Hanging aroundThe Carpenters
Nothing to do but frown
Rainy days and Mondays
Always get me down.
Woke up this morning a little later; it was 6.52am when the Glen Rosa‘s generator rumbled into life. After lying in our double bunk a little longer, listening to the inevitable rain pattering down outside, we got up and went up to the saloon for a pre-breakfast coffee. Looking outside, we could see lots of low cloud and some brighter patches in the sky; we hoped that the sun would soon make an appearance, even if only for an hour or so. Despite the title of today’s blog, we weren’t going this let this rainy day and Monday get us down! 🙂
My choice of breakfast today was a mushroom omelette which Charlie managed to make into a delicious work of art as usual. In fact, I’m already aware that the first couple of days’ of blogging contain detailed descriptions of food and meals, but the gourmet meals on board Glen Rosa are a feature of The Majestic Line boats, and certainly should never be omitted from my daily memoirs. 🙂
After breakfast we went out on the stern and looked across at the shore, where the sky did seem to be brightening. We could see the mussel beds in the near distance and what appeared to be a small building set back on the shoreline. Charlie the chef asked if everyone would like fresh mussels for tea tonight, and we all licked our lips in anticipation (here I am writing about food again!!). He therefore said he’d go across in the liberty boat to see if he could buy some mussels and asked if anyone wanted to go with him.
There was only room for three passengers, but as the weather still looked uncertain (and I’d have to go down the ladder again!) I declined, but three intrepid souls went down in their waterproofs and lifejackets for the short ride across.
As the dinghy roared off, I returned to the cosy interior of the Glen Rosa and relaxed and read a bit, as it started to rain again (!!) It didn’t take long for the boat to return and, as each passenger dripped their way precariously up the ladder, I asked if they’d managed to get the mussels. Unfortunately not; Charlie the chef couldn’t see anyone around and there appeared to be no-one at the building they’d spotted, which was actually further away than it looked. 🙁
While they went down to the engine room to leave their wet things in there to dry, I looked out at the distant mountains where the sky definitely looked to be brighter. “Blue sky!” I shouted in excitement, rushing out on deck to get a photo. What a difference it made. Look at these photos of the same hills; one when it’s raining and one when it’s faired up a bit; the sunshine certainly adds some colour.
Presently Skipper Jemma appeared and said we would be calling into Tobermory for the Glen Rosa to be refuelled, and to pick up some supplies. The weather forecast was for torrential rain and high winds (read: choppy seas) and the Glen Rosa performed better with the extra ballast provided by a full fuel tank. It would be more comfortable (and safer) to spend the afternoon and overnight in the harbour of this pretty and colourful little town.
Despite Trevor and I only having just visited Tobermory in July on our cruise on the Ambition, we were certainly not aghast at going again. There is a lot to see and do in “Tobes” and even if you don’t want to go to the distillery, art galleries and little unique craft shops, there was a tantalising footpath of two kilometres which would take you to the pier and the lighthouse. Or, if the weather should take a turn for the worse, there were a number of hostelries in which you could take shelter. 😉
John, Isabel, Greg and Lisa all wanted to go to the distillery, but since we were only there in July we decided we’d take a slow stroll along the harbour front, have a look in the shops and pop into the Mishnish Hotel for a pint or two, as we hadn’t had the chance to do so on our last visit. So that is exactly what we did. 🙂
The Mishnish has to be one of the most recognisable buildings in Tobermory, as it is the bright yellow one. Painting their hotel yellow was a way of attracting clients to the hotel as it was, without doubt, the first hotel anyone spotted. This was so successful that the proprietors of the buildings either side of the Mishnish decided to paint their façades in bright colours too.
As it was now 12 noon, we decided a cold beer was in order, so we went into the Mishnish Bar, a cosy and cheerful place with heavy wooden furniture, tartan carpet and a welcoming fire burning in a huge centrepiece fireplace.
We each ordered a pint of local beer and procured a table near the window. Were we glad that we did, because the heavens absolutely opened, torrential rain spattering off the roofs of any parked vehicles and bouncing off the roads. People hurried past outside, pulling their hoods over their heads, and it was good for trade in the Mishnish as several people entered the bar to get out of the rain. 🙂
Shortly afterwards we spotted Greg and Lisa going past and we beckoned them into the pub. They needed no further encouragement and, ordering their drinks at the bar, came over to join us. A few minutes later John and Isabel passed by and, when they saw us comfortably ensconced in the cosy pub, they too came in for a pint, happy to divest themselves of their wet things.
