Until last year when Jen got married to Garry I lived in a household of women. At one point there was Joan, Jen, Ruth and Joan’s mum Ina. We did have a cat, Gus, but Joan had him neutered at a very early age. So you will appreciate that keeping women happy has taken up a great deal of my time over many, many years. So I cannot describe to you the importance of making sure we were in Kefalonia on 7th November to pick up Ruth, who was flying in that day.
In planning the passage I stressed to Alan that we could go anywhere and do anything as long as we made that date. In fact we had been on an easy schedule to do just that, and then there was Corfu. Suddenly, time was tight as we left Nidry.
Our route to Kefalonia took us past the island of Ithaca which as you all know was the location of Odysseus’s kingdom. It was to Ithaca that he returned after his ten year odyssey (see what I did there?) after the fall of Troy. The story goes that after ten years he arrived back just in the nick of time as his wife, Penelope, was just about to take another man. She set her suitors the task of firing an arrow using Odysseus’s bow through the ring handles of twelve battle axes standing in a row. But the game was rigged because everybody knew that the only person strong enough to bend the bow was Odysseus himself. Well his son Telemachus could do it also but that takes us down a whole other route that we don’t want to travel.
Clever lass that Penelope. Anyway, right enough Odysseus dressed as a tramp steps up, bends back the bow, cocks the arrow and fires it through the hole in the rings (not much sexual imagery there then?). Penelope was beside herself thinking she was going to have to marry a tramp, but he threw off his cloak an lo and behold it was the master himself. So they all lived happily ever after …… well for a year at least then Odysseus was expelled from his kingdom over a legal matter and it all gets very complicated after that.
We picked Ruth up in Aye Euphemia which is a small port on the eastern side of Kefalonia. Kefalonia sprung to prominence following the publication of “Captain Corelli’s Mandeline”, a war-time story of the Italian/Nazi occupation of the island which culminated in a massive earthquake that destroyed large parts of the island. Because of the war not much notice was taken of this natural disaster but when it happened again in the early 1950’s it received much more attention. There are several fault lines running through this part of the Adriatic/Ionian Seas and the risk of earthquakes is a a constant companion of the people in this part of the world.
Now that Ruth was on board, sleeping arrangements had to alter. I kicked Jon out of the “owner’s cabin” and Ruth moved in with me. I suppose I should say that Jon and I had been getting on particularly well together in the forward cabin and it was with some misgivings that we parted company, but I am sure you would see right through me. We also agreed to keep the watch rota undisturbed and Ruth would join me in my watch.
Domestic arrangements sorted, it was off to the Corinth Canal to pick up Alistair. The log showed 660 miles covered.