Sunday, March 31, 2013

All Aboard the Grayhound

Jah Cousteau has been toiling away helping to prepare his home-to-be and a couple of weeks back Mrs The Millbooker, the High Lord of Southwick (who was a-visiting for a few days) and I were cordially invited to take a peek around.

Jah has got himself a 14 month traineeship aboard Millbrook's beautiful hand built lugger, the Grayhound, seen here on her launch day last August.

Over recent months, she's been moored alongside the old Mill after which our fair village is named, being fitted out and sandpapered and oiled and polished and heaven only knows what else.

So, ladies and germs, I now bring you a series of photos taken aboard the lovely beast that is the Grayhound. I highly recommend clicking on the link to the ship's website as well - loads of fascinating stuff on there. But look at my photos first . . .

Somehow the lovely lady looked slightly less lovely from the outside in the chill of a Cornish winter's day (which had featured an impressive hail storm with hailstones the size of marbles hurtling down from on high).

But aboard, we were quickly taken below decks (see how I avoided saying "downstairs" there, even though it was actually downstairs) to the galley (see how I avoided using the word "kitchen" there, even though it is actually a kitchen). Where it was all warm and cosy and looking very shipshape and Bristol fashion. I'm enjoying this nautical lexicon, ooh aar me hearties.

Next to the galley and its attendant social area . . .

. . . is the first of the bunk cabins (all was still under construction, but we could see how it was coming together).

And heading forward again, the second accommodation cabin with en suite head (see how I avoided using the word "toilet" then, even though it is a toilet). I don't quite understand "head" as a nautical euphemism for toilet. It's not as if you use your head in it or anything. Or perhaps sailors do. Perhaps they have a different physical make up to the rest of us.

And it's here that we catch our first glimpse for this posting of the High Lord of Southwick inspecting the lovingly jointed woodwork.

We admired some of Jah Cousteau's knot work (oh yes, he tied these monkey fists himself).

Back through the galley and then aft through to the frighteningly small hatchway that leads from the deck to the crew's sleeping quarters. Yep - that's it. Limbo skills are a desirable asset for crew members. Moderately overweight, poorly sighted, rapidly stiffening (quiet in the cheap seats) middle-aged men should think twice before applying.

This moderately overweight, poorly sighted, rapidly stiffening (oi! I said quiet in the cheap seats, that's quite enough of your sniggering) middle-aged man did, however, boldly squeeze himself into the tight hole (stop sniggering, dammit) to take a look where Jah will be sleeping for more than a year at sea.

It looks a bit like this (this is actually the Mate's bunk - foam mattress to be fitted later). Jah and the other trainee will more or less top-and-tail in interwoven bunks on the other side of the same cabin.

And with that, we were back on deck and saying our thank yous and cheerios to Marcus (to whom the Grayhound belongs) for showing us around, but who successfully avoided being in any of my photos. And to Jah Cousteau who braved the bitingly cold wind on the deck with us.

I must say it was a fascinating tour, and I sincerely hope the venture is a resounding success for Marcus and Freya as they take paying passengers around all sorts of exciting places. The ship's full itinerary is on their website.

Do take a look:, a trip aboard upon the high seas (or indeed, the English channel) is nowhere near as expensive as you might think. What an adventure. Go on - you know you want to.

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