The Master Beguiled
An early encounter; Checking her out!
If you are like me, you build up a relationship with your boat. Strange, isn’t it? That’s because a boat, although nominally female, is actually neuter. It has no feelings or understanding, but the owner soon learns that ‘she’ has a personality, even a character. I know more about boats that sail than boats that are wholly reliant upon their engines, and that for me is a fine thing, because engines and I seldom get on. I do not know as much about them as I do sails, and therefore I do not know the best way to deal with them. They need care and maintenance, that’s for sure, but I understand the simplicity of sails and how they react to their driving force, the wind.
Somehow, my boats have all been live creatures, and I’ve lost count of the number I’ve had. Details of our relationships have faded into the recesses of my mind, but one thing is for sure, I’ve never let them take total control of my life. I’ve always tried to manage them, which has been far better than letting them manage me. I’ve placed limitations on the length of my relationships with them, by always being the master, rather than the slave. What has intrigued me is how different they have been. Some were tall and skinny; others were more average in proportion and one or two were rather fat and rotund, resembling the beauty of Ruben’s pearly maidens, rather than Botticelli’s more slender graces.
Rubens Pearly Maiden (Andromeda)
Botticelli Grace (Venus)
No matter how functional, or how radical, all of my boats have been decidedly feminine. They knew how to charm, how to smile and how to beckon, even beguile, not in a deceptive sense, but as innocents blowing kisses, making laughter and giving affection.
My current mistress comes from the upper classes; she’s a baroness with the title of ‘Ladybird’. She’s definitely not an Amazon, nor is she a siren; she’s more like a snail than a slug, although she may have features of them both. Somehow, she’s rather endearing, just like someone you want to cuddle and urge on to do her best. She needs to be listened to, and when the going gets tough she has to be cosseted. In times of ease she responds generously and shows her appreciation. The more I get to know her, the more I am taken with her ways. I guess now is the moment to be aware, and to realise how much she is costing me and to ask the question, “How long can our affair last?” I think I already know the answer, for I have heard it often before, words echoing from the mountain tops, “Soon ye should cast her adrift and look for another.”
‘Ladybird’ will be for sale in August, 2010, i.e., after my summer cruise to the West Country - that’s if all goes according to plan.
‘Ladybird’ for Sale Web Site (Please be patient while photos download)
Peter Paul Rubens