One foot on the ground
SETTING THE COURSE
To pay our respects for those who died in two world wars to protect our country, Miranda and I travelled to Dunkirk and Ypres during remembrance weekend. My grandfather, Harry, was at Dunkirk in 1940 as a medic, helping our troops evacuate from France. During our trip we watched Mark Kitto perform as Osborne in Journey’s End. Mark took us to Tyne Cot and the Menin Gate.
Having sailed across the English Channel last year during daylight, our next challenge was to sail across through the night. Miranda, Bill, Charlie, Amanda and I left harbour on a 40ft Dufour on Friday 24th May 2019 at dusk and arrived mid morning at Saint Vaast, France. We took turns through the night to keep watch. At one point while Bill and I were on watch, we saw a very large vessel crossing our path in the shipping channel - the busiest in the world. As we got close the size of the vessel grew and got closer. It had chimneys the size of a block of flats. It was very difficult to assess whether we would cross in front of it. Frankly it was terrifying. I screamed for Charlie to join us on deck and turned off wind. As I did it seemed to follow us and was bearing down on us, less than 100 yards away. Even this close it was not clear which direction it was moving .. or indeed if it was moving at all. The experience was like a bad dream. However we got across, had a meal of fresh oysters and a glass of Calvados (distilled cider popular in Normandy) on the harbour .. and then returned. It was tough and tiring. This video gives you a small taste, but in reality the 30 hours we spent travelling 160 miles was not quite as relaxed as it looks here :)
Sample video from Emmi and Cause for Concern at The Islington with Barny, Ben & Mat
On 12th December 2018 at 1.17am Amelia Shirley Parsons was born at 7 pounds 4 ounces. I became a step grandfather and our clan expanded. Miranda was Martha’s birthing partner and spent two nights with her in Princess Royal Hospital, Orpington. I camped in a local hotel - ready for action. One moment it was all calm, the next it was all happening. When the call came Matt, Clive, George, Ellie and I all jumped in our cars and raced across London through red lights and no entry signs. Matt arrived just in time to cut a very solid placenta. It was an incredible moment to be present at the start of a new life and hold Amelia gently in my arms.