In the name of research for my pirate book I went sailing last weekend with my good friends Andrew, Elsa and all our children, in the Firth of Clyde. Even though it is October, the sun shone, the sea was completely flat and we managed to sail for about ten minutes before everyone declared that we were going too slowly and we decided to use the motor. It was wonderful to experience life on a boat, if only for a day. As well as seals and cormorants, we saw razor bills and oyster catchers. In the boat, I was amazed by the fact that everything was stowed away and only brought out when we needed it. Not sure if I’d ever be that tidy, organized or remember where I put things.
We sailed from Largs to Little Cumbrae which is now owned by an Indian Yoga Trust, then walked across the island, picking and eating late black berries, to the Robert Stevenson lighthouse. What material did I gather? Hard to quantify. As well as facts about boats – reefing and that ropes on a boat all have different names – I wanted to feel the lurch that stays with you for hours after as if your blood has been affected by the tides. That and the windfall apples from the lighthouse garden that I baked into a pie.