The day dawned full of optimism and prospect. We were hardly out of bed when the first message arrived confirming what I had already discovered; the quest for the replacement part wasn’t going to be straight forward. For some reason, out of all the parts in all the engines in the world, due to some sort of administrative error, or perhaps a misalignment of certain planets, this one little part, which has a reputation for breaking occasionally apparently, was never given a number.
Numbers mostly just hang around unnoticed, on walls, on doors, on sewer grates and telegraph poles and even banknotes. We take them for granted, and it is only when some sort of emergency arises, such as when one is trying to order a machinery component to exactly replace another, that they become terribly important. Eventually though, after a morning on computer and phone, we found a chap who knew a bloke who could get to someone in a far away land who would order the part for us, and all being well something will turn up in the mail by the end of the week. Or the next.
Meanwhile in the port the numbers of Australians are steadily growing as well. Richard and Gloria turned up out of the blue, and not unexpectedly we finally caught up with Ian and Lynda, or actually it was they who caught up with us two months and two countries later than we had planned.
It was not a quiet evening, and for the second in succession the numbers of the clock were quite small when the lights finally went out aboard.