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Four years ago journalist Agnes Wilkie and husband Brian stopped working, built a house in Kilberry and moved to Argyll.
So far they have, in Agnes’ words: ‘Finished the house, massacred the bracken and made a garden, sailed their own boat across the Atlantic, cruised the Caribbean, become grandparents three times over, nearly walked the Kintyre Way and made many lovely new friends.
The couple’s latest adventure has been crewing on friends’ 51 foot catamaran across the South China Sea from Singapore to Langkawi in Malaysia.
Agnes says: ‘It’s quite a challenge but, hey, we’ve cruised West Loch Tarbert for years.’
A four-letter word…rats
No doubt you will be familiar with the old saying about rats and sinking ships. But have you ever considered a much scarier proposition concerning rats and non sinking ships?
As our nautical adventures in the South China Sea continue, we have added rats to the growing list of terrors after dodging the killer unlit fishing boat nets, the gigantic juggernaut container ships that look more like floating multi storey monsters and the odd not-quite-too-low for our mast bridge, we arrive in Malaysia to face Rodent Risk.
No sooner had we scraped under the almost-too-low bridge and gingerly navigated our way up the not so deep river to the haven of Puteri Harbour in Malaysia, looking forward to cold beers and safe anchorages with supermarket, showers and Malaysian massages on the menu – than rats raised their ugly little heads and a new four letter word entered my lexicon of nautical nightmares.
It seems that one of our fellow travellers, on entering the harbour, had mysteriously taken on board an unwelcome stowaway. A large rat.
Don’t laugh. Most of you will be reasonably familiar with boats and the myriad nooks and crannies they entertain. A million holes to hide a slippery customer with teeth and tail.
How to get it off became our neighbours’ focus. Flood it out? Smoke it out? Torture it with non-stop Ed Sheeran?
I have no idea what the neighbours did in the end – but I have become obsessed about keeping them off our boat. I have lost all interest in anything else. Even pirates pale.
I am now on 24/7 rat watch. I’m investigating gun control regulations in Malaysia.
But no, I had a better idea. Forget showers. Stink them out. This is war.
Next: Are iPhones waterproof?