On the way to Scarriff Harbour for the Big Event. Ha ha. Big for me, anyway - the launch of The Skipper & Her Mate at the Scarriff Harbour Festival. We stopped for the night at Reddan's Quay in Tuamgraney. There was one other boat in - a Freeman 23, just like our first, and on board we found an Australian couple, (she originally from Clonakilty), children grown, here for the Australian winter. They'd had the boat for only a few weeks and were still in that wonderful first flush of joy. The boat came with a trailer, which seems so improbable to me. Dinghies have trailers, not 23-foot cruisers. They've plans for the Midi de France.
A short while later a sports boat came upriver, and there were our third companions for the evening. This pair were from Galway and were obviously intrepid campers - they had all the gear you'd use for camping except a tent, as they were sleeping in the (very big) cuddy. There's himself in the photo, swimming in the river next morning. Wouldn't catch me in there. That river comes off the mountain, some of it via my garden stream. It's freezing.
Next stop Scarriff. Here's Joe and Aoife approaching the Fair Green where the stage was in the process of being constructed. Bunting up. Sky blue. Looking good. This was after the two days of rain rain rain in the middle of the week. It barely stopped long enough to take the dogs out. How lucky the festival was. By Friday the rain had cleared and I was walking up the Main Street from the boat in a state verging on terror to be interviewed on Clare FM (broadcasting in a van from outside Rogers Off License) about Skipper. I've never been on the radio before so had no idea if I would dry up or stumble or mumble. As it happens I did none of those things, which was just as well as I was to feature on the Marian Finucane Show, RTE 1 radio, the next morning with Áine Lawlor (Marian being away).
I had to go home for that one as they needed a landline. I was supposed to be on at 11.40. They rang to say it would be 11.50. Jesus, the stress of waiting. Then it got to 11.55 and I knew it would be delayed again - couldn't fit it in before the Angelus at noon. Pace the floor, try to read a poem or two, page the floor, urge the phone to ring. Finally on at 12.20. No stumbles. Phew.
Great launch. Theo Dorgan, my launcher did me proud (photo by Kevin O'Shea):
I was thrilled at the crowd in the marquee. The sun shone. We took over the quay wall outside Winter Solstice for food and beverages afterwards - the table was lifted out from the saloon, and every folding chair we could glean was opened out. We'd just about finished when we noticed the sky. Everything grabbed and hurried back inside, the few remaining celebraters hustled in too as the rain began to torrent. Thunder. Lightning. Terrific.
Tremendous but it was good to capture the peace and quiet of early(ish) mornng.
And finally here's Jean, just off to Ballyvaughan after a great festival. One of this summer's new friends, an early buyer of Skipper.