Anyhow, once ensconced in my personal haven, I got to thinking about other times when I've been wetter, but not half as miserable. And yes, there have been a few...
The first one I really remember well was when my girls were small and we were spending some time with my father in London. It was a very hot summer (remember when we had those?) and in Essex the temperature was up in the high thirties. Anyway, being that hot cooked up some good old cumulo nimbus clouds and we had a humdinger of a thunderstorm. The three of us were walking down a road between my father's flat and where we were staying when the heavens opened. Now we were used to tropical South African storms and this equalled those and some. Within seconds we were totally drenched...but I mean so drenched that even our knickers were wet through. And so we laughed and danced in the puddles and enjoyed it to the full. There wasn't really much else to do, and I don't think I've ever had such fun in the rain since.
|Early days in the harbour|
The second occasion was in my early barge days in Rotterdam. We were having a barbecue on board and friends came round to join us in their rowing boat. I wasn't very agile then...well, I'm still not, but I've learnt how to get extract myself from sticky and potentially embarrassing situations a bit better these days. Anyhow, these friends asked me if I'd like to go for a spuddle with them. With innocent enthusiasm, I literally jumped at the chance - which involved launching myself overboard and landing in their rowing boat while I was still holding on to the side of the barge. Not a clever move, that. The boat swung away leaving me stretched like a suspension bridge between it and the barge. The more I tried to cling on, the further it floated until I just had my toes curled round the rim on the side. My self inflicted torture was greeted with no help and much hilarity by everyone around. Beasts.
Eventually gravity gained ground and I collapsed. But while the bottom half of me was in the water, I was still gripping somewhat perilously onto the barge. Luckily a friend, who happened to have an arm in plaster, grabbed me with his good arm and hauled me back on deck. I still don't know how he managed that; I was laughing too hard to ask at the time, but it was pretty heroic.
A year or so later, I took another dive off the side of a friend's barge, but this time I'd just had a lovely hot bath and in my pleasantly relaxed state, I climbed out of their hold and straight overboard. My hosts thought I'd decided to go turkish and were a bit surprised, but not half as surprised as I was when I hit the water fully dressed in leather jacket and jeans with my mobile phone in my pocket. After they hauled me out, I walked home adorned with twigs and leaving a trail of water and weed behind me. The local pub-goers had the grace to say nothing as I passed.
|My first harbour home - The Hoop|
|The book where some of these|
soggy surprises are described
Watery Ways, my memoir, is reduced this coming week to the special price of 99p, or just over $1,00. If you'd like to give it a try. The offer starts 6 February and will run until the 20th.
And just to finish off, do you remember getting hopelessly wet like this? Unintentionally, of course.