After Rainfall

After rainfall
raindrops drip from branches,
petals fall like snowflakes,
fresh green leaves unfurl.

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The Last Sail

Red Dawn IV

Red Dawn IV

I have mentioned before that we are selling our yacht ‘Red Dawn IV’, a Barbican 33. We have both been sailing for more years than we care to remember – my husband first sailed when he was in short trousers and I learned to sail dinghies in my teens. We have owned boats off and on all our married life, but all things must come to an end and my husband has decided to ‘swallow the anchor’ before we are too old and decrepit to maintain the boat properly, especially as it is a four-hour drive from home to the marina.

We have owned this particular boat for about 12 years and kept her all that time at Bradwell Waterside in Essex on the River Blackwater – not convenient for home but very convenient for sailing across the Channel to Europe as we have done many times. Having placed her on brokerage at Burnham on the River Crouch in Essex we decided to give up our marina berth in Bradwell and move her to the brokers yard. Our contract with the marina ends it the end of March so we needed to move her before then or risk having to pay a daily rate for our berth – expensive!

Frozen snow in the cockpit

Frozen snow in the cockpit

Last weekend we needed to go down to Essex for an important meeting so we decided it was a good opportunity to go on down to the boat and sail her round to Burnham. However, the weather was awful as the second instalment of ‘the beast from the east’ struck the UK. When we arrived at the boat late on Saturday afternoon it was bitterly cold, windy, and the boat was covered in frozen snow, as you can see from the picture of the cockpit. We hibernated in our cosy cabin – electric fire and our Taylors Paraffin Stove on full blast for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday while the weather slowly improved, but we were concerned that we would not get the job done before we needed to go home on Thursday and that we would have to return another time.

Wednesday, however, turned out to be milder with sunny spells and the wind had dropped so we decided to go. We left Bradwell at 10.45am, motoring with the mainsail up. It was still chilly but dressed in two of everything we were just about warm enough! After about an hour we were at the mouth of the Blackwater, drinking coffee and eating energy bars, sailing past the lovely little chapel of St Peter on the Wall (one of my Special Places) and on out to sea, noticeably cooler and several white horses in evidence.

There are two routes round the coast to the River Crouch, a long route which takes you out beyond the shallows and then back in again, or the shorter route across the shallows through the Ray Sand Channel. We opted for the short route so that we weren’t out in the cold too long and the later start fitted in better with the tide for getting out of the marina. This route, however, is something of a challenge. You have to get the tides right, arriving at the start in time to have enough water and yet to go through on a rising tide as it does get VERY shallow.

I remember the first time we went through, in our very first cruising yacht, an old clinker-built Dauntless called ‘Noom Zor Noom’. We had two of our three children with us then, a toddler and a small baby. We kept the boat on the River Roach, a tributary of the Crouch, and had been up the coast for a holiday. It was one of those situations where we had to get back for work but the weather wasn’t good. We chose the Ray Sand Channel route (probably a mistake in retrospect) for speed. We probably got the tide slightly wrong and in those days we had no modern gizmos – no Radio to call up with, no GPS, no mobile phones, no Chart Plotter, only a speed log and echo sounder. The wind and tide were pushing us off course and out of the channel – it was getting very shallow and you don’t really know which way to go to find the deeper water! It was also a bit rough, tossing us about. I was not a happy bunny, in fact I was scared (hubby now admits he was too!) and rather worried about how I was to get a small child and a baby safely off the boat if we came a cropper! It was with some relief that we made it safely through and into the river.

Red Dawn IV at Burnham

Red Dawn IV at Burnham

This time we arrived at the start of the channel at just the right time (12.45) for the tide, plus it was spring tides so we would have plenty of water, with also the benefit of the Chart Plotter to help keep us on course. It was a bit sloppy in the mouth of the Crouch due to wind against the tide, the wind also got up a bit and keeled us over badly a couple of times but I was able to make lunch as we went along. We took down the mainsail as we reached the entrance to the River Roach and motored on to Burnham Yacht Harbour in good time, arriving around 3.00pm. We then were able to tidy up, remove the sails ready for her to be hauled out onto the broker’s yard and drive home on Thursday – a horrendous trip, but that’s another story! The yard was not able to haul out this week so we will need another trip down when that happens. Then we have three months free storage at the yard while they try to sell her for us.

It was with mixed feelings that we left the boat; an enjoyable 4-hour trip round, despite motor-sailing all the way in order to keep up the speed, but tinged with sadness that this would be our last sail, unless she doesn’t get sold, in which case we will have to think again!

 

Crocus Blooms

Few
crocus blooms —
crushed by harsh
weather. More to come;
snow!

Fight Back

Spring fights back,
the arctic blast retreats.
Snow-squashed snowdrops
stand proud once more.

Undecided

White flakes softly fall,
sudden flurries come and go,
seem undecided.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I wrote this Haiku earlier this week but as I had other things to post then I am sharing it today. Since I wrote it the snow finally decided it was going to fall more continuously and settle. There is also a bitingly cold wind.

One Day

Three seasons, one day;
snow, rain, bright sunshine,
but oh so cold!

Spring Englyn

Snowdrops now their dainty heads show, green stems
extend through cloak of snow.
Signs of Spring; we watch them grow.

Following soon come tulips fair, and bold
gold daffodils bloom where
now the ground is dark and bare.

The seasons are changing, the sun returns
and warms the earth, to shun
Winter’s grip; her battle won.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Whilst looking for something else on the Internet I came across the Englyn form. This is, I understand, an old Bardic poetic form and I thought it would be fun to try to write one. As you can see the form consists of  3-line stanzas. It is a syllable counting form with lines of 10, 6 and 7 syllables respectively. That’s the easy bit!

The rhyme pattern requires end rhymes of AAA. However, (and this is where it gets complicated) the end rhyme of the first line isn’t actually at the end; it can be one, two or three syllables in from the end and the sound of the syllables after the rhyming word are echoed at the beginning of the following line.

You will see I have cheated a bit here, my echoes are not exact, making use of near rhymes and slant rhymes – green stems/extend (Stanza 1),  returns/and warms (stanza 3) and missing out one element in stanza 2 – and bold/gold.

Footprints

Footprints in the snow.
I return following
my own outward track.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I wrote this after walking to my local grocery store on Sunday morning but as I do not post on Sundays I saved it for today. We had a moderate fall of snow and it was still snowing. I was surprised how few people were about; mine seemed to be the only tracks for most of my walk. Magical.

Melting

Snow
slowly melting,
green grass peeping.
Chance of White Christmas
fading.

Snow

Snow
at last,
lying stretched like
a pauper’s worn, old
blanket.

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