Posted by Mark on Sunday, 25 September 2016
Whilst all this battling with the hinges was going on, the weather had been sunny, calm and fine, however the day I got everything back together, there was a storm heading in from America and the ferry crossing could be rough, out of choice I prefer not to do rough crossings, although I have survived some large storms in the past! So I decided to wait things out, this also meant that I could attend a couple of meetings of committees that I am on. Work had also unexpectedly escalated and what with everything I did not leave on the Monday but the Friday instead!
This time of year I would not expect any problem with getting a space on the ferry, however apparently because the weather had stayed good, there were many more people on the island and the ferries were well booked, but I managed to get a slot on the midday sailing on Friday, or so I thought! The other sailings are either very early in the morning ( about 7am) which as I have nearly and hour’s drive to the ferry of choice means a far too early start. The later ( 5pm ) sailing means that you can’t get much traveling done on the other side, so in the best Goldilocks tradition, the lunchtime sailing (12 pm ) was ‘just right’, or so I thought!
I got up at 8am and had a nice leisurely sort out of the last stuff for Badger, emptied the rubbish bins from the house, fed and cuddled the cats and headed to the port, stopping on the way to fill up with fuel and to buy some snacks for the journey and a local newspaper. I was feeling nice and relaxed, the sun was shining, the forecast was good for yesterday and today, but getting winds and rain the afternoon, so all was looking good.
As I approached the harbor I was surprised to see the ferry in, with people and cars in it! Never mind I thought, perhaps I got the time slightly wrong, it hadn’t sailed yet. I parked up in the now empty car park and popped into the booking office, the lady there looked a little surprised to see me. “I’m booked on this ferry” I said, her look changed from surprise to one of puzzlement, “ are you sure?” she said “ I don’t seem to have you on the list”, “But you must have, I booked it over the phone yesterday” She looked on her computer and soon found the reason for the confusion. “Ah” she announced “ You were booked on the ferry coming BACK from Gills Bay in Scotland! Boy did I feel stupid, I had obviously misheard the guy on the phone, so when he asked me what ferry I wanted, I misheard ‘from Gills Bay’ as ‘to Gills Bay’. The next ferry would be at quarter to five that afternoon so I had a wait, oh well so be it, my mistake, but it had messed up my plans as to the rest of the journey so I needed to have a bit of a rethink.
I drove Badger to a quiet spot for a think about my plans, whilst thinking the revised route through I suddenly realised that I had not packed the charging lead for my phone! Badger is full of various leads for electronic devices so normally he can provide, but my new Nokia phone had one of these new fangled USB leads that you can plug in either way around and I only had one of these! I couldn’t manage all the weeks of the trip without my phone as it also has my email. So I would either have to drive the hour trip back and pick it up, or try and buy a replacement when I got to Scotland, perhaps in Inverness in the PCWorld there. Whilst I was just checking my ‘IT bag’ to make sure the lead wasn’t in there, I noticed that I had forgotten the USB hard disc with all my work files on it that I might need when on the trip, so a drive back home was going to be the only answer! I took my time and picked up the lead and hard disc, then on the way back to the ferry I stopped off at Leiths burger bar for one of their award winning burgers made from local produce, I thought I deserved a treat after all this and it was well past lunch time by now!
I arrived at the Ferry terminal about two hours early, but as I explained to the young lady at the desk I didn’t want to miss this ferry! She was very sympathetic and didn’t treat me as old fool who can’t read a simple timetable, even if she was probably thinking this! In comparison the ferry trip was pretty uneventful. The ferry was fully booked and I had quite a bit of company up on deck where I prefer to stand as I am not good below decks on boats. The sea was fairly calm and the journey uneventful as we were serenaded across by a quartet of car alarms. This is caused by their owners locking the cars and the anti tamper mechanism is activated. Most cars will allow you to lock them without this being activated, but it really isn’t necessary to lock your car at all! We were guilty of this crime on our first trip, but in those days the crew would go and find the owner and ask them to disable the alarm or unlock the car, nowadays they don’t bother as it happens too often on every trip.
We got into Gills Bay in Scotland around 6pm and I started my drive down, I had made up my mind to head for a little site that we had used before and I phoned ahead to book a place, only one left as it turned out! This is the first time I have travelled and camped in Badger on my own and so I had to do all the ‘Pink’ jobs that Anna would normally do as well as my tasks. I had to fully understand how the cooker worked otherwise I would end up starving, but I managed and after watching a bit of telly I made up the bed and settled in for the night. I woke up at 9 am and started to get ready as I had a fair bit of ground to make up because of the ferry debacle. Breakfast was a simple bowl of granola and a coffee and then I packed up Badger ready for the drive, it was 7:30! I had misread my analogue watch and thought 7 am was 9, yes I know but I have no idea how this could have happened and I have never done it before but there I was on the road nice and early, leaving behind probably several annoyed campers hoping for a lie in!