So we're off! The sky is blue, the sun is shining, there is more than a hint of Spring in the air here today. Our boat is loaded to the gunwales and the world is our oyster (if only). We have Elizabeth as an extra passenger - she read our book list and added Bartlett's Familiar Quotations to it and couldn't resist the temptation of coming along. What are we taking?
As we have a Cameloepardalian(Raph's ramblings) going with us (must remember he needs lots of headroom in the cabin) we need not bother about ladders - he can pick the coconuts and the bananas. We shall have two radios - a wind-up one for the main area of the cave and one of those big old Russian radios that get every station in the world so that our radio operator (Poet in Residence) can listen out for ships and planes. (shall we want to be rescued, I ask). We shall have enough miracle joint salve to ease all our joints for years to come; an unlimited supply of coffee; a laptop and masses of batteries to last a lifetime (but will the laptop?) We shall need solar cells to power the radio; Pen is bringing her nautical duffle bag, which contains everything we should ever need (maybe it will be bottomless and continue to supply us for years); we shall have water colours and brushes and if we can't barter paper from Denise then we shall have to make do with painting on palm leaves, rocks and dried seaweed. There will be yarns of wool, silk, cotton - in various colours - a wonderful array with lots of different needles and hooks so that we can all have a go at knitting. I can see the men all ending up wearing multi coloured jumpers (yes - you will have to wear them even if it is tropical, we women like to have our craft work appreciated - it has always been thus) - we shall have to draw lots to see who knits the long-necked version for Raph. There will also be unlimited chocolate. What shall I bring as my luxury. Well I have two really - yes I know that is cheating but it is my blog and I shall cheat if I want to, so there. First I shall bring six Black Rock hens and a cockerel - for the eggs, the meat and for generations of chicks to come and I shall bring six hardy moorland sheep and two rams (that way I can split the flock into two, with different dads for the lambs, which should keep us going a bit longer). We can shear them (there will be a tool in Pen's nautical duffle bag) and spin and dye (boil the leaves for a muddy green) so that eventually the men end up all wearing muddy green jumpers once the brightly coloured wool runs out. But my real reason for bringing the sheep is that there are two foods I cannot possibly live without. One is bananas and there will be plenty on the island; the other is cheese and with that little flock we might be able to create a cheese to rival roquefort - yum, yum.
Thanks so much to you all for taking part in this bit of fun. I hope you have all enjoyed it as much as I have. Part of me (only a very tiny part) wishes we really were setting off tonight for that mysterious tropical paradise - the weather forecast is not bad and the sea should be calm. As we set sail Raph looks through his telescope and sees a runner approaching. At the last minute two books are flung on deck - the complete poems of Edward Thomas and the complete John Buchan. Any more and we shall sink - so
Bon Voyage to you all.