c.Columbus at Cowes, Isle of Wight
The 25th August 2010 was a miserable old day, despite the weather forecast changing hourly in the days leading up to it, but that's the inaccurate Met Office for you!  We'd had gales and rain on and off for over a week with no sign of a let up!  I had planned to go to Cowes for c.Columbus, the cutie 15,000grt Hapag-Lloyd ship, which debuted in 1997.  My friend Fay had said she'd meet me and originally I was going to take the slow boat across.  However, the weather buggered that one, up so I got the 10.15am Red Jet (once the bloke returned after ages away so the forming queue could buy tickets) then chatted to Claire of the Hythe ferry on Town Quay until Red Jet 4 arrived.  It had been months since I'd seen her working but they're not giving her the hours now.  I had a lovely chat the entire trip over with a 69 year old lady whose husband is buried (I assume ashes scattered) between Calshot and Cowes.  She took one look at me and asked if I had a thyroid problem, then said I had one, doing a flesh test.  Her father was a doctor and uncannily, everything I'd mentioned to my GP which was worrying me, she told me were symptoms.  She would be visiting her daughter but returning later than I would.  We pulled up and said our goodbyes then I met Fay outside illegally parked.  Naughty!  But she's a rebel so who cares?  No one told her to move it, probably because they didn't want to get wet.  Then we drove to West Cowes Esplanade, since there wasn't time to go to East Cowes this time.  It was a choice of take some pics and go or wait for her to sail.  As she was going at 11am, we may as well wait so Fay bought a ticket for half an hour.  Usually, in nice weather, we'd have been out as soon as we saw her getting up steam, but instead sat squashed between two cars hogging the parking spaces and made a mad dash to the front when the anchor was gone.  I'd just got the camera out of the bag after shoving the umbrella handle down the front of my coat when she gave three loud blasts and away she went, turning then buggering off to London.
As the ship was doing a swing, an elderly couple made a comment to Fay upon seeing her long lens, about how she could see into the Captain's cabin with that.
Just as the parking ticket ran out and rain typically stopped, we left and Fay dropped me back at the Red Jet terminal before carrying on with her job.  I got the 11.45am back and spotted c.Columbus in the misty distance so tried to get a decent shot through the wet windows.
She is due to leave the fleet on the 7th May 2012, a year earlier than planned.  To see a video of this pretty little ship, click here.

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© Patricia Dempsey 25th August 2010
Not to be reproduced without permission
1st March 2011