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Having gone to clear out we checked with the harbour master to see if there was any possibility of staying another day or two and it turned out that there was space for another couple of days if we wanted so we cancelled clearing out, the weather not being good for the beat to Antigua. I went to see if I could find a laundry and Patrick and Sally went off to find a doctor to look at Patrick’s swollen ankle which he’s had since exercising on the aeroplane on the way over from the UK.

I gathered some laundry together and went with it into town, I asked a woman if there was a laundry in town and she said that there was but it was on the outskirts, but just to get a local bus there. I tried a laundry we’d seen when looking for a watch repair shop that had looked promising but closed and it still looked the same. At the bus station I was ushered onto the only spare seat on a minibus and the driver who appeared to be related Lewis Hamilton set off. I kept my eyes out for a laundry but saw nothing, various people got on and off and I ended up buried deeper inside the bus as seats were exchanged. We headed West up the Island and after passing the cemetery and hospital the driver looked at me in the mirror and said something unintelligible. I said ‘Laundry’ and held up my bag of dirty clothes and lots of other passengers in the mini bus told him he’d gone past it. He turned around in the road and drove back to the cemetery and a couple of women kindly pointed out to me the laundry. I dropped my clothes off and then stood at the side of the road to get a bus back again. All very easy and a dollar each way. A good example of things working well when not interfered with by governments. Back at the boat a complicated plan for getting to Nevis via taxi and speed boat from Reggae beach was emerging and Patrick and Sally were returning to see a doctor in about an hour. Katharine made some lemon drizzle cake and one way flapjacks for the crossing to Antigua and, once Patrick and Sally had returned with some tablets from the doctor and news that the swelling was not ominous, Katharine, Sally and I set off to see if a trip to Nevis was possible. The complicated plan was abandoned as too complicated.

There is a ferry from the bus stop and we purchased tickets and then got onto a 36 passenger ferry, about 50 feet long with several high powered outboards on the back. It was pretty full and we set off for the half hour’s trip to Charlestown on Nevis. We are in the lee of the Islands so there were only a few waves on the little gap between the islands and they didn’t seem too bad being on the beam. It seems it was ‘No Vat Friday’ yesterday and two passengers aboard were returning with new Stihl Strimmers which they’d bought today to avoid the tax, all very jolly.

At Nevis we got off the ferry and wandered to the tourist office to see what was what. Emerging with not much of a plan but a name of a good place for street food - Island Flavours, we pottered off in the believed direction of the business. After going a little further than expected I asked a local young lady where it was and she rolled her eyes and pointed to a business 2 yards ahead of where we were, saying ‘right there’. We bought 3 pasties, one veggie, one chicken one meat and a bottle of ginger beer. Wandering back towards the centre, looking for a covered spot to sit and enjoy our lunch I suggested a bench in the shade of a building whereas Katharine wanted to find somewhere with a roof because rain looked likely. We sat on the bench for long enough to nearly have a bite from our pasties before  the rain started. It was a good down pour and we quickly found shelter under an overhanging balcony  and sat on the pavement, still dry, and enjoyed our lunch. They were very good, better  even than Greggs. 

After lunch we wandered about, went to the ‘Hamilton House’ where Alexander Hamilton had been born and which  is now a museum. We read about how his clerking in the Islands had been a good grounding for his subsequent career setting up the United States. Entry to the museum which appeared little more than a moderate sized house with pictures and writing was 10 US dollars and we decided not to indulge ourselves but contented ourselves with a look around the museum shop.

Nevis has delightful, colourful buldings many being restored at the moment and is far prettier than the majority of Basseterre. We wandered along the front, sat in a pegoda,, pergola thing in the breeze for some time as a shower went through, admired several churches, - Catholic, Wesleyan, Anglical and Ignite amongst the memorable ones.

Looking for a cup of tea we went into a bar with an upstairs in the breeze and had a rum punch. This, with conversation took a lot of the afternoon and we thought we’d better see when the later ferries sailed, not wanting to be stranded on the Island. It turned out that they carried on until 2000 but we elected to catch the 1700 one which left us time to look again for a nice cup of tea and have a rum and raisin ice cream instead.

The ferry back was similar but different being a cat and, possibly slightly younger.

Back at Basseterre a certain amount of celebrating was ongoing at the refreshment establishments surrounding the bus station with liberal wafts of ganga tickling our sense buds. Back on the boat we met up with the recuperating boys who had had a day pottering around Basseterre and having lunch at a local bakery whilst watching the 7 members of the local constabulary arresting a lady who may have been indulging in a dated profession.

Returning to the boat we continued wading through de frosted meat with Patrick doing us pork chops in Fennel with potatoes and cabbage. More bridge and whist was played accompanied by loud music from the town which Martin thought was R and B and we all thought terrible.

Today’s plan is now much the same as it had been yesterday, ie to sail once cleared out, laundry collected, shopping done etc.

Slainte Jock and the bridge team.

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