s h i f t

990618.1641 penzance , cornwall

a bench outside the heliport , sitting in the ferocious sunlight . i’ve been off the islands for almost two weeks , my longest absence so far . in little more than a week i must return again to london for my monthly set meeting . after that i hope it will be possible to stay in the islands uninterrupted for four weeks .

.1831 porthmellon , st mary’s

the beach is deserted other than myself , tucked amongst some rocks , and a man rigging his wayfarer dinghy . it is calming to sit and hear only the gentle churning of the waves on the sand .

there’s a boat for agnes at 1950 , following this evening’s gig race . until then i’ll drift around , reabsorbing this place .

a second wayfarer is wheeled onto the beach . a third dinghy , this time of a different denomination . a fourth mast can be seen approaching from the road . perhaps a race is in the offing ?

last saturday , in london , i enlisted craig’s assistance in choosing a tent . perhaps there’s something about software engineers that beguiles one into trusting their advice ? it always sounds so logical and well-considered . in any case the rucksack and sleeping bag he helped me select a couple of years ago have served me well . the tent we settled on is notionally specified for three men , though how this measure is arrived at remains mysterious to me . it looks as though it would be comfortable for two . ideal for one , plus a few boxes . enough ventilation to avoid it becoming an oven in bright weather . sufficient anchorage to prevent it taking to the air in windy weather . it will be tested hard on both counts .

during the next week i must gather my boxes from johann’s barn and the gugh , mount them onto pallettes , ship them to st mary’s and have them taken by road to their new homes . i must set up office in a shed at normandy farm ( hopefully a phone line has been installed by now ) and erect my tent beside gaz and button’s cabin at watermill . i must also put together a web page to go with the sse recruitment poster i produced with bobo and seb whilst in london . the prospects for a relaxing week are somewhat slim .

the boathouse doors are open and the st mary’s gigs are being prepared for launching . time to head back towards the quay .

.1949 the seahorse

everything’s falling back into place . as i was walking off porthmellon i recognised some familiar faces by the boathouse . now that shah ( the agnes gig ) is laid up for maintenance , her crew is racing in islander . it was they i saw preparing for action , all looking very tanned . tonight’s race is from st mary’s to agnes , so the turk’s head will be busy later . gigs mill restlessly about the harbour . golden eagle , nournour , bonnet , islander . czar arrives , towed from tresco by a fishing boat . the flotilla of spectator boats detaches from the quay and jostles for position around the gigs .

more boats arrive : dolphin , tregarthens , men a vaur . they form a line ready to start . all at once several crews start rowing , thinking the race has begun . but the race official , here aboard seahorse , orders them back to the line .

they’re off !

good heavens , islander is in the lead . nearly a full length ahead of czar .

but czar pulls up , then bonnet , then golden eagle , which almost clips its oars against the steval rocks . come on islander !

it’s a long row to agnes . the final order is : golden eagle , czar , bonnet , islander , nornour , dolphin , men a vaur , tregarthens . a very respectable showing from the agnes crew .

990619.1143 tamarisk farm , st agnes

back where i started . johann’s letting me stay while i organise the move to st mary’s . it’s change-over day for visitors and this morning i helped change the bedlinen . it was strange being in the house where i lived through february , march and april . it seemed very bare .

my proposal for the digital workshop seems to have gone down well with the council’s economic development committee . i am summoned to make a presentation at their next meeting . and the duchy land steward sent a friendly ( though non-committal ) response to the proposals i sent him . it all feels like modest progress . enough to be going on with .

: cH

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