Making sense of it all


Walking through the City of London this morning, pushing against the flow of office workers heading for the monetary paper chase, I was arrested: pinned like a collector’s moth to a card. Gone were the shadows of figures splitting around my passage against the human tide and instead in my mind’s eye was an old wharf with boats under canvas and crouching figures in boiler suits aiming blowlamps at their planking.

A painter and decorator stripping the coatings from an ancient pub door had transported me to 1963. So powerfully evocative is the smelling sense that I can tell you the boats which were then laid up on Victoria Wharf, at my home in Leigh-on-Sea.
There was a Peter Duck, a Maple Leaf, a Montague Whaler and a little Dauntless.

As far as I’m aware they’ve all gone now, but it was good to flash back in time for a moment.

Another sense which is enhanced when others are impaired is hearing and in thick fog the other day in the Crouch we could hear foghorns. So we pulled our own one out from the saloon locker, and with the Reeds Almanac I always keep handy, double checked on what we should be blowing while moored.