Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Plans changed

Well, things didn't work out quite as planned. Sunday's weather was sunny and bright, with little wind, and it would have been the ideal day to take Kantara out for the test drive we wanted to give her after her engine and prop shaft alignment having been done. But instead we drove to Herefordshire.

We have been searching for ballast for the boat. Ballast is needed to keep her on an even keel (well, if she had a keel!). It's placed around the boat, usually in the bottom of cupboards, under the bed, in lockers and so on, to act as a balance against the weight of the furniture and fittings in the cabin. Our ballast has been a large iron weight in the gas locker at the front, bricks under the dinette, and a huge 25 litre water container, full, in a space under the galley worktop. This container was taking up too much space, and we needed something much smaller, iron or lead, to replace it. Grace looked on the Internet and found various possibilities, but the best one was being sold privately on Ebay, a 56lb iron weight for pan scales...
...this kind of thing.

When she first saw it, the price was a mere 99p, and it remained that way right to the end of the auction. She contacted the seller, and he suggested we collected it the next day, Sunday, at 2:00pm. No time for the test drive, then.

The drive to and from Kington in Herefordshire was really pleasant. Traffic was pretty light, and the weather excellent. We found the guy's house easily, then took a short drive out of the town to Hergest Ridge. The ridge "is a large elongated hill which traverses the border between England and Wales between the town of Kington in Herefordshire and the village of Gladestry in Powys. Its highest point, which is in England, is 1397 feet high." (Wikipedia) And, of course, it was the inspiration for Mike Oldfield's second album, which he named after it. It's an awesome feature, with fantastic panoramic views (and a very, very cold wind!). I had not taken my camera, and the photo below is the best I could find on the web. It doesn't do it justice!
At the end of Ommadawn, Oldfield's third album, is a short song entitled On Horseback. The last lines of the song are, "So if you feel a little glum, to Hergest Ridge you should come. In summer, winter, rain or sun, it's good to be on horseback. (Hey, and away we go...)"

The weather yesterday and today has been awful, with rain driven by a strong wind, but the forecast suggests it might be a lot better tomorrow, so perhaps we'll take the boat out then for a few hours. Then it will be back to St Albans the next day... or Friday, or...

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