6 thoughts on “Mad Bad Rabat Blues”

  1. Crikey! This sailing lark is sooooo dangerous – you could have been killed (fortunately, your singing has improved)
    great stuff!

  2. Hi Julian and Lyn,

    So I promised to write more in response to the fabulous Rabat Blues and since it is now over a month since I promised that, it seemed appropriate to get on with it!

    Clearly there has been something of a radio silence of late and of course this leads of all your blog followers to become a little nervous and apprehensive on your behalf Julian. After all there are many examples of intrepid travellers losing radio contact and the like. One just has to think of those orbiting the moon for example, or trekking to the poles and one is immediately reminded of the tense wait in between communications. So imagine my pleasant surprise just a few weeks ago when I was contacted directly by Julian. It was a wonderful moment and I felt truly special, honoured to be singled out for what was, in my mind at least, quite a tricky procedure. I know that these days modern communications have improved enormously since the days of Morse code and the like, but nevertheless as I heard Julian’s voice on the phone, I was impressed with the quality of the line. As he spoke, I imagined him grappling with the sheets, whilst the wind whistled Domini across the ocean waves. I have some experience myself of ship to shore radio transmissions (more of that in a moment) and so I was both pleased and relieved to hear from Julian. Imagine my surprise then, when in response to my enquiry as to his whereabouts, rather than some kind of nautical co-ordinates involving degrees and longitude, he said that he was in Acton. I’ll just let that sink in for a moment. Acton. Now Geography is not my strong point, in fairness nothing is, but even I could more or less point to Acton on a map and understand the relation between it and the Atlantic. Rabat for example is clearly on a coastline, indeed a coastline suspiciously close to the Atlantic, but Acton is West London and not a drop of ocean in sight. The Rabat Blues, so beautifully performed, gave all of we humble readers some sense of the frustration of waiting for just the right weather conditions for departure. But whilst hanging around in harbours of the world sharing seafaring stories with other old salts is surely a regular pastime of the hardened sailor, wandering up and down Acton High Road in search of The Guardian, hardly constitutes the spirit of adventure – mind you, then again, it is Acton. But look, I don’t wish to pour cold water on your earnest endeavours and I am willing to suspend disbelief. It may be that you are not just hanging out at home, waiting for your next sailing holiday around the Algarve. You may well be studying detailed charts in the library and wrestling with fathoms and plumb lines, but I think it may be time for another missive so we can remain truly connected to your holiday, sorry, adventure and so we can set aside any creeping cynicism.
    I did mention that I had some ship to shore radio experience and I think you may have heard the story before, but since it comes from a time when I was AT SEA, it seemed appropriate. I had been aboard the luxury yacht, Lambda Mar only for a few hours and was trying very hard to settle into the lifestyle and forget all of my land-based troubles. With a gin and tonic in hand, I was approached by one of the many immaculately liveried stewards and informed that the Captain wanted to see me right away on the bridge for an urgent ship-to-shore radio call. “Who can this be?” I thought to myself. “An urgent call from the Prime minister perhaps, obviously for such an important person as I must be, aboard a luxury yacht, or most likely, an injury to one of our children”. They were staying with their Grandma at our house. My worst fears looked like being confirmed as I took the communication device being proffered by the Captain and heard the voice of my Mother-in-Law. She said she was sorry but felt this was a big enough emergency to have contacted the luxury yacht’s telephone. So what was it? A broken leg perhaps, or a car accident? No, the reason for the call was to ask me what she ought to say to the angry and disappointed parents who had been let down by the breakdown of our Postman Pat van and subsequent lack of party for 4 year old Chantelle. It wasn’t so much being bothered by the seemingly trivial matter by Grandma that upset me, it was more the complete bursting of any kind of illusory bubble that I might actually belong on this super yacht, rather than be the kind of person who was running Postman Pat parties for a living. As I left the bridge I bravely tried to laugh it off, as if this was simply one of thousands of such events I organised around the globe, but the Captain’s smirk dampened any last vestiges of delusion.
    So Julian and Lyn, when the right conditions arrive and you really do get cracking across the Atlantic, just know that not only will I be thinking about you constantly, but I will also be awaiting your call.
    Love to you both,
    Al x

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