My lifelong love for water is rendered plain to me whenever I flip the pages of my souvenir photograph albums, or enter into reveries about happy times past, present or future. Born on the Wirral peninsula, bounded to the north by the Irish Sea, to the east by the Mersey river, and to the west by the Dee, the dolorous boom of ships’ fog horns* in what was then one of the world’s biggest ports are among my very earliest memories.
A camping trip at Bala Lake with my dad half a century ago. Childhood summer holidays celebrated joyously on a North Wales beach. Sailing the seven seas on board the Mersey ferry (the mundane reality of to and fro crossings between Woodside and Liverpool never extinguished the higher vision!). The Channel Islands. Brittany Ferries. Living today close to the shores of one of England’s most beautiful lakes.
Possessed generally of a great love for ships and boats, peninsulas and islands. Annual holidays beside a Breton tidal river. Delight in a daughter’s living on the banks of a Scottish loch. Heart lifted by the sight and sound of water tumbling down fells and mountainsides. The deep silence of the Lakeland tarns. Comforted by thunderously heavy rain on our roof. Vicissitudes calmed, and moved to meditation, by nearness to sight and sound of any moving water.
Awed by calm and storm alike. Sometimes excited. Occasionally frightened. Always drawn. Having treasured friends pictured ‘across the water’. I can hardly think of a single day’s passing without awareness of water. I shall spend a bit of time in the coming months contemplating that, and life’s ever present ferrying, floating, ebb and flow.