Saturday is my last session of teaching childers and I am feeling a little sad already. None of them have drown, they can all sail better than when we started and I feel like I have been at least a little responsible for that. I wonder if they will remember any of this when they get older and become Olympic Sailors, Sailing Instructors themselves, or even just Sales Managers that sail on a weekend.
When I was little I remember learning lots of skills and they have all played some role in who I am today.
My first experience of the water was learning to Windsurf. Unsurprisingly I wasn’t much cop, but my Dad used to take myself and my brother to the Lake District for a week every summer, during which it rained torrentially and I spent more time paddling the board round than Windsurfing. I loved those holidays and remember even now the life skills I learnt from them. These included valuable things like ‘don’t touch the wall of the tent when it’s raining as the water will come through’ (nope – three summers on I would still do it and just get wet for the rest of the night), ‘fishing’s great as long as you don’t catch anything‘ (how scary is something wriggly on the end of your line – I stopped even using bait after a while) and ‘don’t wee in the lake – it’s your dinner‘ (Pot Noodle, lake water and a primus stove being key to our diet at the time – I later discovered my brother had never heeded this advice).
I also remember learning to knit – actually with my Nana – although my Mum used to knit too. This was on weekends spent at their bungalow and I remember having worked through a mound of brightly coloured acrylic finally producing a small stuffed clown. It had taken what seemed like forever, and I was really proud of it, but I can’t even remember what happened to it once I finished it – did I keep it? Give it away? No idea – I just remember the sense of achievement I had on finally completing it. But I don’t remember ever knitting again following this until I was a lot older and started a new job and made a knitting friend who got me hooked.
At this point I guess I should round up by saying ‘and I remember when I started selling stuff’ – no such luck – and no doubt why it is a more hard-won skill – as it has its roots in nothing I learnt when I was young.
So whatever they go on to do I guess I can take some small pride in the hope that one day they will fondly remember sailing round and round a patrol boat trying to come up with a sailing term beginning with ‘z’…..
And I still have this Saturday…..