Very, very early in the year and there we were, anchored in the creek, the ebb sliding by black as ink under the great arch of the Milky Way. On the saloon table were bottles of wine-both full and empty, the remains of a Christmas pudding and assorted fragments of pies.
The Coleman lamp was dispensing a golden light and a grateful warmth. And someone said, ‘I had better go and check the anchor.’ Silence fell. After a while, someone else said, ‘I don’t think you could go and check the anchor even if you wanted to, which you don’t.’ We knew what he was saying.
He was saying that the festive season had left its mark. The ship’s company had assumed characteristics which indicated that we had better do quite a lot of press-ups, but it is hard to do press-ups if your body shape makes it difficult for your arms to reach the deck. So the conversation turned to exercise regimes.
In summer it is pretty straightforward. Dahlia weighs seven tons, and often you find yourself hauling her about the place as if she was a lightweight punt. One of the principal sources of exercise is the windlass, which is manual, and which hauls the hook up about 12in per crank.
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