As John and Isabel had only just arrived and our glasses were nearly empty, we ordered another pint each (it would have been rude not to!!) and we sat there, looking out at the wet streets. The rain would ease up and the sun would come out, then a few minutes later it would cloud over and another downpour would start. All I can say is, if you don’t like the weather in Scotland, simply wait 10 minutes. 🙂
Around 1.30pm we left the Mishnish and headed back to the Glen Rosa for a late lunch, as Charlie the chef had asked us to be back for two o’clock. We arrived back just before two, and I was able to get some good photos of the Glen Rosa in her berth, just in front of her sister Glen Tarsan, who would also be in port overnight.
Lunch was a veritable feast. With the leftover beef from yesterday’s roast dinner, Charlie the chef had knocked up some doorstop sandwiches on home made sourdough bread, consisting of rare beef and horseradish cream, as well as some smoked salmon and garlic cream cheese on handmade seeded bread. The sandwiches were accompanied by homemade coleslaw and we finished off with carrot cake.
After lunch I decided to go back to our cabin for a power nap, then thought I’d have a shower, wash my hair, and dress a little smarter. Trying to get showered and do my hair was a considerable challenge in the very limited space and, to add insult to injury, the water went off before I’d even entered the shower stall. Then, when it started up again, the water was either scalding hot and filled the cabin with steam, or it was uncomfortably cold. I decided to abandon having a shower and had a stand-up wash at the sink instead (known in nautical terms as a submariners’ dhoby), with Trevor standing by to pour warm water over my head to rinse away the shampoo. Skipper Jemma said that we could use the crew shower in future if it made life easier. 🙂
After Trevor had gone upstairs to allow me the room to dry myself off and get dressed, I plugged in the hairdryer and started to blow-dry my hair. After only a couple of minutes, the electricity went off and the hairdryer stopped. Whaaaaat?! It did come back on again but by then I was so fed up I just left my hair to dry naturally (it would probably get wet again anyway before the day was over!)
Back up in the saloon, a brief respite from the rain allowed me to go out on the rear decks and get some good photos of the Glen Tarsan.
We spent the time until dinner (eating again!!) in the saloon, passing the time pleasantly with our fellow shipmates and occasionally walking around the decks to see if there was anything interesting happening in Tobermory. There is a tiny “promenade deck” on the Glen Rosa; Trevor paced it out and we calculated that 40 times around = 1 land mile. 😀 😀
Dinner tonight consisted of a melt-in-the-mouth whole lemon sole each, accompanied by seaweed new potatoes, samphire and capers, in a delicious mushroom sauce. You can be sure that on a cruise like this one, fresh seafood features prominently on the menu, and it really is a foodie’s treat.
After our scrumptious meal we enjoyed the customary wee dram, and sat around in our happy postprandial little glow. As we were in port tonight, Trevor and I decided we would go ashore later on, and see if we could find a nearby pub. We were advised that there was one very close by, called “MacGochan’s”, so that’s where we would head.
Outside, the weather continued to be very temperamental, with squally showers one minute, then a wonderful calm the next. Around 10 o’clock, when Greg, Lisa, John and Isabel decided to turn in, Trevor and I donned our waterproofs as it had inevitably started to rain again. We sprinted along the wooden landing pier and up the ramp, and soon we saw the welome warm glow of MacGochan’s. In we went, where four German blokes were playing a lively game of darts and a cheerful barman greeted us. Trevor enjoyed a pint and I, spotting a bottle of Aperol behind the bar, asked for an Aperol Spritz. It was a good one, too. 🙂
We stayed for another drink, then decided to make our way back to the Glen Rosa. The pub must have had a late licence because it was 12.00 midnight when we left, and customers were still coming in and being served. As we left, we were pleased to see a clear sky with stars, but it was only a matter of minutes before the heavens opened again.
Back on board, we said goodnight to Charlie who was on watch on the bridge, and we descended the narrow staircase to our cabin. The Glen Rosa‘s engines had been shut down by now, and there was no need for the generator as the vessel had been connected to an electricity supply on land. We therefore had to set an alarm to wake us in the morning, and we slept extremely well in our cosy bed.