flood of 1953

And talking of old friends, my lovely pal Elizabeth who Fergus the real dog moved in with, came to see us yesterday, furry Fergus in tow, and we had a day of beach walking, chucky ball throwing and catching up. Fergus looks really healthy and well, though seems to have gone deaf. The sliver lining there is that he doesn’t hear gun-fire, thunder and we’re all hoping fireworks, which have always in his previous 12 years, sent him into petrified trembling hiding – not fun when you’re in the middle of a wood enjoying a quiet walk and he disappears at fifty miles an hour, back the shortest route he knows, crossing fields, roads and pathways, heading for the safety of home.

Fergus having a rest after his long walk

Fergus having a rest after his long walk

Last night Tracy at the Globe invited me to join their crib practice, ready for the new season starting in a fortnight. Three solid hours of crib playing was quite exhausting after the longs walks earlier, and lots of fun. I love playing cards and games and it’s so enjoyable with other people who love it too. The enthusiasm is infectious and team captain Tracy rules with an iron humour and a sharp eye.

More next week in the adventures of DD, Clive & me….

A fisherman trying to land a big fish at Ha'penny Pier this morning - it got away!

A fisherman trying to land a big fish at Ha’penny Pier this morning – it got away!


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