Irish debacle - Bulletin five
It's going Pear-Shaped!
So much for bloody plans. The carefully prepared Itinerary, despite being conceived using Critical Path Analysis, GameTheory, Catastrophy Theory, Advanced Calculus, e=mc2, Sudoko and the very best that Meterological science can offer is totally buggered. The boat sits in Kinsale, County Cork, where it has rained for days, the precipitation sometimes falling vertically but mainly blown horizontally. The congestion at the marina has become acute, as more boats seek shelter and those in residence cower in harbour, gloomily contemplating the weather forecasts. One poor fellow sits under an umbrella in the cockpit of a tiny yacht, under the lee of the exhaust of the generator on a vulgar super-yacht. This is visited periodically by beauticians, chiropodists and all manner of socially useless people.
The crew of 'Deneys Reitz', down to Broontroosers and Totty, have concluded:
- We have seen the full Atlantic in a good mood, with a 4 metre gentle swell that made the sea like an undulating countryside with hills up which Deneys climbed only to speed down troughs 100 metres wide. Do we (BT) wish to see this topography in a bad mood?? NO!!
- No bloody way are we creeping forward in the brief windows between gales to end up stuck in an isolated anchorage, unable to get off the boat with our brains rotting from cabin fever and ending up eating each other.
- No, best to stay in Kinsale, home to good pubs and excellent restaurants, hire a car, stock up on essentials like cooking gas and alcohol and conduct an in-depth anthropological study on the culture and habits of the West of Ireland, until the great soothsayer Bartlett relents and announces the oncoming of a massive high pressure area. Then we can go round Mizen Head and face the dreaded West.
(No sign of anything remotely cheerful, wise captains should stay in port. Silly buggers who go out in this lot are simply providing sport for the lifeboat service, who do love a little amusement - Bartlett).
Deneys Reitz Anthropoligal survey of the Western Irish character and habits. First interim report.
This report takes the form of a story, entitled "How to change a gas bottle in West Cork, Ireland".
We are nearly out of gas, so is the yacht from the Shetland Islands next to us. A car has been hired from Cork airport, so we can venture forth to the Calor Gas suppliers. Bloody hell! There are no such suppliers in Kinsale, only purveyors of stuff called Kozangas, which has completely different connectors. Anyhow, the bottles supplied by Mylie Murphy, the official Kozangas agent off a dilapidated trailer come with a bonus of free rust. No way would we blow ourselves up with that crap kit, even if he stocked compatible regulators and connectors, which he doesn't.
Logic dictates that we drive to Crosshaven in Cork harbour, a mere 25 miles, where there are millions of boats - proper gas must be freely available there.
Arrive in Crosshaven. Grocer's sign says, "Calor Gas Supplied Here". Good Oh!
Bugger! Woman in shop refuses to supply us because we have an English bottle. Neither will she sell us one of hers, because she only has 4 left and we can't exchange a bottle like hers. Sod it! But, be of good heart says she, salvation is close at hand in the form of Cork Gas Supplies, only 30 miles away at the airport. She draws a map. Two hours later we find a gas supplier totally by accident, her map being completely inaccurate. Anyhow, Cork Gas Supplies has closed down or moved to Uranus or something. Nice young man in another gas supplier looks at our bottle and is cheerful and positive: "Ah, sure, that's an English bottle, and we have the machine to fill it, only its broken down". Blast! However, there is good news, there is another gas supplier which can do it in Whitehead, not far away. Young man kindly rings the real deal supplier and converses for what seems hours about Gaelic football. "Now", says he eventually, "First the good news, they can do it. Now the not so good news - Whitehead (not far away) is one hour's drive, its 2.30 pm and they knock off at three". Shit! Try again to-morrow.
Follow written directions to Whitehead, more than an hour's drive from Kinsale, and end up in an oil refinery and industrial gas plant. Man there says that our bottle is too small for them (ha, ha, ha). Why don't we try the Calor Gas depot, not far away.
Arrive at Calor Gas depot after lengthy drive. Kindly security guard calls man who arrives and says - "That's an English bottle". After tearful explanation of our quest for gas, and the travails of our great boat journey, man takes our bottle and reappears with a brand new full one. When we ask how much, whispers that it's free, what with the terrible Irish weather and our long journey an' all. Don't worry about Seamus in Security, he's squared it wit' him. Huzzah! Huzzah!
Now show them the small bottle from the Shetland boat. "Ah, we're terrible sorry, so we are, we can't do dat one. But fear not, help is at hand, we know of an entirely reliable supplier who'll put you right, not so far down the road - and o'ill draw ye a map showing how to get there, it's dead simple".
We sit in car, listening to the rain beating on the roof. Man sits in security cabin, carefully drawing on a piece of paper. Crew of Deneys Reitz reading newspaper and puzzling out Soduku. Eventually the man beckons us back to the cabin and proudly offers us his 'map'. On it is a careful and detailed drawing of a Zebra crossing, with white and shaded bits filled in and the words 'WATER' and 'O'TOOLES'.
Man explains that we must turn left at roundabout after the zebra crossing when the harbour inlet (water) shows up on the left, which is just after O'Toole's pub (O'TOOLES) on the right. Unfortunately, the roundabout is two miles down the road, so he can't draw it on his map. We leave, drive 10 zebra crossing-free miles, come to O'Tooles, turn left at the roundabout and end up at a tool hire depot. "No", says the friendly man, "We don't do gas, never have, but they keep on sending people down here".
He calls his brother, who is full of helpful ideas "Sure, de army surplus place is guaranteed, so it is". He draws a map of how to get there whilst his brother searches the directory, rings the 'guaranteed supplier' who say that they have never done gas. Brother scrunches up his map. They perform this charade four times, before announcing a dead ringer, sure-fire supplier, Mahers in Cork City.
Drive into Cork centre in the rush hour, get lost owing to a totally inaccurate map. Eventually we find Mahers, the cast iron guaranteed supplier, which turns out to be a Fitness Centre!!.
After sitting in the car, alternately beating the steering wheel and emitting sad little whimpers, we have one last try and drive back to the airport gas supplier, who has the right bottle in stock, under a pile of rubble in the corner of the workshop.
We return to marina with the two bottles. "Many thanks", say the Shetlanders, "Hope you didn't have to go to any trouble". "Come and have a drink", says Don "And we'll tell you all about it".
- The West Cork Irish are friendly, love to tell stories, want to know all about you. They are kindly, generous, helpful and have little sense of time being in short supply.
- There is no sign at all of the Celtic Tiger in this part of Ireland. But the Celtic Golden Retriever is much in evidence.
- Their perception of distance is completely dominated by their desire to please. (Shure 'tis no distance at all, at all = I don't wish to upset you by the fact that its 30 miles).
- They can't draw maps for toffee.
- They are so anxious to be of help that they will give you complete bullshit to please. (Like Maher's Fitness and Health supplies gas).
The crew of Deneys Reitz have left the boat in Kinsale, and are not returning until there is a prospect of a spell of fair weather, whenever that may come. Bartlett has not yet detected an Area of High Pressure - maybe we have run out of them for the year.
Don is also heading for a dentist with suspected tooth abcess - having failed to find two dentists in Kinsale - "Sure, you would have been lucky if you had come yesterday, but he's on holiday now, so he is - Sure 'an all, he's just gone off sick, could be some time, I thought he looked real pale, so he did".
Yours aye from a stable house and steady bed in Cretingham, so 'tis.
Totty and Broontroosers.