I have two very lovely sisters who both live in Scotland, Mairi and Morag. No, you don’t get more Scottish names than theirs.
Mairi is the eldest sister. Morag and I agree it’s a marvellous thing to have a big sister; someone to copy and learn from your whole live through, someone to look after you.
So this week Mairi, her husband and their two children are finishing packing up the family home, packing up their boat and preparing for a year of sailing around the Meditteranean. It’s a big week at their house.
They are brave, don’t you think? I very much admire their adventurous spirits and their derring do. Their boat is not big, but the waves they face will be.
Mairi and her husband have been on a trip like this before. About 20 years ago, my Dad packed up his life and went round the Med for a year in his beloved boat, the glorious vessel Penelee. Mairi and hubby were with him for most ofthe year. They survived the savage seas, mind you that would have been a doddle compared to surviving a year in close proximity with Dad who was a
difficult complex character.
Dad finally drank himself to death in August 2009. Our whole family dynamic has changed enormously and one upshot is that Morag, Mairi and I are all feeling the pain of that tyrant distance much more than we did before. We’re closer.
Our Dad had many faults, but he did take us sailing when we were kids, he gave us the great gift of being free on the sea, with the main and jib flying and the water gushing along the decks as we sailed close to the wind.
We ran wild across beautiful Scottish islands and rowed into our own imaginations. We sang sea shanties as we thudded across great huge waves and we wondered why our Mum was so worried.
It’s a wonderful thing that Mairi and her family have got that adventurous spirit still and are letting themselves break free and go, packing this week, setting off the next.
I’m grateful to have sisters and feel very blessed that we are emotionally close even though we are all so physically far apart.
Here’s a quote I read years ago which I loved so much I had a friend paint a little picture of a boat at sea for me, with the words enscribed below.
Ships in harbour are safe, but that’s not ships were built for.
Do you ever long for adventure?
Are you safe in your harbour or boldly setting sail?
Update: Mairi and her family returned to the westcoast of Scotland after their year afloat. They wrote lots of blog posts about the trip, some written by the teen twins. Fascinating, click over to www.28feetafloat.com.