Well, yesterday afternoon saw the much heralded, frequently threatened, and long overdue, visit  - from old High School friends (and still are, oddly enough) - Phil Brunskill and Bill Dudenhoeffer.   They were planning on coming over about 2 months ago - but I used the excuse that I was in Hospital with heart failure - to postpone the invasion that time - and had apparently just run out of good excuses this time.   So the morning message was 'Thunderbirds are GO!'
But you know I'm kidding - because I was looking forward to seeing them both - and the challenge of getting Bill out here - and on to the yacht - afloat - as the last time he'd seen it was for the lifting and loading - back on land - when he and his son came for the historic day.
And of course Phil - has never been to the yacht before - so it would be his first time aboard - but he does claim to be an old sea dog from way back - and to have crewed in years gone (long) by - aboard 'Margaret Rintoul II' a famous Sydney to Hobart Yacht.   So one of these days we might have to put him to the test.
Now - coming aboard the yacht - back on dry land was one thing
but getting out from shore and up on to the buoyant yacht
in the middle of the bay in a fresh breeze and flippant swell
presents an entirely new adventure.
But if you know Bill at all - you know that this presents no problem whatsoever - and so it was full steam ahead - as I powered the little 2Hp Yamaha - towards the shore - for a 'D-Day Normandy Style' landing - running straight up onto the beach beside the Sailing Club - amid a hail of bullets from the shore batteries and no aerial fighter cover.  (Did I tell you that I'm still reading those 'War Speeches of Sir Winston Churchill').
Phil carried down what seemed to be a 6 months supply of equipment and supplies for a 3 hour visit - and Bill wheeled himself straight down onto the beach - alongside the runabout and slid off the chair without the slightest fuss - in and on to the boat seat.   We both posed ruggedly for 2 photos that Phil took - which I regret to report have disappeared into the void.
I suspect that while Bill and I were smiling like a pair of Ping Pong Carnival Clowns
the camera was set to - 'Why bother clicking because I'm switched off'
or maybe 'file these in the Twilight Zone'
because when I downloaded the photos off Phil's camera later
these 2 weren't there.
So with the 2 solid passengers aboard - and all the gear
I waded into the water and attempted to pull the beached boat off
to the encouraging words from both on board, not to - 'over strain your heart'.
Once again - we have no photos of this Herculean effort - as I pulled with all my strength to move the half buried and overloaded boat from the quicksand grip of the beach.   It was definitely very 'nose down' - so I asked Phil to move a little further aft.   For a minute it almost looked like we might have to just sit there and wait for the next tide.   But then somehow it budged and floated out - and I jumped aboard.
I fired up the mighty outboard and warned Phil and Bill to hang on tight - because that 2hp was just as likely to hurl them out of the boat as it took off.   They didn't seem to believe me.
At this point I'm reminded of one of the 'Trouble' Cartoons I did a while back
but I'm not suggesting for one minute that there is any resemblance with our boat
or situation - because we had a bag of Red Rooster Chips and Burgers with us
and no cutlery was produced by anyone present . . .

No - I can honestly report - that we survived the trip - with a just a bit of spray now and then from an occasional rogue wave.   We did a circuit of the Navy boat and a tour through the other yachts - to end up at the stern of the yacht - deaf Yacht Guard Dog Penny still sound asleep on her cushions and oblivious to the hostile boarding taking place only feet away.
With the runabout firmly under the stern of the yacht - and pretty stable - it was a simple matter for Bill to get up the few feet onto the transom boarding area with only the slightest assistance - and then haul himself up the stern steps to the deck and his chair.  
But it wasn't long before we were all settled in to the cockpit - out of the wind
behind the screens - eating our chicken burgers - including Penny.
And then we settled down to a couple of hours of catching up - and general men's discussion of old High School activities and 'acquaintances' - best probably that no names or details be mentioned here.   But certain claims were made - concerning alleged 'successes' with known persons - that may never be able to be verified.  (which is generally the safest way to make such boasts)
Anyway - it's probably best I not go any further - because the High School's 50th Anniversary Re-Union is in September next - and I don't want there to be too much of this . . . . . . .
which there's bound to be.
Well that's about all there is to report - except as it started to get dark - and Phil was going to the Rugby Union International game that evening - we re-enacted it all - in reverse - back down the stern steps - into the runabout - back across the blowey bay - the only difference being it was getting pretty dark - when we got to the Sailing Club - and we opted to unload at the sloping ramp you see on their dock.   Which all went pretty well too - as I was able to hold the boat fairly level with the dock for Bill to climb over - with Phil on the dock to lend a hand.
No photos were taken - as I told you it was dark
so I've just done this one for you - so that you can sort of get the feel of it.
So as you can see - it was dark.

So as I waved farewell - and Phil and Bill - (safely back on shore with no 'loss of life') - headed up the dock to the carpark - I turned the little boat seaward into the black open bay - in search of home - and Penny.    And unbelievably - I found the yacht in the dark - 1st time - but not without running out of petrol half way back.   (fortunately I had brought some more - or it could have turned into a long hard row into the wind)
I was home - no doubt - long before them - and later that night - I received a pleasant email from Phil - thanking me for the visit - and promising - 'to come again soon' - for a 'longer visit'.
'We can't wait - can we Penny?'  

----- Original Message -----
From: Rodney Field
To: 1 Rodney Field
Sent: Sunday, June 01, 2008 4:04 PM
Subject: Did you check? - The Phil & Bill Travelling Roadshow Arrives

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