As I slammed my front door this morning I reached for my keys from my bag only to discover a clew strap in my hand. The boys looked at me and shrugged. Sailing has infiltrated my life so much that that seemed quite a normal thing for their mother to be stood holding on a Monday morning en route to school.
After a wonderful Autumn's sailing having not laid up the boats, my eldest decided to ramp his sailing up further. This has involved long dark trips to Weymouth in amongst the Tera Squad weekend to Hayling for the other 2. I did hit the point where my family nearly received their presents from the Chandlery at Weymouth. What my 95 year old grandmother would think of that I really don't know and quite frankly didn't care.
I've really had to learn and man up fast. Tying boats onto trailers has never been my forte. So when faced with the prospect one dark Sunday evening with nearly 200 miles ahead of me, I wanted to lay on the floor and weep. George was in his final debrief and it was pitch black and getting later and later. Ed had taken photos for me to follow, where to attach the straps etc. My own little personal instruction manual. I couldn't get my straps to look like those in the photos. To add insult to injury, the wind was whipping through my hair fresh from the Ocean behind me. Never more had I wanted to throw my phone across the floor and scream. Stupid. Stupid boat. If I could have abandoned it then and there I would have done.
Time for one thing only. Time to put my big girls pants on. I threw the straps over, ignored the wind and secured the them. The straps felt tight and George and I set off for home.
We made approximately 1 mile, the length of the causeway before it was apparent the boat was falling off the trailer, we pulled over in a relatively deserted car park and started again. George leapt into action and I took a brief look at my surroundings. We were not alone in the car park, there were several cars parked up with inhabitants inside. Good job we were inconspicuous then. One gave me a reassuring nod as I stood lit up like a beacon from the street lamp and I bowed my head.
We stopped a further 4 times to check the boat, I think George was close to losing it with me, having checked with Ed, Dad and Rich that it wasn't going to fall off, a rota of calling me followed. Once one had called to jolly me on, the next immediately called. So much for my big girls pants. This lasted for the next 5 hours til I rolled onto the drive in an exhausted heap.
As with all things, each weekend I went, it got better, my nerves subsided and I began to enjoy my time. I drove over 1000 miles in December. George had some cracking sailing, even winning the final racing. I took time to embrace Chesil beach, touched it's smooth stones and sucked in the wonderful sea air. I ran along the causeway with the wind in my hair and smiled at the irony of it.