No secret that there have been many set backs and disappointments along the way but this week was dream-come-true time. Ned and Bertie helped me sail Peter Duck to St Katherine's Dock (London) last weekend and this week there was the chance to spend time with many friends old and new, celebrating the official publication of the Salt-Stained Book. The room's still rocking gently after the final leg of our sail home - left Queenborough (Medway) 0330, back on the mooring at Kyson 1330. Then all the packing and rowing back up river in the POURING rain. Water water everywhere.
Entries in julia jones (7)
In case you wonder how we all keep busy out here in the sticks, here's The Lady's glimpse of activity in Essex ...
Lots of chatter last week about the new BBC Swallows and Amazons adaptation that has been under discussion for so long. In an effort to catch all consituencies the BBC spokesperson claimed that it would be an antidote to the "health and safety obsessed generation" AND "a white-knuckle action ride". Seems to me that neither of those things bear much relationship to the book. Days are spent doing very little (as holiday days should be) apart from catching a few perch and Ransome is also well aware of safety - as when John realises how stupid he has been tacking through the rocks in the dark. Trumpeting the fact that the children will not be wearing life jackets seems likely to miss the main point.(Which is that safety is not something to be taken for granted. It depends to a great extent on the individual taking responsibility, developing their skills and also being aware of risk. Good, well-maintained equipment also helps.)
Fabulous appreciation of the Salt-Stained Book by author and sailor Jan Needle. It was sent in an email but we have Jan's permission to quote:
After this brilliant adventure, you managed a heart-warming and tear-inducing ending. It really is a wonderful book.
It’s also a fantastic tribute to Arthur Ransome, and I’m sure he’d have loved it. The sailing is perfect – light touch, technically delightful, and thrilling when it needs to be. The duel between Polly Lee’s junk-rigged wonder, a Mirror dinghy and a moron in a high-speed launch is masterful. The Hullabaloos live on…
But it’s the children who are the best. Needy, bright and under constant threat by apparently insuperable odds, they have almost no one but themselves to fight their fight. Like Ransome’s children they are doughty, but unlike his, they are up against forces that are modern, dark, and genuinely chilling. Donny and Anna are heart-breakingly real. I’m dying to read the sequel.
If anyone tells you you shouldn’t have done it, tell them to grow up. This book doesn’t detract from Arthur Ransome, it enhances him. I’ve still got the postcard he wrote to me when I was a poor young sailorboy, and his spirit shines through it. After your book, I’m going back to reread his. And any child who liked Goodnight Mr Tom will love it too. It’s terrific.
Jan said that the ending of the SSB almost made him cry - that's nothing to the way Julia felt when she read (and heard) such wonderful words.
* From now on please don't worry about the future, stay with what you already know and love. * Appoint the person you most trust as your advocate and ask them to read this book while you get on with your life. * Forget about the diagnosis. You're very good at forgetting now, so use this skill to forget about dementia and get on with enjoying your life once more
These are messages in Oliver James's wonderful book Contented Dementia and, now that I can't any longer ignore the fact that my mother has this condition, I would like to dedicate these wise words to her.
The trouble is that just now I feel rather more daunted and less able to cope than I did when I was trying to row us both up the river aged 2 1/2.