Welcome back to another blog hop, with #OpenBook. Here’s this week’s prompt.
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How did you picture your life as a kid versus how it turned out so far?
Growing up, I always wanted to travel and have adventures. From the comfort of my retirement, I can look back and see how it all panned out.
Excuse what follows, it’s not meant to be a boast, merely a list of some of the highlights of what has turned out to be quite an interesting life.
All things considered, I don’t think it was a bad result for a country boy who hated school, someone who his teachers said would never amount to much.
I was fortunate to travel quite a bit, over half a million miles across the waters of the world in forty years (yes, I kept records). Although foreign travel is now commonplace, I’ve still managed to rack up some impressive destinations. I’ve rounded Cape Horn, sailed 500 miles up the Amazon and visited several ports in the old U.S.S.R., back in the 1970s.
As for adventures, I’ve commanded a ship, as a Master Mariner and as a Licensed Thames Pilot. I’ve taken a 150m long passenger ship through Tower Bridge (forwards and backwards), navigated the oceans by sun and stars, loaded and discharged cargo in a hundred different places.
There have been many moments that I will never forget. The highlight has to be sneaking a ship out of Poland in 1981. We had been standing by a new ship, being built at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk. As some of you might recall, there was a bit of a fuss in Poland at the time, caused by a certain electrician and his trades union, Solidarity. There were three Russian troopships anchored off the harbour, the locals were sure that the unrest was about to be crushed by force. Under the orders of our owners, we cut the mooring lines at midnight and steamed out of the port, fortunately without incident.
As well as that, I’ve been on a sinking ship and a plane that crash-landed. I’ve put on a fire suit with full breathing apparatus and dealt with a blaze in a ship’s engine room.
I’ve sewn wounds and given injections, watched dolphins and whales, smelled Sandalwood on the breeze at 3 a.m.
I’ve been bumped by other ships, run aground, my ship has been struck by lightning and sailed through hurricanes.
I was shot at in the Philippines, threatened with hijack by the Palestine Liberation Organisation.
When my young self said that he wanted to travel and have adventures, that is probably what he meant, but surely he could never have imagined that the experience would be so much more than he had thought possible.
And that’s before you get to the part where I found my wonderful wife, had three daughters and five grandchildren (so far). That was as much of an adventure as anything that I did at sea.
Never, not even for a moment, did I ever think that I would round it all off by writing over twenty books, or that it would lead me to so many new friendships. Even though I’ve retired, I still have adventures. It’s just that, these days, I see them through the eyes of my characters, as they explore places and times that I could never reach.
Until next time.
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