Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Cunning Plan

It was Friday morning and Joe said he had a Cunning Plan. We would go to Mountshannon that evening in the camper van with the dinghy on tow. After a sail we'd eat in The Snug, a favourite eatery of ours that's only open at the weekend. It's a bistro/pizza house with excellent wine and food and music.

Our sailing dinghy. Photo by Richard Little.
Ok, I said. It's a good plan. And we can have some tunes afterwards in the hotel. There's a new(ish) session started up in the Mountshannon Hotel that we'd been meaning to go to for while.

The Cunning Plan worked. We hadn't forgotten how to launch the boat - it's been in the water for most of the summer, so it was a distinct possibility. The wind moderated enough to be not too scary and it was blissfully warm. Odd being in Mountshannon in the van instead of the boat though.

There were a few discussions among people in the harbour about the proposed new Waterways Ireland bye-laws. The one that concerns me the most is the change from the five-day rule to the three-day rule. This will be incomprehensible to non-boating readers, but do not despair! It's quite simple. At the moment you can leave your boat in a public harbour for five days, after which you are supposed to move it on. This allows boaters who wish to traverse the system to travel over the weekend and leave the boat in a harbour during the week. You can make good progress this way, and it opens up the waterway to people who cannot take more than a week or two weeks off work.

Waterways Ireland have been attempting to police this five-day rule over the last couple of years. They've even lifted some persistent harbour hoggers out of the water altogether. Now they are proposing a three-day stay only, which is what they have in the north. If they want to make the bye-laws consistent throughout the island, then bring in the five-day rule up there.

We got in another sail before we left Mounsthannon on Saturday, but we were across the other side of the lake when the wind dropped altogether. We weren't moving at all. So we dropped the sails and went for a mooch with the outboard propelling us. Into a sweet little bay that's too shallow for a cruiser. There were a couple of boat sheds, and houses with little jetties, and a feeling of other worldness. It was flat calm which was a Good Thing as Joe noticed the outboard was overheating. Luckily we have oars on board. Nothing like a good row to keep your spirits up. I love rowing actually, but I'm stiff today. Not used to it.

This was followed by an aborted trip to Terryglass. I had the bright idea that it would be good to try out sailing there this morning after a jolly evening at the harbour. As we arrived around seven it started to rain. Lashed. Pissed down. Localised flooding and so on. And people trying to put up tents in it which was diverting for a while. After it got dark and still hadn't stopped raining we drove home. It was bone dry.

Produce from the garden! In the photo a basketful picked today.

And a flower in what I like to think of as the Mediterranean garden because it's hot and dry and full of flowers that don't do well anywhere else.

The flower is an Osteospermum which sounds like a whale with arthritis.

And butterflies on the lavender. So many butterflies. I think there's a blurred bee in that picture too.

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