It has been difficult. There is too much salt in the bloody mary, the march flies are too aggressive, the toilet paper is too sandpapery, in Belozyorsk they don’t sell the right cheese, the music’s too loud (Janacek Sinfonietta too loud? – for heavens’ sake!), the VHF charger isn’t working properly – there seems no end to it.
She deals with each new march fly in gladiatorial fashion. Her shouted Dutch expletives sound like physio sessions in a TB ward. She seems unable to learn the languid Australian wave, which is just as effective and far less emotionally draining.
I cluck, fuss and coddle. I do my best to appease. I even pretend to like the grits she offers me for breakfast. Nothing works. Then, bless her heart, Maxine apologises for being a shit. So she should, I think. But I graciously accept her apology and we move on out of White Lake.
A stately church ruin stands sentinel over the entrance to the White Lake-Cherepovets waterway. Once past the cable ferry we are again alone in our little world. The march flies are few and die bravely for Maxine’s peace of mind. It is warm and there is the gentlest SE breeze. I think it is great and she reluctantly accepts that the world is a moderately acceptable place.
She mellowed later, but punishment is always necessary and she was banished to the foredeck with her bloody mary to sit in the sun and learn contrition. Alone in the cockpit I put Andsnes’ D960 on very loud and float away.
Maxine, who adores Shostakovich, Berg and Golijov, has this bizarre problem with piano music. By any composer, played by anybody. Yet she likes harpsichord, spinet and every other keyboard. I do not understand this. Her man Dirk plays the piano and is a music lover with less infuriating prejudices. I am looking forward to some rational conversation with him about Cziffra, Lipatti and other vital subjects when we arrive in Cherepovets tomorrow. Until then I steal moments of late Beethoven or Schumann like a naughty boy in a lolly shop, when herself is banished to the foredeck or asleep in her cabin with her earplugs in.
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