Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Silver linings

I won't let myself feel nostalgic for the Josephine cafe, but there are some things to remember kindly - the twangy, rat-a-tat chatter of the girls behind the bar, a reliable supply of baguettes baked in-house, my daily dose of espresso, served with a tiny sugary biscuit on the side, and a table at which to sit while my load of washing goes through its paces in the laundromat next door. Tomorrow, the weather gods and other random forces permitting, we'll leave the Josephine and Port Napoleon behind us.

This is how the mistral came in the night before last - with a brilliant sky to the north-west. It's been blowing hard since early yesterday but is predicted to die later this afternoon, allowing us to lift the dinghy. Melinda, marvellous woman, is busy again with needle and thread, constructing padded sleeves to protect the dinghy's topsides from pressure exerted downwards by the sharp steel undersides of the davit arms.

Dave and I are consulting a range of weather sites, and if we're truthful, neither of us have a clue. Paul, the electrician, dropped by this morning and told of being in Monaco yesterday  on a 50 m yacht which was dragging its anchor under the assault of a storm which arrived from the south-west. Monaco, we often hear, doesn't tolerate badly-behaved wind, by royal decree. Someone's getting their instructions muddled up there.

For the past week or so, the cockpit of Enki has been a very sociable place in the evening. Markus and Ori are regulars, and last night Sylvain dropped by for a glass of rose (put an accent on the e, please). Provencal rose is a fine drink, and we'll be sorry to leave that behind. This particular brew comes from the vineyard of an Englishman who owns Elena, a classic 55 m yacht on which Ori crewed for a couple of years. He puts it in square-bottomed bottles for more secure stowage in the floating cellar.

We'll be sorry to leave the lovely Ori behind too. She's still two or three weeks away from being able to leave Port Napoleon on the classy racing machine she's been bringing back to life since last summer, when we first met her here.  Nausicaa is 39 foot Swan, a Ron Holland design built in 1977, owned by a lawyer who lives in Nice and has employed Ori to skipper her. Ori has run the gauntlet of Port Napoleon's frustrations, as we have, but she's done it alone. She's a gutsy girl, Israeli by nationality but of the sea by choice, not afraid to show her vulnerability but also not prepared to walk away from such a prize. In a month, she'll be sailing Nausicaa down the west coast of Corsica. She hangs onto that on dark days, and she never quite forgets how to laugh.

The washing cycle's well and truly finished. The lunch crowd is arriving at the Josephine and I've overstayed my welcome. Time to pay the bill and get out of here.

No comments:

Post a Comment