Thursday 15th – Mother-watch – the Sequel

I arrived in the galley this morning at 6.30am – having had very little sleep due to the violent motion of the boat.  Actually it wasn't really that violent but the wind had picked up again and we were hooning along upwind, at around 10 knots, heeled over and crashing off the occasional extra big wave – all things we had long forgotten about! Chloe had last night been nominated to do 'mother' with me today as Paul – who was on the rota - was still struggling with his injured knee and finding it difficult to stand and move around. Unfortunately Chloe who had also had very little sleep, was obviously not relishing the thought of the challenge of the galley and on the next big crash of a wave turned green and threw up into the galley bin – several times!  I ushered her off to go and “get horizontal” with a bottle of water and set about trying to make porridge, get teas and coffees on the go and clean up the mess left by the night watch – who to be fair, had obviously had quite an ordeal so washing up had not been high on their agenda!
Mike B came to the rescue and pitched in to help me through a breakfast time in a violently mobile galley where nothing stayed in one place unless you held on to it.  With one hand holding on yourself, to try and avoid several cracked ribs, 'doing' anything was somewhat challenging.  Even getting a half filled mug of tea or coffee from the galley up to the crew on deck involved a human chain of passing from person to person. Moving around the boat and keeping the liquid contents in the mug you were carrying was unrealistic!  This was going to be a tough day!  However, in the words of that great orator, Billy Ocean, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going” so I rolled my imaginary sleeves up and got stuck in.
One of the many great things living on the boat had revealed, is that on the whole while modern day has made whingers and moaners of many of us – underneath it all there still lies a solid bedrock of human decency and kindred spirit.  This today showed itself in Paul – who in his prime we all call “Mr Happy” to his face (he could moan for England) but now he got himself up onto his sore leg and came to help me out in the unstable galley.  Not only that but while he wedged himself into a corner where he could dry-up in comparative safety, he did it with cheer, good grace and hardly a bad word to say against the world in general!
What started off as a potentially awful day really turned out to be quite pleasant!  I pottered in the galley, Paul took charge of lunch and I was happy to assist.  The wind eased a tad, so lunch came and went without any real danger to life. I then decided to experiment with some cookie dough mix as a treat for the troops.  The mix needed water, egg and oil.  We had water and I figured that milk was the closest thing to egg and oil (well it had protein and fat in it) so lobbed (technical cooking term) a load of that in instead and waited 10 minutes to see what would materialise after baking..
What came out of he oven looked very similar to that which had gone in so back they went and after another 20 minutes I decided that the 'round dollops' finally looked vaguely like cookies. After a quick taste test I concluded they tasted near enough like cookies too, so they were all served up at 4pm with mugs of tea and coffee to much over-generous praise and thanks from the crew.
The dinner prep soon started and Chloe declared herself well enough to help – although she hadn't communicated that to her face!  She did a sterling job though and despite the wind picking up which meant dishing up the Beef stew, carrots and smash required us to have the combined skills of circus jugglers, tight-rope walkers and plate spinners.  Sadly we didn't have those skills so after a couple of particularly big waves, four of the ten bowls we'd already served up went for a classic baseball 'home-run' slide before emptying their entire contents all over the galley. Eventually everyone was fed and I heaved a sigh of relief that the mission had been accomplished with no worse than a few good bruises gained on my part and no apparent symptoms of food poisoning in the rest of the crew.  The other positive note from the day, I reasoned, was that I'd had a full body work-out just trying to keep upright and that I must have easily burnt off more calories than I'd consumed that day!