It began the night we pulled into the gorgeous Ile d’Yeu, a beautiful island eleven miles off France’s Atlantic coast.
We’d carefully eased our boat in the blazing late afternoon sunshine along the narrow channel that passes around the marina, assiduously following the young lad in his small boat who was directing us to our berth for the night, where we turned the boat in the tiniest of spaces and ferry-glided neatly onto the hammerhead.
An hour later, smug about our last piece of boat handling which we had miraculously accomplished without hitting other boats or running aground, the boy came and told us we’d have to move, directing us to moor alongside another boat, which was tied to the pontoon. Hardly the end of the world.
The real problem started when our inside boat announced he wanted to leave at eight o’clock the next morning, meaning we’d have to arise early to move our boat to let him out of the ‘raft’, as it is known, and then slide back into the vacated slot. We’d already decided to stay in harbour to recuperate from sailing all day in the boiling sun for many consecutive days, so the idea of rising early did not go down well with us, though we knew we’d have to grin and bear it.
So what’s the point of this rambling tale? I’m getting to that…
Next morning I awoke at five am with a stinking headache, took a couple of Paracetamols and sat quietly in the saloon, where I fell asleep, only to be awakened by my alarm clock at 7.15. I stumbled to my feet, threw on some clothes and made coffee to be ready to move our boat at eight.
And we waited, and waited, and waited… No less than three coffees passed and still we waited, our anger mounting, until at 9.30 the other skipper appeared.
“You told us eight o’clock,” I barked in my best stumbling French. He pretended not to understand. I repeated myself, cursing the man under my breath for causing us to be unnecessarily plucked untimely from our beds at such an ungodly hour. We were seething. “This is not how we Brits behave,” someone mumbled. Eventually the object of our ire gave a Gallic shrug and announced he would stay after all till midday, and what was our problem with that?
We were fuming, cursing the French and this man in particular for his “unconscious” and “narcissistic” behaviour, and saying perhaps Brexit wasn’t such a bad idea after all, until I remembered, hey let’s keep this in proportion.
We’d been having a wonderful holiday for the last five weeks with hardly a care, enjoying terrific cruising under sail and charming French hospitality. Now there was one tiny blip in our bubble. Not really the end of civilization as we know it.
“Let’s get real,” I thought. “Even in Paradise stuff happens.” When something challenges you, it’s how you deal with it that matters.
Eventually we forgot the whole thing and resumed, thanks to the amazing weather, probably the most enjoyable summer holiday I’ve had in many, many years.
We are indeed living the dream, so why complain! Let’s just get on with doing what we love.
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