Friday 18 September 2009

Beaulieu Blunder

Work has been manic, so we decided to sail over to the Beaulieu River to get away at the weekend.

Unusually the wind was in the east giving us a fast and easy sail, we were soon working our way up this beautiful wooded river to Buckler’s Hard.

One of England's most attractive and unusual villages, Buckler's Hard lies on the banks of the river in the heart of the New Forest and totally preserved, the village is without modern road or street lighting. One can almost imagine that you are back in the 18th century. Historically, it is famed as the place where some of the ships of Nelson's fleet were built and the remains of those activities can still be seen,

As the glorious afternoon sunshine started to fade, we discovered that we had accidentally left the spare baby milk at home and had only enough for one more feed. With no shops in the area, our only option was to head back home and quickly. The tide had turned against us and although fortunately it was neaps, it was going to be a slog.

In the most perfect conditions we chugged our way, against tide and the last, light winds of the day, back along the Solent towards Hamble and home. Despite being annoyed at ourselves, the evening was delightful. As dusk fell the restored paddlewheel ship “Waverley” ran up Southampton water, lit up with floodlights and a party in full swing. The sea was calm and a deep, almost purple blue colour, the sun went down in spectacular style, the sky blood red.

Darkness fell as we were making our approach to the cardinal buoy at the mouth of the Hamble river. We’ve sailed in and out of the river hundreds of times but it was easy to see how confusing things would be to someone unfamiliar, as the darkness disguises distance and the leading marks and lit buoys are lost against the riot of lights from the shore.

Soon though, we were tied up to the town quay and I was sprinting up the cobbled high street to catch the late night shop, where fortunately they were well stocked with baby milk.

Shortly after and back at our mooring, we gave Joe his late night feed, completely unaware of the minor crisis which had so nearly interrupted his routine.

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