Friday, July 29, 2011

Fambridge Riverside

'Moby Dick'

If I am looking for spiritual refreshment, peace and quiet, I can usually find them at South Fambridge beside the River Crouch. This Friday was one of those deadly dull, heavy motionless days when the sky is grey and there’s no hint of a ray of sunshine and very little colour. There was barely a ripple on the water and hardly any activity, at least when I took a walk along the path that runs beside the River, but my soul was lifted when I saw the amazing tangle of wild flowers, grasses and reeds that brushed my feet as I wandered along. Butterflies flitted here and there, and one couple of Large Whites were engaged in a mating dance, so touching to observe. Bees buzzed and hovered, alighted and took their fill of nectar, unknowingly pollinating in return.

Scanning the moorings for any vessel of interest, my eye alighted upon a small auxiliary clinker ketch named, ‘Moby Dick’. She looked rather homely with her jaunty doghouse, providing full standing headroom. With two foresails, a main and a mizzen, she had ample sail for a reasonable turn of speed. To me, she looked just right – possibly a genuine classic conversion of an old ship’s lifeboat, having an extra strake from amidships forward added to her gunnels. I liked her side decks and hand rails along her cabin top. She could so easily be reefed, simply by dropping her main, and when at anchor, her mizzen would keep her steady, headed into the wind. Generous topsides would make her a dry boat, and the doghouse would keep her crew snug and dry.

A Large White

A delightful tangle of weeds

The white plastic yachts surrounding her were not a bit interesting or attractive to me. Somehow, they did not have life; they lacked character, being deadly dull as the unwholesome weather. Despite these blemishes spoiling the scenery, I came away refreshed, recharged, re-energised, thankful for the flowers, the bees and butterflies and for the little clinker boat.

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