We slowly drew south but tiredness saw a decision to head into harbour made. Susan knew the coast and so we headed into Harwich and safety. Now safety is of course a relative condition and I am sure one thing perceived as safe is not necessarily perceived so by another. The picture above shows one of many huge container ships that continuously use the port area to dock, load and unload. As we neared large ferries came and went and our fine craft a mere minnow swallowing their wash. Finally we made the entrance and neared Shotley marina and the welcome of its lock. As we neared our beloved engine cut out and we started experiencing one of those moments of cohesion. In the next 30 seconds or so we either had to manually stop the boats 14 tonnes ramming the lock at 3.5 knots or see ourselves in the local press for disabling the locking facility at the height of the season. Susan and Philip were exceptional and we seamlessly stopped with our ropes correctly attached to the lock cleats. It seemed like second nature to then be manually towed around to the waiting pontoon and yet again commence work on our engine.
Some rapid exchanges with the local chandlers saw me offered a lift into a competitors in Ipswich, spares purchased and on route to more DIY engine lessons. What was outstanding was the marina has baths! Such a simple thing but the act of putting tired and aching limbs into hot water and the subsequent relaxation was a bonus difficult to describe. I wallowed like a hippo in a mud hole and then proceeded to struggle to get out but it was worth every moment. From that point something changed and everything seemed to commence going right. I’m not sure if this was God but I thanked him anyway and then thanked him again. The engine repairs worked. The engine worked. My body worked. We slept like kings and when I awoke on the Sunday morning I felt like a human being again.
Folk may mock the concept of heaven. They may deny the existence of God. These are after all God given rights, the exercise of our freewill, the right to deny, the right to choose, the right to say no. On this fine day I would challenge anybody not to be buoyed up by the euphoria onboard. Even Richard Dawkins would not condemn us for praising God, thanking God and feeling blessed had he been on board. God was everywhere today and after all, this is her boat.