Everyone has them; years or prolonged periods in which life just gets a bit bumpy and you have to hang onto your seat and smile with the hope that everything will settle soon. I’ve just been through one of those. I had a good selection of family, medical and business drama to deal with and so while I had loads to write about, none of it was particularly inspiring and uplifting, and some of it was deeply personal, so I wrote nothing at all. For ages. But here I am, with a spare five minutes and the urge to share….. so here goes….
It was my birthday a couple of weeks ago and I was imagining myself as my friend Victoria who is impossibly cool, especially when it comes to anything to do with the water. She’s at one with any kind of H2O and anything that floats on it. So, being confused and thinking ‘that’s me too,’ I bought myself a stand-up paddleboard (S.U.P) and presented it to Neil as my gift. Neil was pleased with himself (me) as he’d fancied getting one and his generous gift meant he could try it out too. I was pleased because I could picture myself walking down to the quay at Blakeney with my board and catching those early morning tides. What fun I’d have.
This time of year is always tricky. Its heart-attack season. The season in which Neil tries to co-ordinate getting all of the boats onto the water before he has a heart attack. It’s also a tricky time to write a blog as nothing much has happened from which to draw inspiration and, believe me, I’ve tried to find inspiration.
I, like half the nation, recently went to see The Greatest Showman at the cinema. And like half the nation, I loved it. I loved it so much I made Neil and our children go and see it too. I had to accompany them because
a) I really wanted to
b) I wanted to see their faces as they watched it and
c) I could feel the beginnings of a crush forming for Hugh Jackman.
If you know me you might not understand my crushes but you will know that I can get infatuated. I will have enthused repeatedly about the object of my fascination for you to have worked out these crushes are not born out of any romantic feelings but by awe and admiration for their creative talent and resilience. I’m always floored when someone shows a level of dedication to their craft or role that borders on insanity.
I bet you’ve all moved house at least once in your life so you will have some idea of what a huge undertaking moving the boat yard was. In fact, many of you came to the boat yard, looked around and shook your head whilst muttering “I wouldn’t fancy moving this lot. How on Earth are you going to do it?”
I was talking to an ex-boat owner who, over the years, has become a friend and kind of business mentor, and he referred to Neil and I as entrepreneurs. I laughed at this. Entrepreneurs are either rich or on The Dragons Den, trying to get rich, that’s not Neil and me. However, he was serious and said that he had been asked to give a talk on what it meant to be an entrepreneur. Him being one, it took three things, he said
Obsession; for the dream or idea you have.
Madness; because why would anyone give up the safety and security that a regular job offered to take the leap.
Courage; because while you feel the obsession and embrace the madness you will have to have the courage to ignore those that tell you can’t and shouldn’t.
Thanks for your email about my last blog post – ‘A flappy sail’.
The question you have asked is a common one. Essentially it is, how can I get my wife to sail with me, and to enjoy it?
“I Don’t want to go to work,” I complained, “It’s too nice here.” I was laying in our garden and enjoying the warmth of the sunshine. “I know,” Neil agreed, stretched out beside me on the giant beanbag. This was last Sunday, just after lunch. Early April was pretending to be mid-August and I wanted to play along. I looked over at Neil, his eyes closed, his face relaxed, his breathing deep and regular. This was the first time in a week that I’d had a chance to look at him, to be with him and I wanted to preserve this tranquility. I propped myself up on one elbow and looked down at him, “Okay. How about if we go now, work until five and then go for a sail?” He squinted up at me, his smile lazy, “That would be really nice. We should.” “Especially as it will probably snow next weekend. It being Easter and all.” Neil laughed and I knew the deal was sealed.
The March madness is about to set in at the boat yard as we rush to get the majority of the boats that we look after, into the water for Easter. The thing that keeps Neil and I going through this busy and stressful period, which many of my friends affectionately refer to as ‘Neil’s heart attack season’, is that soon we too will be out on the water. And although Neil has collected boats as if in anticipation of a call for defence against an impending armada, there are only two that we really depend on to make our season, the first being our Oyster ‘Annie’ which Neil has already serviced. She will be launched at the end of this month as we use her to take people out for test sails. The second is ‘Molly’ our Leisure 23. We’ve yet to service her but we’re not worried. There is plenty of time because she will not be launched until May.
Today we were tagged in a picture on Facebook. It showed the rudder and mast from a Norfolk Oyster mid-way through its winter rub down. The owner was doing a good job but what really made the picture special was the items were not being sanded down and varnished in a garage or shed; they were being worked on in the family sitting room.