We’d taken the Captain to the Vet on Saturday, because he seemed to be uncomfortable and limping rather badly. With no sign of any particular damage, we thought maybe he’d misjudged a jump or fallen, and pulled a muscle in his rear end or his back somewhere. The Vet gave him a thorough going over, agreed our suspicions were most likely, and given his various issues, prescribed some fairly serious painkillers. He perked up a little over the next day or so, but was still limping on Tuesday morning.
We’d arranged to “pop up” to Piper Boats in Stoke-on-Trent to check that the repairs and updates were more or less complete – with insurance company hassles over colour matching and extra work needed they’d needed the boat a lot longer than originally planned. We had reluctantly come to the conclusion that by the time Song & Dance was put back in the water, there wasn’t really enough time to relocate the Captain and crew back up North for a short summer cruise before we’d need to pack up again to head homewards before setting out for Sidmouth festival. It wouldn’t really be fair on anyone, really. So we reluctantly took the decision to leave resuming our 2017 cruising until after our return from Devon. It meant we’d have lost nearly 3 months of the summer, but there was no real alternative.
Piper Boats said we could leave Song & Dance in their car park rather than launch it just to leave it in a marina paying mooring fees for several weeks, and we made arrangements to re-float her on August 16th. We drove home in glorious hot sunshine, but in rather subdued and sombre mood, listening to the weather men forecasting serious thunderstorms later that evening.
When we got back home mid-afternoon, despite the lovely hot weather it was absolutely clear that the Captain had decided he’d had enough, and it was time for him to Cross the Bar. With heavy hearts, we took another difficult decision, and headed once more for the Vet. The receptionist – who’d known him all his life – took one look at him on Fran’s lap and said “He’s given up, hasn’t he.”
As predicted, the skies opened that night, and we listened to the thunder while raising several glasses to a unique chap who’d won over hearts everywhere.
Can’t find a recording of our friends Sarah, Carolyn and Moira singing Crossing The Bar, so here’s their arrangement sung by the Spookies just before they headed to Sidmouth and caused chaos for your humble FO.