If you’ve missed any of the earlier posts in this series, this’ll make more sense if it’s read in the right order. Links to each part are given at the bottom of the page.
We’ve all had that experience, haven’t we? We’re away on holiday, and the whole week or fortnight stretches out in front of us and it seems like it’ll last forever. But, before we know it, the end of the holiday is looming and then the last few days and hours race away.
So it was in the last couple of days on the boat. Ioannis, Linde and Konstantin felt like family to me by now. That’s unusual for me, because I’m not good with getting attached to people, and I’m very good at letting go of them. The boat also felt like home. It’s surprising how little you can live with. Remember, my baggage for the week was a rucksack that weighed no more than 6 kilograms – that’s six bags of sugar. The space I slept in was compact, and I could only stand up in a small section of it. True, I’ve aired my views on the loo and shower facilities, but – hey – we coped and nobody got ill, let alone died.
Had I missed the TV? No. Had I missed writing? No, but I probably would have done if I’d been away much longer. And, if I had been there for longer, I would have made sure I had the space and time to write.
Connection with the outside world was a little more problematic, but not insurmountable. You can see where I’m going with this, can’t you? It’s so tempting, but deep down I know I’m not ready for it yet.
Still, the last day of the course arrived all too soon, and we headed out for our last outing.
The wind was probably the lightest we’d had all week. I can’t recall for sure whether we actually sailed or just motored, but I seem to think we started out with the sails up. We didn’t head over to Lanzarote that day. Instead we did a circuit of the Isla de Lobos.
The island is quite small, little more than a mile across at its widest point, so a circumnavigation wasn’t going to take all day. We took a steady ride and practiced some manouevres before stopping for lunch. By this time, I was confident we’d passed the course and would be getting our certificates by the end of the day. I got a sense that everyone else felt the same. There hadn’t been any real tension during the week, but as we headed into the afternoon, there was an even more relaxed atmosphere than before, the banter more light-hearted than ever.
When we finally set off for our last run back to port, I found myself lolling in the rear starboard quarter. By this time we definitely were running on the engine. Linde was at the helm; Konstantin in a similar position to me on the port side; forward of him, Ioannis leaned back on the side, while Clive made himself busy wandering up and down the companionway.
The sun shone overhead. It was probably the warmest day we’d had and somebody made a comment about lazing on a sunny afternoon. It may have been Ioannis, I can’t recall. But I do know that it was him that referenced The Kinks.
Both Clive and I (politely) disputed that. I remember saying that I thought it was The Small Faces. Ioannis was adamant, though, albeit in a calm and self-assured way.
Clive disappeared yet again into the saloon and, for a minute or two, there was only the occasional distant sound as he seemed to be hunting around for something. Then the music started. There were speakers on the deck, though so discreet I hadn’t previously registered what they were.
Ioannis, a Greek brought up in Russia, and resident of Norway, had yet again shown that he knew more about the British music scene than two Brits who should have known better.
My schoolboy error with The Small Faces was possibly understandable, as you’ll hear now…
We played both, but it seemed like the perfect end to the course when The Kinks came on. We all leaned back, and even though I wouldn’t wish my singing voice on anyone normally, it seemed appropriate that we all sang along. A beer or two would have been the ideal accompaniment, but we saved that for the evening.
Now, whenever I hear the song, I’m transported back to that perfect moment. The sun shining down, the gently rolling sea, Linde steering us in, and everyone singing, happy in the knowledge that we’d all experienced a very special week.
If I do ever get my own boat, you can pretty much guarantee what’ll be the first song I play when I take it out. And you can sing along with me if you want to…
Links to previous parts to this story: