Finally, due to the miraculous intercession of the ‘Angel Anders’, Free’s long suffering engine Polly roared into action after a bewildering amount of defects, most of which were out of my ken.
I am a reasonably competent mechanic, otherwise I would never have survived these past eight years. It just isn’t possible to sail single-handed in a boat of this complexity without having some ability; however, there are times when a helping hand is vital. Despite my protestations, this kind gentleman refused to take any payment and relished the challenge. Mind you, he is an unusually gifted mechanic, having even invented agricultural machines to manipulate wood.
Thanks to Anders I am on the verge of running sea trials with the hope to sail on Monday or Tuesday next week.
Since being ‘on the beach’, I have become a part of this community, and made some new friends, especially Eva, who lives nearby and whose husband Mats and son Michael, are very clever folk indeed. They are humble geniuses who have invented sensing machinery for boiler flu gases. They own a small workshop in Enånger where they test and fabricate all manner of incredible inventions.
Like many of this lovely community, they have gone the extra mile and make me feel so welcome, inviting me into their house and helping with my firewood. As you can see above, they have invented an incredible ‘guillotine’ affair that can crack logs into the required size, perfect for ‘Bilbo’ my smaller wood burner. The machine is fearsome!
I mustn’t forget the kind-hearted Micke Van Ewijk, who made it all possible for my stay here with his tireless work on Free by preparing her for winter and running me in and out of Hudiksvall to find parts for her resurrection.
I also learned a little of Swedish windows and how they keep out the freezing winters, by acting as his labourer on occasion; the least I could do after all his help.
Perhaps the most fascinating moment thus far for me has been my radio debut! Due to a little scheme concocted between Eva and her friend Karin, who runs a small radio station in Gnarp, a small village to the north of Hudiksvall. It was such fun choosing ten favourite pieces of music and being interviewed about my sailing life!
This sailing life can certainly throw up all manner of fascinating encounters and experiences. How much time can one spend worrying, living in a state of perpetual anxiety back in ‘the world’, when it is actually possible to create something so much more meaningful in one’s life? All it takes is some courage and a leap off the metaphorical cliff. The seduction of so-called ‘security’ is the modern lie of our times.
A question that is often asked of me by folk I meet is: “Aren’t you afraid out there all alone?” Maybe this question has more meaning than just my sea-faring.
I usually wait a little before replying, that we are never really alone, and that there is a life outside of family groups. Is not humanity one big family? Certainly for me, I have been blessed with so many lovely folk, who have stepped out of their comfort zone to share life with me. Often they will reflect how they wished that their lives had been fuller and I reply, that it is never too late to live in the now and face the fear…
This little verse reflects my belief, that the glory of life is right here now…
“Come to the edge.’
‘We can’t. We’re afraid.’
‘Come to the edge.’
‘We can’t. We will fall!’
‘Come to the edge.’
And they came.
And he pushed them.
And they flew.”
Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918)