Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bad Boat Days

Over the years, I have got into the habit of keeping a journal while on holiday. Seeing as I don’t usually have access to my computer, it is down to pen and paper.

Let me replicate for you exactly what I wrote this time round. This takes in five days in Venice.

“Venice – 2008”

I hope you didn’t blink your eye there and miss it! Yep! That was it! That was the extent of all my sights and insights about Venice!

I am quite disgusted with myself! This is perhaps why I don’t have the cheek to call myself a writer! There are no excuses – I was just too busy doing things to write about what I did.

One thing that Joe and I usually incorporate into our holidays together is a day apart! In the normal run of things we see each other in the morning and then in the evening. To go from that to twenty four hours, five straight days is a bit unreasonable! There are no children to act as buffers. There was no day off and about half way through, maybe towards the end of the holiday, we had a bust up. It was more heated than usual with loud threats to head out the airport for the next plane home!

I hate it when you get these terrorist bombs and then every known organisation phones up to claim responsibility. I claim just some of the responsibility for our “bomb”. I am one of these people that replay the whole incident over and over again. I don’t alter the details, but they take on a significance that was never intended. I get really stewed up.

I had got myself into such a state when a picture of something that had happened earlier in the week came to mind.

Venice is all about water, and canals and boats. Where most cities would have busy roads and lots of traffic and pelican crossings, Venice is a bit different. It is so unlike anywhere I have ever been. The main road is the Grand Canal, the traffic consists of various kinds of boats, and the pelican crossings are bridges everywhere.

I was standing on one such bridge watching the gondolas. In amongst them all was a man in a rowing boat. Where we would park a car in the garage, the folk that live in the centre of Venice would tie up a boat to the back door.

This particular man was trying to tie up his boat to his back door step. I don’t know whether he had the rope on board and was trying to tie it round one of the poles beside the door, or whether the rope was tied to the pole and he was just trying to reach it. Whatever the problem, things were not going well. He reached too far over and the boat tipped over and he fell in the canal.

For a while he had a hand on the side of the boat, but he just couldn’t physically pull himself back into it. A couple of the gondolas came to help.

That man had probably done the manoeuvre a million times before and never fallen out of his boat. He could probably have done it blindfolded and with one hand tied behind his back – well, perhaps not. You know what I mean though. What made this time different? I suspect he might have been returning after a drinking session with his mates. What is easy to do when you are sober, is a sheer impossibility after a few bottles of wine. I don’t know. Maybe it wasn’t a hangover but the onset of a touch of flu. Or maybe he was just having a bad boat day.

As I was giving myself a hard time over the argument with Joe, I remembered the man and his boat. I don’t think for a moment that the next day he went down to the newsagent and put a “Boat for Sale” sign in the window. He had had a single bad boat incident, not a lifetime of falling out of boats. Three hundred and sixty four days in the year he had tied the rope around the pole with no problem. Just this one day he had missed the pole and fell in the canal. For all the days that Joe and I have been married – the “bad boat” days are few and far between. They happen. It’s life.

There was still some fallout from the explosion to deal with but nothing a wine tasting day in Northern Italy couldn’t deal with!

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