Sailing and Dancing at Elton

By Brian Richardson

Every member of the ski club was invited to sail in a dinghy at Elton Sailing Club on the 14th August, and several skiers were adventurous enough to have a go. No doubt they all felt as self conscious as I did at the apparent idiocy of setting out from home with the blackest thunder clouds possible overhead, and driving through an horrendous rainstorm on route to Elton. But, philosophically accepting that drops of rain didn't amount to too much, since it was possible to be tipped into the reservoir anyway, helped me to maintain an illusion of sanity.

The reality was that we all had a wonderful afternoon. The big clouds went away, an excitingly variable breeze played with our boats all afternoon and the sun smiled at our successes and smirked at our (or at least my two) dunkings. The water was mildly warm. Elton Club gave us free access to their three Enterprises (traditionally blue-sailed two person boats), and members fitted us out with life jackets.. Thus those of us who could helm took turns with other members, who were soon to learn, or remember, how to manipulate sails without banging their heads. Life was even more like "living on the edge" when we swapped places as helm and crew! Elton Club members offered to take out members as well in their own boats and were incredibly helpful and forgiving at some of our antics. The Club's rescue boat was kept busy, helping out with some capsizes. I think it was about six pm on that sunny evening as the breeze softened that the last of us relented and headed to shore. The boats were parked, and we set course for a hot shower. The whole experience convinced us that we weren't so mad after all. I, for one, and I am sure I speak for the rest of the adventurers, am extremely grateful to Pat Ashworth and her fellow Elton Sailing Club members for filling a spot in my memory bank which will not fade.

Then it was barbecue time. The food was cooked outside but served in the warmth and comfort of the clubhouse where we sat in armchairs by a large picture window looking out across the reservoir and the fields beyond. Stories and banter were swapped whilst equipment for a barn dance was set up. Later, we danced for the evening to the sound of country music controlled by a Caller who wielded a baton which consisted of a battery operated infrared remote control. Matters got serious as his barn dance choreography took control of our minds. The children shone as examples of ideal pupils whilst some of us wallowed with uncoordinated feet. Why is it that if just a teeny mistake is made it seems to lead to chaotic merriment on the dance floor? It all finished too soon and we have been invited back again another year if Pat can survive the aftermath.

The geese had settled on the foreshore by the boats when we left.

Thanks again Pat.


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