video. On the way out ten days ago, I had cocooned myself up in a blanket and sleeping bag against the mal de mer. It had been difficult to sleep because I was being regaled with shop-talk about pernicious infectious diseases in the hospitals of North Carolina. My last night before leaving England had been spent at a rare knees-up with my brother and sister and their spouses. "Knees-under" would probably be a more accurate description because it more dinner round a table than dancing upon it. My sister lives in yet more unsuitable accommodation than us. We live 300m from the county road up a dirt track with a 1:10 gradient. They live 150m from the county road up a precipitous footpath with a 1:3 gradient. One slip and you will be shoooshed down hill and dumped in front of the traffic. Without vehicular access, they have to carry everything - milk flour coal pot-plants biscuits - up hill by hand or with the help of a nifty tracked power-barrow. aNNyway, The Sister had to leave at 0500hrs for a cross-country road-trip and I offered to walk down through the woods (through a storm of bird-song) to see her off. Not worth going to bed again at that stage, so I didn't get much sleep that night.
But it all worked our for the best because it meant I was more inclined to sleep on board the ferry as she carved a path through the waves - which were moderately mighty as we left the shelter of Milford Haven. This time I was regaled with endless stories from the two elderly ladies in the next bay who were comparing notes on the many and varied medical misadventures sustained by themselves and their extensive acquaintance. I also tried to shut my ears to numerous anecdotes about losing or nearly losing lunch at sea. Really, next time I'll bring ear-plugs or, probably better, ear-phones connected to a white-noise gizmo.