Tag Archives: sailing

The London Boat Show

I was at the London Boat Show yesterday. I wore a striped blue and white t-shirt and deck shoes. I fit in perfectly. I don’t own a boat, but I have been on one. A fact I made sure not to let other people forget.

Here is my sailing story (because I imagine not all of you managed to catch me at the Boat Show). I am wearing a life jacket.

The preposterously blond sailing instructor yanks me around by the back of my life jacket. ‘Too big,’ he says dismissively. ‘What?’ I am affronted. ‘That chap over there is much bigger than I am,’ I say loudly. ‘No, no,’ the instructor says laughingly. ‘Your life jacket. It’s too big. Get a different one.’ ‘Oh,’ I say, smiling apologetically at the now furious looking ‘larger’ gentleman.

I am wearing a life jacket because I am in a sailing race. My entire sailing knowledge has been derived from ‘Swallows and Amazons’, but I do not feel the need to tell my friend this.

We are taken to our boat, which is little. ‘What do you want to do?’ she asks me. ‘Everything!’ I say optimistically. ‘Oh, OK, great,’ she replies. ‘I really know very little about sailing.’ ‘Do not worry!’ I shout at her, and clamber into the boat. ‘Um, you might want to move to the other side so we don’t capsize when I get in,’ she says politely. I move, grab the rope that controls the sail, and take hold of the rudder.

‘So an experienced sailor took me out yesterday,’ she tells me. ‘The thing to avoid is jiving.’ ‘I’m sorry?’ I ask, incredulously. ‘Did you just say jiving?’ ‘Yes,’ she says. ‘It’s important that we turn a different way so we don’t capsize.’ ‘I have no idea what you are talking about,’ I say peremptorily, and pull in the sail. Unfortunately I let go of the rudder, so we swing frighteningly in a circle. ‘No problem!’ I tell my friend, who now looks terrified. ‘Sailors do things like that all the time.’ My friend looks entirely unconvinced.

We pick up some wind, and begin to sail. ‘Do you know where we’re meant to be heading?’ I ask my friend. She waves vaguely towards the horizon. I swing the boat around wildly into the oncoming path of another sailor. ‘Move please!’ I shout at him.  It is the portly gentleman I previously insulted. He does not seem as keen to move as I would like. I am unfazed, because I have quickly learnt that to turn our boat all I need to do is let go of the rudder entirely and allow the wind to work its magic. I really seem to have taken to this sailing lark remarkably well. ‘OK,’ I say to my friend. ‘Let’s get serious. We should probably win this thing. Where’s the first place we need to get to?’ My friend points mutely at what could be a buoy, but from this distance could also easily be a discarded Sainsbury’s plastic bag. ‘OK!’ I shout enthusiastically. Unfortunately the boat remains at a standstill. ‘You need to head starboard!’ my friend shouts at me.‘I don’t know what that means!’ I shout back. ‘Towards the rocks or away from the rocks?’ My friend looks at me despairingly. ‘Why would I ever tell you to sail towards the rocks?’ she asks. It’s a good point, but as the captain I can’t stand for this kind of mutiny. I firmly swing the boat towards the rocks. My friend jumps across the boat to stop me, and we capsize.

‘Well,’ I say cheerfully as we bob about in the water. ‘That sailing instructor was right. The other life jacket would have been too big.’

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Helping my therapist

I’ve been away, so I haven’t seen my therapist for a few weeks. I decided to go away very last minute, but I know she likes to be kept in the loop, so I sent her an email. ‘Hi. I’m just at lunch, and I’m going on holiday next week with Mark Warner. See you when I get back.’ She sends me an email back immediately. (I am slightly worried my therapist is somewhat obsessed with me. Whenever I see her she is oddly preoccupied with my life and doings). ‘Hmmm. Who is Mark Warner?’ she emails in response. I suddenly remember why I like my therapist so much. ‘Oh!’ I email back. ‘Oh my sweet Kiwi therapist. Mark Warner is the name of the travel company. It’s a group trip. I know you are concerned but do not be.’

I return home with my friends to pack. (They have already packed, as have been booked into this trip for months). ‘Do you think she wanted to be invited?’ I ask them as I throw bikinis and books into my suitcase. ‘I don’t think so, no,’ my friend replies, as she tidily packs some clothing more suitable for a sailing trip into my case.

‘Hmm,’ I wonder as I throw in some dress shirts. ‘No, honestly,’ my friend says, quietly removing the shirts. ‘She’s probably just checking because it’s a fairly impetuous decision.’ ‘I see what you’re saying,’ I say. ‘I will call and let her know she is more than welcome to join us.’ I call my therapist. ‘Don’t worry!’ I say gaily down the phone. ‘Hi, is everything OK?’ she replies slowly. ‘Everything is great!’ I tell her. My friend shakes her head despairingly and repairs to the kitchen to grab a beer. ‘There are brownies,’ I call after her. ‘Sorry?’ my therapist asks down the phone. ‘Oh, not for you. No brownies for you,’ I tell her. This phone call seems to have started badly. I hope my therapist doesn’t think I’m telling her she’s fat. ‘I was just calling,’ I begin, ‘to reassure you.’ ‘Oh, thank you very much,’ she replies politely. ‘I’m actually just off to a meeting, but be safe, and I’ll see you when you get back.’ ‘Oh, OK then,’ I say. She hangs up. ‘I was going to invite her, but you know, I’m not sure she’d cope. Culturally, I mean,’ I shout downstairs to my friend. My friend says nothing. I am worried she has seen through my cover up. ‘I mean,’ I shout desperately, ‘She didn’t even know what Mark Warner was. I’m not sure it’s fair to inflict her on the group.’ My friend returns upstairs. ‘Anyway,’ I continue bravely, ‘I think it will be good for her to cope without me for a few weeks. It’s important for her to learn about boundaries.’

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized