“Look into my eyes”, says the beautiful young girl with long eyelashes and shoulder-length hair seductively. For a moment, I think that I am 20 again and that it is my lucky day. Then I remember that I am in the Specsavers opticians in Newquay, Cornwall. I am having my new glasses fitted and she just wants to make sure that they are working as they should be. She wouldn’t be interested in an aging stick-insect like me anyway, I think. She makes a few adjustments and they are perfect. I can see again! Strangely, for some reason the girl with long eyelashes and shoulder-length hair has turned into a middle-aged woman.
I had lost my glasses over the side of Ruby Tuesday in Fowey while trying to attach the dinghy. Later that day I had booked an eye test at Specsavers in Falmouth, and had gone and had it done when we had arrived there. Explaining that we were travelling around the UK by boat, they had promised to make up some new glasses and when they were ready they would post them on whichever of their branches was closest to us for collection. I had received a text from them just as we were coming into Padstow, had rung them, found out that Newquay was their nearest branch, and had arranged for them to send it first class post to there. We had taken a bus down from Padstow to Newquay to collect them.
We have coffee and cakes to celebrate, but suddenly realise that the last bus from Newquay to Padstow leaves in 10 minutes from the Great Western Hotel, about 10 minutes’ walk away. Grabbing our belongings, we rush madly down the street to the bus stop, and make it with mere minutes to spare. We don’t dare think of how we would have got back to Padstow if we had missed the bus. Taxi, I suppose?
When we get back, David, the Mikes and Patrick tell us they have decided to go the next day, and we need to change our boat positions around so that they are on the outside of the raft for an early start. We work out a sequence of rope manoeuvres that allow their boat to slip out backwards unimpeded, Ruby Tuesday to be pulled over where they were, then for them to take the place where we were. It is more complicated than I imagine at first, but it is all beautifully choreographed by David and goes according to plan. We are invited to their boat for a gin-and-tonic in recognition for not letting the side down.