They said there would be no ferries as the wind was forecast to rise beyond acceptable bouncing-over-water limits. At such times, ordinary old waves suddenly turn into the Salt-water Alps, and we struggle to hold down our children, our cars and our skirts. Words are snatched from open mouths and everyone wishes they had gone to a health spa in Basingstoke, including me. I may be married to the ocean through my family, but she and I have had plenty of disagreements over the years. Trouble is, she is way more confident than I am and with the wind up her tail, she can batter ordinary law-abiding folk to their limits.
We decided we would set off anyway, although the ‘we’ part of that is never the result of a discussion. When I married my husband, he became ‘we’ and I remained ‘I’. So we set off because we always set off. To not set off is to be a big girl’s blouse, and we don’t do them in our house. Even the girls don’t. To show fear is to appear weak. To hesitate is to be run over.
We spent a happy ten minutes behind a huge mucky lorry, and, having left home a rather cute sky blue, we gradually turned brown in the spray from its many wheels.
What a lovely gentle speed, I yelled over the hysterical blapping of the windscreen wipers. One of them hesitated mid blap. This is it, I thought, and waited for it to ping into orbit.
The moment passed.
Then so did we. Well, he did. I just closed my eyes as we plunged into the brown darkness on the wrong side of a very narrow road.
We passed gritters and snow ploughs, and tourists at viewpoints, holding on to each other to avoid flying over the edge. Anoraks billowed out like kites and nobody looked like themselves, as nobody ever does in woolly hats, scarves and multi-coloured mountain jackets, their hoods pulled right up tight. I have walked past family in the winter with no flicker of recognition. All I can see are a fistful of features peeping out from the dark.
Eventually we arrived at the ferry point and could see its beak was closed.
We were not to get home this day.
Now, settled in a warm little hotel sipping tea and watching the storm dancing through the wide windows, I find it all rather exciting. Home will still be there tomorrow and we are safe.
I think of the homeless on the cold streets of a cold city before I sit down to write.