I’ve left…but I’m back!

I had an amazing send off on Saturday 9 July from Maldon Town Quay, Essex. The mayor turned up and loads of friends and supporters too. The day before I went on BBC Radio Essex to talk about Marlin’s Mission on Tony Fisher’s show. Here’s the link (I was on at 3hr and 15 minutes into the show).

I’m also now on twitter (@impracticalboat) but haven’t got to grips with it yet, so I hope you’ll tweet me and I’ll try to figure out how to tell you where I am and how it’s going. It would be great to meet up in person.

Frankly I was pretty choked when I said a few words on the quay before leaving, as you’ll see from a forthcoming video – watch this space! I was even more amazed to see a flotilla escort me down the river to Heybridge, and some boats, all a lot bigger than Marlin, accompanied me all the way to Bradwell.

It was blowing old boots, but south-westerly, so I unfurled a sliver of genoa and flew down the 10 miles to Bradwell in less than two hours with the tide under me.

Then I did the rounds of the pontoons meeting mates and had a great meal in The Green Man with chums Laura and Deirdre and their lovely well-behaved rescue dog, Lucy, who lay quietly under the table. It’s a friendly, civilised pub that doesn’t get all up-tight about dogs. Trouble is Bart’s not as well behaved as Lucy, but he’s still welcomed more places than I am.

When I returned to Marlin I had the best night’s sleep I’ve had in ages. Strange, back on board Marlin I felt as if I’d come home; the only thing missing was Bart. I’ve dropped off the little terror in London and I miss him loads. And in my dreams I imagined he was there, squirming past me and snuggling down into the bottom of my sleeping as he used to do when I took him sailing. The poor little chap never took to it and I stopped trying to persuade him to like sailing around four years ago.

Right now, the weather’s looking mucky, so I’ve left Marlin in Bradwell for a few days and returned home to deal with stuff while the weather clears. Arthur, the manager of Bradwell Marina, very kindly gave me a free berth.

I’ve had huge support from friends, strangers who’ve become friends, and the marine industry, all of whom have helped with expertise, guidance, equipment and hard labour, and supported the charity for my bizarre viral condition (gaincharity.org.uk).

Marlin’s Mission has begun.