Monday 15th February 1998

Jeff’s log continues with the entry for Monday 15th February 1998

Monday 15th February 1998

I rose just after 0600 and it was not for an hour before there was a sign of life from the guests. Rene got up without disturbing Les who finally broke the surface just after 0800. By that time I had written two letters and we had breakfasted. Dawn was bright and cheerful with a moderate breeze blowing in from the east.

During the day more boats left from the anchorage for the west taking advantage of the favourable breezes. “First Light” held the premium position in the harbour now. I wondered what reason the Coastguard would find to get me to move.

Les and Rene were glad of the unscheduled extra stopover on the boat and we decided on another walk. This time to the Botanical Gardens that was situated on the edge of Scarborough. As we trudged through the town it was all but deserted only litter idly wafted about the streets blown by the itinerant breezes or disturbed by the eddy caused by an occasional passing car.

We knew where the Gardens lay but were unsure of the entrance gate. This was soon elicited from two men washing a car outside the Union of Workers’ building. Soon we were inside the perimeter of the fencing and wandering along the neat paths and admiring the trees and plants therein. The evenly mown grass, that covers the park, is of a type that is broad leafed and coarse. Although it was neat and tidy, lack of funds were glaringly obvious. A lily pond had long since ruptured and its contents been removed. No attempt at repair had been made. Nor was there any effort to rectify the deteriorating and rusting aviary that no longer held captive any birds. Godzilla would have been able to squeeze between the gaps in the outer bars and mesh wire. Despite these details it was cool, restful and pleasant there.

Early in our walk, through the park, a loveable, friendly female dog that had just weaned a litter of pups joined us. She was mangy and raw sores dotted her pelt. She followed us during our walk and when we emerged on the far side, she continued to stick close by. However the path ran alongside a busy main road that took Sunday day-trippers to the beaches on the windward East Coast. Rene, worried for the safety of the dog, enticed it back into the park and shut the gate. I had barely walked a hundred yards before the dog came trotting happily by me intent on keeping station with its newfound friends.

Our walk took us on a circuitous route back into Scarborough where we resolved to again climb to the fort but by a different route. It was at this point that the dog decided to leave us for pastures new. The route was much steeper that we took this time though maybe no shorter.

The sun was, by now, in equal quantities with cloud cover as we breasted the ridge and looked out over the bay and the sea to the east. Almost everything was closed and I chatted to a beautiful black student who was studying history, surrounded by tomes of books, as she sat on the ramparts. Then the three of us relished the scenery below as we sat on a stone seat under the wide spreading tree that stood sentinel over the high land.

Wandering down again we passed a Pan Band practice area. Rene looked in and the chaps there waved to her and she waved back. They signalled her to come in and we wandered into the compound. No one was playing anything but the guys were very friendly and invited us to meet Karl. He was a jovial white haired man who made the steel drums into musical instruments. There was another man there but he had little to say, as he was exceedingly shy. He eventually did chat to Rene who admired the work that he was doing. He was hand sewing a whole array of costumes for a troupe of players in the forthcoming Trinidad Carnival. Karl explained to me how he made the steel drum but bewailed the modern drums that come from Venezuela. They are thicker and of different quality steel to those he had used in the past. It was much harder to get a true sound from them, as they did not resonate finely enough.

We left these friendly folk and walked on down to the KFC, which was about the only food stop doing business today. Inside we got into conversation with a retired journalist who came from the same town in Yorkshire as Les. He was a lonely man, over here on holiday from Trinidad.

The remainder of the afternoon was spent restfully as they had a long night ahead of them. Even so there was considerable entertainment when the ferry arrived, much earlier than usual, as a tropical dusk was rapidly falling. A large French yacht was moored behind us and the ferry came within six feet of striking the yacht as it manoeuvred to moor stern to on the quay. The people on the yacht either had nerves of steel or were plain stupid for they made no attempt at collision avoidance. After watching their attempt to re-anchor, I am tempted to go for the latter viewpoint.

The Coastguard made both them and “Chancy” pull up their anchor and move. Why “Chancy” I’ll never know since they were inside us.

Just behind “First Light” there is a marker buoy that reads, “Anchorage permitted inside of markers only”. The use of the word, “Markers” presupposes that there is more than one marker. This is not so unless you happen to be aware that the white ball, on land, lying beside the Coastguard Station happens to be the second marker! Fred Karno had nothing on this lot.

Rene dozed solidly in the cockpit and when she woke I made a snack and we reminisced about the period that they had on “First Light”. Rene looked so relaxed. The break had worked wonders on her. Les too was looking much better for the intermission. They were both sad to be leaving what they called, “Jeff’s Tours”. They said they had seen more of Tobago in a week than they had of Curacao in six months.

Rene started to get anxious as the hands moved round the clock face to the appointed hour of their departure. It will be a quiet “First Light” once they depart. Humour has been high and our natures have blended well. Finally we made the run ashore via “Chancy” for them to bid farewell to the crew who were enjoying a quiet drink on the aft deck.

Hugs and handshakes and they were away into the gloom. I returned to “Chancy” where I chatted with Stella and Gordon until the ferry left. Les and Rene were on the side deck looking out. I flashed Gordon’s torch at them but got no response and the leviathan slowly shouldered its way into Rockly Bay and to the open sea.

Stella had obviously had more to drink than was good for her and became a little offensive as the evening had worn on. That’s just Stella and I’ve learned to take no notice of it.

End of Monday 15th February 1998

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