Mother and Father went home on Saturday last and Jik and Dom set out again too. Tippa’s blacking was finished so Jik thought he should go back to his assigned route. He has promised to come in early though, before the Gathering, so he can advise me.
Tippa is very happy with the blacking and pleased because Toby has done a great job of the welding on the counter. I know she cannot afford to pay for that as well as the new propeller, so I told her the Silberay would pay, despite our fairly desperate financial state. She has offered to spring clean the annex, ready for the Gathering instead. I wouldn’t have thought of it, but Mother did say the whole place looked rather uncared for, so Tippa’s offer is a real help.
I’d always thought she disapproved of me and although we were apprenticed at the same time we’ve never really been friends. Actually that is probably why. I was rather a show-off back then and I’m afraid Marheh the Great was often in evidence despite Nemle’s efforts to restrain me.
Anyway, we have actually been talking and getting on quite well. She did an amazing job cleaning the kitchen and invited me to eat there with her. She headed out this morning, Sunrise all fixed.
Tomorrow Toby is bringing his family for the promised boat ride. I’m quite looking forward to taking Day Bringer out for a couple of hours, though a bit apprehensive about my guests.
Quite a full day yesterday. Father and I took the bus into Sefton Middle to met the welder. At first he and Father seemed to be getting on well together, but then Father said something about me being Silberay. It was horrible. The welder, Toby, went pale and stepped back from me shouting to Father to get me away, as if I was poisonous. It really hurt, but I knew I had to leave for Father to have any chance of changing his mind.
I wandered into the centre of town trying to listen with my heart. Then I found a little corner out of the way where I could sing. It was hard to enter, I felt a bit vulnerable in the street and, if I’m honest with myself, I think Toby’s fear of me still hurt and that got in the way.
Lifting the song was hard too. There was no joy in the music that I joined and it was almost more than I could manage to modulate the drab tones.
Maybe I managed to offer a little light in the end, but I did not stay very long before heading back towards Toby’s workshop. I had not reached the lane where I needed to turn when I met Father and Toby coming towards me. Father must have done a lot of very persuasive talking. Although Toby still seemed to be afraid of me he had agreed to come back with us to the Harbour so that I could take him around and explain things.
In the end I think it was meeting Mother that really persuaded him to trust me enough to allow me to guide him onto Day Bringer with Mother and Father and take him for a little jaunt around the Harbour. It was so good to be at the tiller again even for such a short time.
After that it was obvious that Toby felt a lot more comfortable. He went along to the dry dock to look at Sunrise quite confidently and promised to come back on Monday with his tools and the plate that is needed for her hull.
I offered to make a time to take him and his family out onto the water road and he said he would like that. I wonder if his wife will agree.
A busy day yesterday. Father and Jik went over the accounts with me and confirmed what I knew. Disaster really! Dwindling capital, not much income and more expenses. I dread having to tell the Silberay.
Mother took herself for a wander and visited the old ones. I think she enjoyed meeting Fylan, but Blin’s comments about me made her uneasy. She says the buildings, especially the kitchen, are in need of attention before anyone would want to pay to use them.
Dom offered to cook for us all for the evening meal. I had to ask Tippa too, we couldn’t leave her to eat on her own. It would have been unkind. We dined in the flat since that offered the most room. As things turned out it was quite useful that Tippa was there. She was rather rude and disbelieving at first when I said we would be bankrupt in ten years if we didn’t change our ways, but when Father and Jik confirmed what I said she became quite supportive.
Jik has been really helpful to her, spending ages with her in the dry dock scraping down Sunrise‘s hull and I think she is disposed to be an admirer.
This morning I made an appointment to visit the welder today, after lunch. Father will come with me since he is not Silberay and so, hopefully, can understand and explain better than I can, why the boats disappear and who we are.
Mother and Father arrived yesterday and Jik brought in Sunrise with Tippa. It was lovely to see Autumn Wind come through the entrance. Jik was very formal and kept calling me Harbour Master while Tippa was present but I had a nice hug when I joined him and Dom on Autumn Wind for lunch.
In the afternoon we all worked to get Sunrise into the dry dock. They wouldn’t let me help very much but at least it got me out of the office for a bit. I felt for Tippa when we saw the state of the hull. I know it is her own fault, she has really neglected proper maintenance, but she was almost in tears which is very unlike her.
Jik and Dom have offered to stay and help her with scraping down the hull and doing the blacking, but I’ll need to find a welder urgently now because there are a couple of places around the edges of the counter that are going to need new plate welded on. The man who came last Gathering doesn’t want to deal with “disappearing boats and other weird stuff” again.
I was just going back to the office when Mother and Father arrived. Mek was snappy with me because I was not on the spot to greet them but he did take my work back for firing and agreed to bring me more clay when he comes back – not that I have much time to use it at the moment.
I took Mother and Father up to the flat and left them to settle in. I think they will be comfortable enough there. They came for supper on Day Bringer. They are quite used to being guided into the water dimension and enjoyed being able to see the harbour. I’ve promised to bring them again in daylight so they can see it properly.
Jik and Dom came for sperit after supper and listened politely while I whinged about my problems. Father and Jik have promised to look over the accounts this morning and check my figures and Mother says she will go for a wander and try to put herself in the place of the neighbours since she sees what they see.
It is nice to feel so supported.
I’m a bit worried about the accounts. The bank statement came yesterday and there doesn’t seem to be very much left, especially since I’ve sent off cheques for about another £100. I don’t know how I’m going to pay for all the things that the Silberay expect at the Gathering.
Then, in the mail this morning, there was a bill for the town rates. They are more than twice what they were last year and I don’t know why, or how we are going to pay them. I decided to go into town since I need supplies and I called in to the town hall to inquire. They called me Mrs Silberay and said I was lucky because the value of my property had increased because of re-zoning. Apparently now it is classed as residential rather than agricultural land.
On the way back I met a couple of the neighbours. They asked me if the patients were dangerous. Imagine Teg and Sula and poor, gentle Mieka being thought of as dangerous!
Mother rang yesterday. She and father want to come for a visit. I think they are checking up on me even though I’ve told them I’m alright. I’ve said they could stay in the Harbour Master’s flat since I’m not using it, but part of me wishes they wouldn’t. I’m still finding my feet in the job and I’ll need to cook for them and I’m feeling a bit pressured really.
At least one thing went right. I’ve been in touch with the carpenter who does the refits and he is ready to come when we need him. No word from the welder as yet though.