What do you do on a bank holiday? Well, I suppose there are a thousand and one things you could do, but if you were a yachtsman at Hullbridge you would want to be on the water. This bank holiday the tide was out for most of the day, but a keen sailor could have taken the morning ebb for a sail towards Burnham before returning with the help of the incoming tide. However, yesterday afternoon, when I walked along the footpath at Hullbridge, it was clear that most yachts never left their moorings. The forecast of morning showers and evening rain may have had something to do with it.
Early in the afternoon the sun shone briefly between parting clouds. I took this as an invitation to go for a walk. Down at the river by Hullbridge public slipway, a mother and her daughter were feeding swans; two dads and their kids were crabbing, and the Anchor Pub’s outdoor area was crammed full of chattering people. A number of walkers, some with dogs, were ambling along the waterside footpath, and I joined them. The majority were interested in the grandiose residences overlooking the river, whereas my attention was focussed on the yachts.
In turn I posed the same question to each of them, “Are you fit for crossing an ocean?” My imagination ran riot. I recalled the recurring dream of my youth, which was to sail my own yacht across the oceans of the world to foreign lands where I would meet fascinating people, learn of their ways and see wonderful things. That unfulfilled dream is now overshadowed by a new reality, for Youth has passed me by. She briefly flirted with me, and now she has gone. My mind dreams on, but my body tells me there is but a faint chance that I shall ever sail across an ocean alone, and yet a glimmer remains. Maybe, but can I find the will? Was it ever truly there? What’s wrong with dreaming?