In February last year I spent the wettest, coldest weekend of my life on the waters of Chichester Harbour, gaining my stripes as a powerboat licence holder (level 2!). The fixed grin I maintained in the face of 48 hours of driving rain and sleet was motivated by one thing, and one thing only.
Come the summer months (Covid permitting) I’d have the chance to be the proud skipper of a rented RIB, cruising the infinitely warmer waters of the Med. I think my fellow students in Bosham, most of whom were an altogether hardier breed of seafarer, took a rather dim view of this shallow motivation. Let’s just say, they passed the knot-tying test with ease; I caught my thumb in the bowline and scraped through.
And so, thank God (let’s call him Zeus), the day came when we were gliding atop the dead calm, petrol-blue surface of the waters around Crete, in search of nothing in particular beyond the occasional spot to drop anchor and slip into the unfeasibly warm and silky water.
It was a rich hunting ground for my son, “fisherman” George, who reeled in a succession of surprised-looking puffer fish, promptly conceding to their apparent demand to be put back where they belonged. With his big sister adorning the prow like some hedonistic figurehead, lost to whatever was blasting through her AirPods, my wife and I were able to trust that this rash experiment might just have worked. Let me explain.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” was very much the mantra in this house when it came to holiday planning. In 2005, wide-eyed and fraught with the demands of a new baby, we found a family holiday that worked, that we loved, and that we have since looked forward to for 11 months and two weeks of every year. So much so that I wrote about it in this newspaper and, based on the response, it turns out we weren’t as dull as I feared we were.