October 19, 2005

Maritime Blues

So I was sitting at home two weeks before term started attempting my ‘R U Ready for year 3’ questions (the answer was no I’m not ready), when my friend Ursie rings me and asks me if I want to go stay on Hilbre island for a few days. Hilbre is a fantastic place off the coast between the Dee and Mersey estuaries. You can walk to it at low tide but then is cut off from the mainland as the sea rises, and there are only three private houses on the island; the rest is a nature reserve. Obviously my answer was yes, and packing only a spare jumper, a pair of wellies and my copy of ‘Brideshead Revisited’ I went and caught the train to West Kirby.

Anyway we were sitting in the living room having just had treacle pudding with ‘red sea sauce’, a topping we invented consisting of melted galaxy chocolate and red food colouring, when Ursie asks if we want to go for a little row. The sea was calm and looked quite attractive so we decided to see if we could get to Middle Eye, an island about fifty metres away. We proceeded towards Middle Eye with ease and it was not until we tried to turn around that we realised, rather than good rowing, it was an incredibly strong current that had given us such speed. At this point the waves started to break over the causeway meaning that rather than being in a sheltered cove we were now on the open sea.

Over the next 90 minutes we drifted towards Ireland. Ursie was in charge of rowing, Sam was in charge of holding on to the rollocks which didn’t fit the boat, and I was in charge of making up physics to try and convince them we’d drift towards shore in a minute. Eventually three wonderful men from the West Kirby lifeboat station arrived and took us back to the island with our boat in tow. Having made sure that we were all ok and had warm clothes they left us enjoying a meal of sausages and soup as they braved the sea again in order to get home.

Moral of the story, lifeboat men are great people. That’s not really a moral is it but it’ll have to do. I won't be going out in a boat anytime soon anyway.


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