Sunday, 12 September 2010

Charles M. Schulz

Charles M. Schulz's wife used to say that even on vacation (in 50 years of Peanuts cartoons, he only ever took one, a five-week break in 1997 when he was seventy-five), her husband would become a little distant from time to time, and she always knew that in these moments he was thinking about "the family" - Lucy, Linus, Pig-Pen, Schroeder, the incomparable Snoopy and of course, Good Ol' Charlie Brown, who never got to kick the football - and what Charles would have them do tomorrow, the next day, and the day after that..

Well, I have to admit the blog is a bit like that: even in a crisis it can rear its ugly head. I had been working late, and at 1.30am had popped outside for a bath. The night was warm and clear - indeed we had been admiring the glory of the Milky Way earlier - and the Sound was very still. I took my time over my bath and at just after 2am, I was stepping back in through the bedroom window (!) when I saw the shadowy outline of what looked for all the world like a boat, sticking up out of the water, near the far end of the jetty, at an angle of 45 degrees. When I realised that in fact it was a boat, our boat, I pulled on a pair of jeans, grabbed Lynn's inflatable canoe, launched it off the jetty as swiftly as a coggly eight-foot inflatable canoe can be launched off anything in the dark, and paddled out to investigate.

Only the very tip of the bow of the rowing boat was in the water - the stern pointed heavenwards. The lightest touch, the smallest wave, would have upset it and made it sink; not a disaster in the normal sense of the word, but highly inconvenient as the oars could end up anywhere and it would take some serious baling to float the boat in the morning. I had no idea how it had happened, but clearly the bow rope was tangled or snagged - the bow had been held fast and the incoming tide had done the rest.

I returned to the cabin for my knife, and on the way back to the boat almost returned a second time, for my camera. It would have been almost impossible to get a shot, I was tired and sodden and the boat was about to sink; but here I was, thinking, 'This would make a good pic for the blog'. Sad.

When I cut the bow rope the boat popped clean out of the water and crashed back onto its hull, right side up, soaking me from above and thus completing the job begun from below by the rainwater lying in the bottom of the canoe.

A good outcome really, and the following pic from the morning after shows what had actually happened: I don't know why, because I'm usually quite careful about this, but for some reason I had left an enormous bight in the bowline that I'd used to secure the bow rope, the consequence being that the line was too short by several feet. Oops - won't happen again.

By way of PS to the paragraph about Charles Schulz:-
In an interview in December 1999, shortly before his death, Schulz recalled signing off on the last panel of the last Peanuts cartoon, and thinking, 'You know, that poor, poor kid, he never even got to kick the football. What a dirty trick - he never had a chance to kick the football."
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