Cruisers of a certain age generally have to contend with the dynamics of family life from a distance. Some have aging parents and others growing grandchildren. We are very fortunate, no grandchildren and we both have siblings back in the
We left to sail as our youngest child left school and it is fascinating how the dynamics of our relationships with our offspring have changed. Initially we went through, what I now refer to as, 'the weaning period'! Every small setback or problem was the subject of lengthy telephone conversations back home. But with the passing of time the independence and problem solving abilities of us all have developed in a wonderful way. Absence really does, perhaps, make the heart grow fonder. Our children have become individual, independent, adults whom we are proud to have around. Our relationships have deepened and strengthened and interestingly their relationships with each other have shown a tight knit family unity whenever one of us is faced with a problem or difficult scenario. Yes, they still fight, after all nothing is ever perfect, but in moments of real crisis they stand united against the foe, I am proud of them! Maybe the role of UN peacekeeper is one I can never, as a parent, truly relinquish!
I do not think it is possible to underestimate the power of these deeply held family ties for those of us out here cruising. The selfishness of our way of life is often difficult for other family members to understand. When one of your family rejects the 'normal' behaviour of their society and strikes out alone it can be a deeply un-nerving experience for the observers.
Whilst most people have no desire to live their lives as we do, just the fact that we are making a positive decision to reject their way of life has a profound, although often unconscious, affect on the thoughts others have towards their own life decisions. "What am I doing?"; "am I happy?" and so on...
TBH comes from a family of adventurers, he was born in Nyasaland, his sister in Trinidad, his parents began their married life in
I do wonder how different our relationship with the children would have been had we remained in the
So, enough. I still reserve bragging rights for their successes, and regularly remind them that I wish to continue to be kept in the style to which I am accustomed. Their response is usually, 'Just remember we get to choose your dribbly farm...!"
In the spirit of proud parenthood, I attach a film James has just directed. It went out yesterday on the Culture Show. Working on the BBC’s flagship arts programme, he always manages to get the tone right. This piece is irreverent and skeptical without being camp or arch…