This is a picture of a man with just seconds left to live -
Forget about Markus Zusak, here's the real book thief: Peter Johnson, skipper of SY EKAZA, who's since caught the outgoing tide and is on his way farther south, but not before I had fitted him out with a t-shirt emblazoned with a nautical motif and 'Nelligen Yacht Club' across the chest.
I also forced a book-bag onto him, containing several yachting books, three books by James Michener, "Lost Horizon" by James Hilton (whom he should know from 'Goodbye Mr Chips", being a retired schoolteacher himself) and "Longitude" by Dava Sobel. I thought of adding some Joseph Conrad titles but, other than "Lord Jim" which everyone knows or at least ought to, his books are an acquired taste and so I left them out.
It must've whetted his appetite because he wondered what I'd eventually do with all my yachting books. "Give them to Vinnies", I replied which prompted him to ask to be given first choice. Which I did and which resulted in two big armfuls of books going across to SY EKAZA.
As he did his final sail-by, I watched his Plimsoll line but all those extra books hadn't affected it at all. Perhaps he should've taken some more.
Anyway, I've probably made a friend for life which, given my age, won't commit him for long. "Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing, Only a signal shown and a distant voice in the darkness; So on the ocean of life, we pass and speak one another, Only a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence." Good fellow, that Longfellow!
Fair winds, my friend, and safe passage!
In my twenty-five years at "Riverbend", I've been to Shallow Crossing countless times but never by boat as my old motor-sailer's mast was too high for Nelligen Bridge, so when Skipper Peter of SY EKAZA asked me this morning to go upriver with him in his inflatable dinghy, I dropped everything and into his dinghy.
We motored upriver with the incoming tide, from the red spot at the bottom of the map which is "Riverbend" to the red spot at the top which is Shallow Crossing, through the most magnificent scenery imaginable.
It was real Heart of Darkness stuff, right down to spotting a Harlequin or two. For a moment I even thought I was dreaming as we passed some-thing called 'Bonnie Doon' but there was no sign of the Kerrigan family.
After several hours on the water during which we talked about books and Fibonacci and palindromic numbers, and made a refuelling stop ...
... and cooled down for a while at Shallow Crossing ...
... it was good to see SY EKAZA and "Riverbend" again.
So after twenty-five years, I finally made it to Shallow Crossing by boat. Better late than never!