Crossing the Pond

JJMoon Diary
Barry and Margaret Wilmshurst
Sat 6 Jan 2007 11:20

Crossing the Pond?


I am joking, of course.  It may be reasonable for those on the Queen Elizabeth or the USS Dwight D Eisenhower to use a diminutive to demonstrate that Man has conquered his environment and his nerves, but the crew of the JJ Moon still see the Atlantic as a mighty wide ocean.  We started the crossing so long ago now that the memory is fading; due to favourable winds we have made good progress for all that time but we still have not reached half way.  Oh my! 


There has been plenty to keep us amused though, mainly connected with food.  A good deal of advice is available on which foods to buy and how to stow them.  There is not much on cooking and eating; you are supposed to bring those skills with you.  Our cooker is a quality model but the fiddles that should keep the pans on the burners are too low.  As the boat rolls they do little more than trip the pans up and send them straight to the floor.  The cooker is swung on gimbals but it locks firm at the extent of its swing on a big roll with disastrous results as the boat swings back.  The oven is a good size but the door is bottom hung and weakly sprung.  A leg of lamb in a pan will hurl itself at the door and burst through.  We tie up the door with nautical string.  The galley work surfaces are smooth and shiny but non-slip mats are a recent miracle.  A bowl on a mat is secure.  Half fill it with soup however, and at the next roll it will shoot the lot over the surface.  The cook has only two hands and there are too many things to hold on to.  There is a bum strap to keep her tight to the cooker but as the boat rolls to port she has to use at least one hand to keep her nose out of the noodles and when it rolls back to starboard the strap has dropped to behind her knees.  Both hands are now needed urgently with the pans terrifyingly on the move. 


Then the meal has to be passed up to the cockpit.  The table has fiddles and a non-slip mat and the plates have rims to stop the food slopping out.  But what about the salt, the pepper mill, mustard, bread rolls and butter?  These must be parked securely within coils of important ropes or behind the basil plant.  To use them you must put down at least one eating implement and at the next roll it will swing round the rim of the plate, over the fiddle and on to the cockpit floor.  Bend down to pick it up and you have lost the lot down the back of your neck.  None of the incidents alluded to has been made up or embroidered (well, except the bit about the back of your neck); they have all occurred in the last few days.  If I had wanted to embellish a near miss I could have described the time when I missed my grab at the hand-hold and a large pan of hot carrot and coriander soup hurtled off the cooker and into my midriff as I fell to the deck in a gooey shambles.  It didn’t because I saved it in the nick of time but for about two seconds there was an even chance of triumph or disaster, with consequent damage to person and property.  We must take the first opportunity to do something about the cooker at least.  Mind you, once a meal has been scraped together and scraped up the food is excellent, to the very great credit of the mate.


I am still worried about the ensign.  It was damaged four or five days ago and since then all the white parts have been stained with dark red Sahara dust.  Not only does it now have a hole in it but the colours are wrong…..