At the end of August John received an e-mail from the boatyard to the effect that Lyra would be ready at the end of the week, but then the yard would be closed as they would be on holiday for two weeks. As it turned out we were then on holiday ourselves, in Devon, so it we did not set out to return to Italy till 21st September. The week before we were due to arrive the boatyard sent another missive saying we would have to pick the boat up from them and take it round to the marina ourselves. This was daunting news for a woman who had yet to jump from a moving camper van onto a lawn. Especially as it was to be just the two of us this time, no Lara. Once again we arranged to stay at the Hotel Miramare. We arrived to enjoy a spectacular sunset over Ischia from the bar.

The following day we had a morning by the pool and a lovely, if rather bracing, swim. Then we again took a taxi to the boatyard. We headed upstairs and were told that all was well, but the water pump needed to be replaced, they had the part and it would be done in an hour. Maybe an hour and a half. In fairness they could only test the pump once the boat was in the water and they had only put her in that morning, though why they could not have let us know what was happening was a mystery. They assured us we could go onboard and see the boat and wait. We went down to the yard expecting someone to come and show us the way, but nobody did, so we made our own way down to the slipway.

There was Lyra looking much better to be in the water. She had obviously been cleaned, though her canvas cover and the cockpit hood were bundled up on the stern. We climbed aboard. The new black screen covers stood out and down below the beds had been stripped and all looked shipshape. The new lights worked and looked very shiny. Then I noticed that the bedding was damp and the front set blackened with mould. John tested the instruments and they were not working. The engineers arrived to fit the water pump. We left them to it and headed wearily back to the office to report our problems. They would send an electrician. They had had to power wash Lyra three times, so some of the water must have penetrated. The covers had been removed because the plastic had perished and could not be seen through. The sun and weather over time. Acts of God noone could help.

We went back and sat on board whilst parties of workmen sorted out the pump and the wiring.

The covers had been new in 2018, they had been removed with some force as the zips were torn from the canvas in places. There were several holes. John thought the topping lift had been left adrift and whipped through at some point. I took photos of the dismembered zips.

The wind began to get up. I was not looking forward to the sail round to our berth and the landing there in calm weather and grew tense at the prospect by the moment. Finally the engine started, coughed out a mess of weed and grass cuttings and was running well. All the circuits we’re working, the engineers all left, including the one secreted in the engine room and we were good to go. Thankfully John decided we would be better coming back in the morning when we were fresh and the wind wasn’t. We let the office know and they were cheerful as ever. We began the weary walk back into town. Our way took us past the upholstery shop that had made the spray hood and cover in 2018 and it was open, so we called in on a whim. The couple were there, every bit as kind and calm as we remembered. Sadly neither their English, nor our Italian had changed much, but they remembered us and when I showed them the pictures of the spray hood and cover they remembered the work. They arranged to meet us at our berth at twelve the following day. This somehow lifted my spirits. We went back to the hotel and treated ourselves to a posh meal in their terrace restaurant overlooking the sea. As the evening wore on it became a mite chilly, but was balm to the soul nonetheless.

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