This Guest post is from Jennie, lovely mum to 2 little girls. We share the love of water and sailing with Jennie. She wrote this very inspiring piece and has kindly allowed it to be publish on this blog. I trust, like me, you will enjoy reading the spark, the aspirations of a dedicated mum to recreate the wonderful memories of her childhood for her children and husband and instil a love she fosters into them too:
My parent’s small 10 foot wooden boat sits at the bottom of their garden under an apple tree planted a few years ago to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary. But not for much longer. Dad wants to sell it, even possibly give it away.
It is time for me to start scheming. There has to be space for it at our house, somehow, somewhere.
The ‘Peanut’, as it is aptly named, is a Scandinavian kit boat built by my grandfather and is supposed to be a sailing boat, motor boat and rowing boat all in one, except that it does all three badly. It comes with a pocket sized royal blue sail and this is what excites me. I am determined to pass this love of sailing on to my husband and eventually the girls. And I think there is a spark of enthusiasm following his first ever sailing lesson during a recent trip to Center Parcs in Sherwood Forest.
So the conversation after lunch today goes something like this: ‘Dad reckons he is too old to lump the Peanut around and he’s thinking of getting rid of it’ (heart in my mouth all the while clinging on to precious childhood memories on the Norfolk Broads. Will he bite? I’m certainly not going to mention the Peanut’s need for regular maintenance, or that it would need to be kept in our rather cramped front garden.) Mumbled response from husband disappearing into the bathroom to the cries of ‘wee wee daddy!’ from Diminutive Daughter.
A few seconds later a miracle happens and Dad is on the phone asking to speak to husband. I prepare the pram bag for a trip out to our local reservoir, just a few miles down the road, and some gentle persuasion post telephone call (what did they talk about? Must have been at least a four minute conversation! I daren’t probe and wreck my chances!) we head off for a gentle walk by the water. Diminutive Daughter is easily persuaded by the talk of boats and water and immediately announces she is going to feed the ducks, duly noted with top quality fresh bread stuffed into top of pram bag.
The beautiful bright blue sky sends a sparkle onto the breezy waves of the lake and surfers and dingy sailors alike skid over the water at almost breathtaking speeds. I make a beeline for the club house, family in tow, Tiniest Daughter fast asleep in pushchair, Diminutive Daughter skipping around with excitement, convinced she is going to do some ‘boat walking’ – the equivalent of sailing for toddlers except without the sails. Yes, we can become members, yes we can bring our own boat and yes we do qualify for student fees even though husband is a part time student. And joy of joys yes we can keep our trusty Peanut at the club sitting snugly alongside the trendy Comets and funky Picos that belong to that other world of people who call themselves real sailors.
It’s a done deal and I am over the moon.
And then the Club administrator kindly points out (with a sideways glance at baby in pushchair and skipping toddler) that the water is perhaps a little choppy this time of year, and maybe we should think about enrolling in the Spring.
Oh no! That means giving husband time to think about it. Reluctantly walking away I just have to hope that the idea will warm on him, and fortunately after a bracing walk to find some ducks desperately back peddling to keep to their spot on the lake, we find the clubhouse are serving big chunks of coffee cake and mugs of steaming tea. Just the ticket for convincing husband. I’m delighted.
Better still, as we sit absorbing the atmosphere and warmth of the clubhouse, we see the local anglers are weighing in their catches in a wire basket just outside the window. On an impulse I bravely approach them and am rewarded with a good sized rainbow trout for dinner. I can’t believe that they were going to throw them away! I am given the choice of fish in my hand or put straight into the pram basket. I hold onto it as best I can – it’s large and I only just about manage with one hand since I have to push the pram and husband is sensibly not around by this point. I’m pretty convinced it is still twitching too.
It doesn’t strike me until we get home that I need to gut the fish, and I’m not 100% convinced it’s dead yet. Diminutive Daughter climbs up onto a chair to watch and I decide the most humane method is to behead it first. It is hard work with our only average kitchen knife and our largest chopping board is still too small, but I manage it and discover hundreds of roe inside. Feeling guilty at the possibility of having killed a pregnant creature and an uneasy empathy from having been through pregnancy twice myself, I decide the roe must keep as a project for tomorrow. I fry the fish in steaks with taragon, garlic and sea salt.
Even with the distraction of watching Strictly Come Dancing while eating her supper – our weekly treat – Diminutive Daughter is decidedly impressed with the fish, and whispers to me as I tuck her into bed later on in the evening ‘yummy fish mummy. Yummy salmon!’
Back downstairs husband proudly announces he has achieved the highest heights of daddy-hood and has actually got Tiniest Daughter off to sleep – three hours before her normal bedtime. He gives me a boyish cuddle followed by a flirty kiss.
The future of the Peanut is looking rosy and as I reflect on which moment in the day the battle was won, I remember he glint in his eye when he saw the speed of those boats on the water. The glint hasn’t much subsided, but I realise that I may have a new battle on my hands. The Peanut will never be a racing skiff, but a bigger sail would make a huge difference.
Perhaps if I work out the economics of it all, I might convince him that money well spent now means saving on expensive holidays in the future. Who needs to go away on holiday when you live a beautiful part of the world with a lake and a boat on your doorstep?!
Did you have any hobbies or favourite pastimes that you desperately want to pass onto your own little family, instil to love towards something? What is it?
Have you perhaps written a blogpost about it already- link it here