My first and only experience with sailing boats arrived at the age of twelve in Bognor Regis. It was a school trip and involved myself and some unruly pals sprawling ourselves across a tiny single sailed yacht. The thing with kids is, you tell them something ten times and they don’t listen, what they actually need is the experience of something bad before they know not to do something ever again.
I am lying on a bed in my childhood room in my parent’s house, however this time I am not having a panic attack. My mind fills with memories of warmth, comfort, beauty, adventure, good food, marine life, ancient ruins, vibrant colours, culture, national pride, hard work and above all experience.
It is a sign that no matter what you have in life, there is no substitute for love and as I hug Jamie and Liz before boarding the dolmuş I realise how lucky I am to have family and friends who can provide me the opportunity to live a little.
This of course puts us into emergency mode and the wind soon catches Esper and as the motors off without even so much as an apologetic glance back over his shoulder, we are left trying to steady our boat. We soon find ourselves sideways onto the pontoon, engine on with no wheel to steer ourselves away.
Once again, the sweet farmer’s daughter comes running down to us and apologises that dinner will not be ready for a while as she is milking the cow and off she runs. Though we don’t hear said cow, as we play our game of Rumicub, we are surrounded by bleating goats, hooting owls, braying donkeys, jumping fish and crowing cockerels – life on this island is actually quite noisy!
When I was thirteen, I held my breath for two minutes and fifty five seconds, sitting, very still, in my bedroom. Flapping around under a boat in cold water, stabbing a chisel at 4 months worth of crustaceans tends to tire you out a little and I think the best I managed was about 40 seconds.
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