A seasoned look at life - November 15, 2012

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HOW lucky are you? I always consider myself fortunate – while on dry land. As soon as I take to water disaster strikes.

Take my first holiday abroad. A strong sea current got me into trouble bathing in Spain, while waving for help and only getting friendly waves from shore in return.

In the end I allowed myself to be washed up – and cut up – on an outcrop of rocks.

Then there was my first boating holiday on the Norfolk Broads – when the engine came off its mountings and left us stranded on a remote backwater.

Emergency repairs were eventually made at a nearby pub.

My Channel crossings were always the roughest and in Crete the ferry I was on almost sank – if not for fervent prayers from its crew.

A holiday on a Thames sailing barge was halted early when we hit a sandbank on the River Crouch while heading out to sea.

We had to abandon ship across foul mud.

Then a pal took me on his yacht in Conwy, North Wales.

No sooner had we reached open sea then the weather changed and a cannon was fired back in port warning boats to return. It took hours of tacking in a growing storm.

Finally, in Hong Kong a friend took me sailing on his catamaran and, while going about out at sea, one of its hulls cracked.

Fortunately, he managed to sail most of the way back on just one hull and, as he changed tack and our vessel sank like a stone, we could swim ashore.

Since retirement from helping edit this newspaper I have noticed another jinx - and this time not all at sea. I’m talking about my book signings.

The first time I gave a talk at a bookstore one of the early arrivals was a notorious vagrant known for trouble making after drink. Fortunately, he was sober and soon lost interest.

But then a display collapsed on to a lady in the front row, disrupting events.

When I accepted a library speaking invitation the librarian wrote off her car in an accident on the way to open up. Fortunately, she was not hurt. But when I finally did start talking it set off howling from a dog tied up outside. The Scottish terrier got more laughs than my talk.

But I am still a lucky man with many blessings, as She Who Knows regularly reminds me. There’s just one reservation. If ever I was famous enough to give those talks on cruise ships, I would have to hesitate.

Such good fortune could be disastrous.

● n Roy’s latest novel, At Heaven’s Gate, is set in Lytham and just published. See royedmonds-blackpool.com for details.