"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde
In last week’s episode, I may have gloated too much about what a lovely time we were having on our boating trip. Shortly after the blog went live, the little gods of boating blew my engine up. There was steam, there was overheating… but was there panic? There was not. We limped home at dusk. Engineer Rob the Hat resisted the urge to rub his hands together, but did chortle, ‘Ah, that’s your cylinder head gasket gone’. It seemed bad at the time but it could have been much worse, as you’ll see.
Meanwhile, life continued. Sam Youd and I did a garden-themed event in Salford, where he was mobbed by ladies of a certain age wanting to see his Mystery Object (no, really). On Wednesday dear friend Heather Duncan launched a new exhibition of her paintings – canapes and high art all round. The launch was a triumph and Heather can now proceed to the world-wide fame she deserves.
I drove back to the marina, determined to lock myself in the boat and write. It was sunny and springy and I texted a friend saying, ‘This is a day when adventures should happen.’ But this (below) wasn’t quite what I had in mind…..
A neighbour’s boat caught fire. This photo was taken ten minutes after flames were first seen, and five minutes after the occupant was helped out of the boat. It took an hour and two fire engines to put out. As other boats were moved to safety, one of our number broke his ankle and snapped a tendon, and will be in a plaster cast for 15 weeks. The boat is ruined, our lungs are still full of smoke and we all feel a bit sombre.
However, on Friday I pulled my finger out and headed for a celebration of St George’s Day in Liverpool. I always do a St George’s Day event to help reclaim Englishness from those who think Englishness means mean-minded, ill-informed nationalism. So this week’s exercise is a heartfelt one. Write about England and what it means to you; a snapshot of a very English moment, a ritual, a place or a memory that says ENGLAND to you. And you don’t have to be 100% ethnically indigenously English to take part – because nobody is, after all.