Monday, 16 April 2012

Sang-froid



The painting above is of a workboat in the Haven “Wilfreedom”. The great thing for me about life is the experiences you have and the interesting people you meet. I am not one for amassing material things. Even so the house still retains a good deal of clutter.
Anyway one of the interesting characters we know is “Ziggy”. I am not sure of his actual nationality; I believe he may hold 3 passports, German, Norwegian and British.
We have known him a good 20 years and in all that time I have never heard him moaning once. He has had share of misfortune including losing his partner and his son being seriously injured in an accident.
One morning Alex and I set off for a sail over the Carmarthen Bar. It was the largest tide of the year and the highest for several years. There was a stiff breeze and as we approached the Bar we could see a large swell and the tops of the waves were just breaking. As the tide was ebbing at a fast rate we decided to turn back before we got in to trouble on rollers that looked like they were the size of a double decker bus. We managed to claw our way back up river against the tide (just) and drop anchor. In the meantime Ziggy had merrily sailed out single-handed waving and laughing on his 29-foot sailing boat. We were actual worried enough for his safety to drive to the top of the headland to watch him get out in to the bay and to watch him come back on the evening tide. When we spoke to him afterwards he was totally unconcerned and said it had been a little rough. The other thing I haven’t mentioned is that he had a heart transplant many years ago. He has an annual check up at Papworth and according to him needs to drink a few cans of lager a day for his heart?
He used to visit his son in Norway. To do this he would set off in his boat from Llansteffan and sail up around the top of Scotland and across the North Sea single-handed with several crates of lager to keep him company. If he was tired he would go below and sleep for a couple of hours with the boat on auto pilot. Always a bit hazardous. On one trip he told us he hit a Rock coming back. When asked what happened he said he was in Norwegian waters below decks when he struck a rock. The boat went aground then slid back down and he sailed off. He continued on his voyage down the North Sea and the English Channel and up into the Towy Estuary where he checked out the damage when he dried out. The last I heard of him he had sold up and moved to Norway to be closer to his son. Ziggy lived life to the full enjoying every day a fine example to us all.

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