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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Life in the Mundane

 

Mundane has come to mean dull and boring, but it really shouldn't. It should mean the opposite because it comes from the Latin word 'mundus', meaning the world, and the world is anything but dull, especially when you have a toothache which is what Padma developed yesterday.

She couldn't ring the dentist as our phone is still not working, but a quick dash into town secured her a white-knuckle-ride in the dentist's chair. Several hundred dollars later she was the proud owner of a brandnew filling. The story should have ended there, but the fickle finger of fate - which organises things on the basis that no one shall be very happy for very long - was pointing squarely at the car which suddenly wouldn't start. The hastily called mechanic thought it may need a new starter motor and, in anticipation of a large repair bill, graciously gave her a lift back to "Riverbend".

Meantime, back at "Riverbend", the crew of "Atmosphere" had upped anchor and motored downriver to get their onboard meterological gismo within range of wherever they get their forecasts from, to spy out the next clear weather-window for their dash down the coast.

They must've found one - or perhaps Captain Donald was impatient to get going - because they never returned to their "Riverbend" anchorage where I had meantime rummaged through my collection of books and DVDs to stock them up for their onward journey. Never mind, Donald and Megan, you can pick them up on your return voyage when you will no doubt call at "Riverbend" again.

Ready for pick-up: a couple of DVDs, including TRAVELLING NORTH, Somerset Maugham's Collected Short Stories, Erskine Childers' "The Riddle of the Sands" for Donald, and "The Dressmaker" for Megan, and "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and "The Sea Wolf" for young Shay, and a stainless-steel shipboard barbecue left behind from my previous shipboard life

Of course, meeting people off cruising yachts is absolute poison to me as the old 'wanderlust' kicks in every time I listen to their stories and I think back to 1974 when, while setting up AIR NIUGINI's internal audit department in Port Moresby, I saw a yacht advertised for sale at the Royal Papua Yacht Club. It was an ex-lifeboat from Nova Scotia named "Spirit of Barbary", converted to a cutter-rig, and lying off Popondetta on the north coast of New Guinea.

I flew across for an inspection with Brian, a friend from my days on Bougainville Island, who was also dreaming of sailing around the world. She was a wooden boat, wooden hoops around the mast, wooden deadeyes, wooden everything, but the price was right. Or perhaps not because when the time came to kick in the money for his half-share, Brian blinked. And that was the end of my dream to sail around the world because six months later I was in Burma - and the rest is history, as they say.

To keep those old memories flowing, an "almost"-ex-boss has just now discovered my blog entry of my last Christmas on Bougainville Island and emailed me, "Peter, WOW….what a great website…..I stumbled across this today……I’ll contribute and be in touch…..Nice Work. Tks, Roger Brandt". He emailed from California which is worlds away from "Riverbend", thus giving 'mundane' back its original Latin meaning.