A Few Chilly Days

I was really feeling the need to walk on Saturday. I’ve been so hemmed in since the attack and I’ve lots to think about too. Walking helps me think usually. I set out after lunch, well, quite late in the afternoon really, which was stupid as it was very cold and the dark comes early this time of the year.

I couldn’t help thinking about all the walking I did when Nemle died, but this was so different. Back then farms and fields surrounded the Harbour and I could walk in the landscape, now the Harbour is surrounded by houses, our back gate is locked, and no one knows who we are.

I overdid the walking and arrived back aching all over. Then I was silly enough to fall asleep in my armchair, then stagger off to bed without making up the fire. It was bitterly cold when the time came to get up, which served me right really. Thank goodness Day Bringer‘s plumbing was alright though. If that had frozen I could have had a real problem.

I spent Sunday snug on Day Bringer after I had been across to the library to choose a couple of books. Reading all day is a rare indulgence and I felt a bit glutted when I finished the book. It started snowing mid-afternoon and by half past three it was nearly dark. I did make time to sing, which made me feel a bit better about things.

Today, Monday, I woke up to a world of white so I think it must have snowed all night. I’ll need to be careful on the gantries. A fall could set me back considerably given that my ribs and collar bone are still not properly healed.

Such a silly thing happened this morning. I went out to meet the coal man who was bring coal for the house. I wanted to order bags rather than loose coal for the Silberay to buy at the Gathering. Without thinking I said something about the boats coming back. He looked at me strangely then started to humour me. Obviously he thought I was some kind of lunatic. He insisted on shepherding me into the house to Fylan, who told him I was harmless, just deluded. We had a laugh when he left, but it made me realise how little we are known now.


Getting a Handle on the Job

I tried to do what Teg suggested and in a way it helped, but in another way it just scared me, since to be a GOOD Harbour Master demands the kind of commitment I’m not sure I’m ready to give.

I had a bit to do with Bixa a few years ago when she was Harbour Master and I remember how impressed I was with how well she knew me. When I really thought about it I felt a bit ashamed at how few of the Silberay I know anything of – their names of course, but not much else – so that has to be a priority.

I remember how angry I have been when decisions that affected me were made without consultation, but I know that I’m not very good at that, consultation and collaboration often seem to get in the way of action.

Tippa rang on Monday when I was studying the rolls. She wants a tow back to the Harbour because she has lost her propeller. I’ve promised to send the next Silberay who rings from her direction. I didn’t say anything to her, but a lost prop suggest poor ongoing maintenance and when I looked up the records I couldn’t see any evidence of a dry dock booking for five years or more. I know she doesn’t earn a great deal but neglecting maintenance can be costly.

Her call reminded me though that I will need to organise the regular tradesmen to be here and ready to work on the boats that need refitting for one reason or another. I would not be popular if the boats were not ready for the Consigning Ceremony.

The really good thing that happened was that Bixa rang. She is to have an apprentice and wanted to book Spring Song into the dry dock for blacking and then into the wet dock where the carpenter can work on the refit. She sounded amused at the idea of me being Harbour Master, but she was happy to answer my questions and promised to come in a month before the Gathering to give me a hand.

It isn’t quite a month since the attack and I’m still a bit tired and achy at the end of a day. I haven’t touched my clay for weeks and, more importantly, I’ve not sung. All I want to do when I get back to Day Bringer is fall into bed. Tomorrow is Saturday though and I only have to be in the office between nine and eleven, and not at all on Sunday, so hopefully I can do something about both those lacks.


I wish I hadn’t written that, but it is too late to take it back. Gilt rang today to tell me that he would not be back for the Gathering. The reason is sad for him and his mother as it is clear now that his father will not recover. I try to feel for his sadness, but all I can think of is how much I do not want to continue in this job. But what else can I do? The job has to be done and I am here doing it.

The trouble is the Gathering. Marking time, keeping things ticking over for six weeks was one thing, but planning for and organising the Gathering is something else again. It is three months away, but I don’t know where or how to begin. I suppose I have always taken it for granted, not thinking that someone had to have organised the welcome breakfast, the celebrations, the provision of goods and services, the apprentice classes. Now it seems to be my job and I don’t feel at all qualified.

I went over and saw Fylan after I got the news. I had to tell someone. She gave me lunch, but more importantly she reminded me again that Teg had been Harbour Master in his time and brought him into the kitchen to talk. He suggested I ask Jik for help, since he got me into this and he too has been Harbour Master, but I don’t want to do that. I suppose it is pride really. I never like to admit that there is anything I can’t do.

Teg did make a suggestion that appeals to me though. He advised me to think back over my experience of Gatherings and Harbour Masters and write down the good things I remember and the less good and see what I might be able to contribute to the position.

The End of Week Two

Another week over. I feel a bit as if I’m in prison I miss the water road so much. Hopefully I am restricting my complaints to my journal however as I know that Jik and Fylan only want the best for me. If I’m really honest with myself I also know that I am still not fit enough for boating.

This week passed much like the last. I’m a bit more familiar and so a bit quicker with the daily tasks which has given me some time to think and to poke around in the filing cabinets¬† and cupboards in the hope of getting a better idea of the extent of the job.

Kel has rung a couple of times wanting to know how I am. It seems a bit odd to talk to him on the telephone instead of mind to mind. I prefer that, it is closer somehow, but the telephone allows more detail and that is what Kel wants at the moment. I know finding me like that was a big shock for him. I’m so grateful he came so quickly.

Fylan continues to spoil me, cooking my supper and bringing me lunch to the office. I’d go over to the house for it but Blin continues to needle me, calling me Harbour Master in most sarcastic tones whenever I appear. It’s a shame because Teg is very supportive, he was Harbour Master about twenty five years ago and is quite happy to answer my questions. I love the way his eyes twinkle with fun sometimes. Sula and Mieka are very gentle, though Sula is surprisingly clever at diverting Blin.

I really need a bit of exercise to get me out of this grumbly mood, but the weather has been foul and Fylan advises against it. I think she would actually forbid it if she didn’t know how contrary that would make me.