Getting Away Page 3

Mitzie Ruffles

51.2 Nautical Miles to Ribadeo

Monty and me are sitting on the starboard side settee, Monty is next to Ann on her left, and I am on her other side. Ann has her feet pushed hard against the saloon table, which is anchored to the salon floor, to stop herself from being thrown around.

She is whispering, not sure who she is whispering to, not sure what she is saying, even with my hearing, it’s the same conversation every ten minutes. Something about let it all stop or something like that.

The engine is still doing its broom, broom, broom but without the gurgle gurgle noise.

That had changed to kaboom, kaboom, kaboom.

The whole boat shakes after each sharp dip forward.

Broom, broom, kaboom, kaboom.

Suddenly, the skipper’s head appears in the companionway hatch. Mike shouts down over the dim “Are the welds holding”?

What a question to ask. Ann, eyes glaring, mouth opening and closing for a few seconds. She shouts back, “How the heck do I know, how do you think I can see through all the wood, which you put there? It’s in the way. What a stupid question to ask”.

Mike says, “Sorry, I thought it was a good question”.

Nobody ever asks me what I think, but I agree it’s a stupid question. If the welds were not holding, then we would be at the bottom of the Bay of Biscay in hundreds of meters of water.

46.3 Nautical Mile to Ribadeo

Something is going on the aft deck.

I can smell it. It smells of feathers. It smells like a bird. I jump off the settee and walk over to the companionway steps.

Ann says, “Mitzie come here; you are not going up into the cockpit”.

I start the going up the steps routine, front paws on step three. But Ann says, “No, Mitzie come back here. You can’t go up there in this storm”. Reluctantly I go back to the settee. Mike’s head appears and asks, “What’s for tea? I am starving”?

“Now in the storm”?


“OK, I’ll get to it”.

Ann crawls over to the fridge on all fours, opens the door, gets a pizza out, crawls back on two knees plus one hand with the pizza held tight in the other hand to the cooker. She opens the oven door, presses the ignition, lights the oven with the usual woosh. She opens the bottom door, extracts a baking tray, places the pizza on the tray, rips the plastic cover off then folds the cardboard packaging in half and places it in the bin.

I peer over and see it’s three kinds of cheese pizza.


My favourite.

Three kinds of cheese.

I love cheese.

Twenty minutes should do it.

Precisely 19 minutes later, she crawls back over and peers into the oven. Satisfied that the pizza is ready she opens the oven door. She pulls herself up and reaches for a plate, starts to slide the pizza carefully onto the plate. Suddenly there’s a colossal lurch, crash, kaboom, broom, broom, and the pizza falls off the baking tray.

I watch it fly through the air in slow motion,

Yummy yum, yum.

Hope it land upside down.

I watch it pirouette in mid-air and land face down on the carpet.


I jump off the settee licking my lips on the way. Knowing that there will be some spoils for me. I must get there before Monty. Ann always favours little Monty. I quickly glance behind me, but Monty has not even stirred.

Oh, goody more for me.

I look back to the pizza and horror!

I watch Ann, a big grin on her face, flipping the pizza base back onto the plate with a fish slice. I get ready to slurp up all the topping of the carpet, but nooo, she’s using the fish slice and shovelling up the topping and pasting it back onto the pizza base. She looks very pleased with herself, fetches a knife and fork from the drawer and shouts, “Mike, the pizza is ready”.

Mike appears in the companionway hatch.

“Great, I’m starving”.

He takes the plate and starts munching away. I sit at the bottom of the steps and wait. There will be some for me in a little while.

Ann asks, “Is the pizza OK”?

“Yes, lovely, but there are some crunchy bits, not sure what they are, here Mitzie catch”.

I watch the piece of pizza fly down in my direction, and having already worked out its trajectory, it lands dead centre in my mouth.

Yum, yum.

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10 Responses

  1. At least I know the trawler didn’t sink you. I assume you hit it to test your welds. Good read Mitz, hurry with next episode.

  2. What a really enjoyable beginning to the adventures of SY Ruffles Spray. Written through the eyes of pet Mitzie one understands the challenges constantly faced. I was certainly pulled into life aboard during a storm from a dog’s point of view. The relationships between the dogs and their owners was sympathetically told. I loved Mitzie saying ‘Maths, I don’t like Math’s’. I laughed ot loud at the pizza saga, and wonder what happened to the pigeon stowaways. I am fretting about whether the trawler responded and moved out of Ruffles Spray’s way. I also thought the noises of the storm were evocative. All in all a well constructed first chapter. Looking forward to further installments – soon! That trawler!

  3. What a wave hanger! I want to know what happens next. This is a great story of life time goal and adventure, massively overtaking the experience of the sailors, so we already know it’s going to be ‘interesting’ very atmospheric, and exciting. Go Ruffles Spray Go

  4. Having sailed to some of the same places as Mitzie, Mike and Anne I was taken back to my own experiences of sailing into the unknown. You can’t do a voyage like this without a mix of courage, madness and humour, and this first chapter has buckets full of all three. I look forward to reading more doggy antics.

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