Pictorial blethers

By blethers

The Santa run ...

In the run-up to Christmas I often reflect that I struggle to fit in the normal things that people do at this time of year - wrapping presents, seeing folk, going out for a meal (that end-of-term gathering of the coffee-drinkers from the staffroom!) - because I'm doing other stuff: singing, more singing, helping to choose carols to sing, not catching a cold, planning that Christmas day journey (anxious checks of weather forecasts), having the builders in ...

Today I did something normal, but in a typically Dunoon fashion. Put it simply and it sounds fine: I'm going to pop over on the wee ferry to meet my sister for lunch and exchange presents instead of posting them. Sounds almost ladylike. Here, however, is how it panned out on this chilly, gusty but above all wet day. Walk down to the pier. It's blowing hard along our crescent on the hill, and by the time we've cantered down to the pier (12 minutes) we're pretty soaked and just make it so that our hearts are pounding interestingly. We find it's the little catamaran this trip - the AliCat. It bobs about like the bathtub boat it's derided as, though once we're out in the Firth and heading in roughly the same direction as the sea it's not quite so bad and we scoosh along. More wet legs as we walk the length of the pier, the length of the station platform and up the road to the chosen venue.

This bit's normal. Pleasant cafe (we only want lunch), sister and bro-in-law waiting for us, food, friendly service. We have realised, however, that if we miss the boat at 2.20pm we'll have an hour to wait because ... because ...Why do they take a boat off in the afternoon? But we don't miss it. It's the AliCat again. (There is a rather bigger, more streamlined boat on the run as well; we're just unlucky.) And this return journey of 20 minutes is just hellish. The boat rolls and pitches simultaneously, and I can't see out of the windows as they're all steamed up. Halfway across, as a wave crashes over the cabin, I'm convinced I'm going to throw up. There is, however, no provision for such an incident, and I know I'd never make it to the loo. No-one else - I snatch a look - seems to be in extremis; only me. It's worse than the North Sea. (Ok, it's not, but the boat's much, much smaller and hideously cork-like).

By the time I stagger up the ramp in Dunoon I'm past thought. It seems to be dry, but I don't care. I'm giving up on the climate, giving up on economy. In the winter weather, or indeed in a wind of any kind, it's the car ferry for me and probably the car as well. 

Photo is of the distant snowy hills to the north, taken from Gourock main street on our way back to the pier.

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