The succour of the saltings


This morning I was hailed on my way to the station by a stooping fellow, with a hacking cough, dressed in a mud-bespattered, second-hand track suit and broken shoes. I had not seen him for some time, indeed he asked me how Powder Monkey was, the Alan Buchanan 30 footer I sold three years ago.

Despite his appearance he has impeccable manners, an Etonian delivery and is highly intelligent. So what is this patrician figure doing ekeing out his existance on a leaky old boat in a marshland creek in the Thames Estuary?

He once was a professional soldier in Ian Smith’s Rhodesia and was detailed to diplomatic protection. While on duty guarding some visiting VIP from South Africa an attempt was made on the VIP’s life. Our friend’s training came to the fore and he shot and killed the assailant stone dead. Unfortunately he did not know the effect killing somebody would have on him.

He gave up his job, home, and career, and sought out a solitary and peaceful berth away from the madness of the world. He is finding that sanctuary on a boat in the marshlands of Essex. I wish him well.