It is possible that my paternal Grandfather is responsible for this deep character flaw of mine. Either he, or my father’s mother, you take your pick.
Grandfather, apparently hailed from the Isle of Guernsey, where his father operated a small fleet of sailing ships based on Saint Peters Port. It seems Grandfather had inherited his father’s love of the sea, and from an early age dreamed of following in Great Grandfather’s footsteps.
The story goes like this. The old Master, seeing the days of sail giving way to steam, sent Grandfather off to school in England to learn something of the new ways. But Grandfather, chaffing for adventure after a few barren years in a classroom, ran away, finding a job on a ship sailing for the south Americas. Word leaked out, of course, and Great Grandfather took off across the Atlantic to bring the scallywag to heel, saying if he wanted to do it the hard way, he would do it under his supervision, and on one of his sailing ships. “And it was as Great Grandfather decreed.”, said Papa. Who can have recounted this fanciful story to Papa is problematic – the boy, my father, only remembers meeting his father once – during the First World War, after his ship had been torpedoed in the English Channel.
Family myths of running away to sea or no, it is a fact that Papa’s mother took ship to Singapore around 1896 to marry the adventurous seaman, after which, according to her eldest son, my Uncle G, she proceeded to galavant across the globe on any ship with which the family had connections, until the war put a stop to such gratuitous travel.
In 1924, aged sixteen, Papa too, boarded a ship for the far side of the world, and, like all of Mother’s ancestors, set out to seek a new life in the great southern land.
My own voyages took me in the opposite direction, via South Africa, then by way of the Canary Islands to Barcelona – not the great maritime port cities of England. And it was in places like this that I dreamed of castles, keeps and sailing ships.
Later, much later, after I’d been enchanted by Serendib, I wandered along a beach one day, and dreamed of a life on my enchanted isle …
I wonder where my dreams will take me next?
For other entries in this week’s photo challenge – Dreaming – click here.