epublication uk By epublication uk, 17th Sep 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/2bn1kiz9/
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A sailing adventure set on the South-East coast of England.

Chapter 3.

Beth Holden entered Liverpool Street station from the taxi rank and boarded the train bound for the East Coast. She would have to change at Colchester and then travel on by the local service to her final destination, the small Essex town of Wivenhoe, situated on the banks of the river Colne. This was to be a new start, a fresh chapter in her life. Recovery from her failed marriage had been slow at first. A move to France with her mother had provided a diversion from the immediate situation. However, there followed a year of abject boredom, punctuated by various social introductions, intended, in her best interest, to offer prospects for the future. Inevitably, the call of home became too strong and she had departed, amidst floods of tears, to a new life in the City of London and prospects of her own making. She had been offered the post of assistant in a law practice in Lincoln’s Inn, and over the years had progressed to the position of junior partner. Life was rewarding. She was secure financially, and fulfilled, both in her working and private life.

Moreen Connolly, had joined the firm on the same day as herself and an immediate bond had been established between them. They had shared a small flat, close to the office during the intervening years, and became known to one and all as the twins. Living with Moreen had been a blessing. She was a bright-light and spread her enthusiasm for life to all around her, and thus, in her care, she had recovered her sense of contentment and well-being. And so it had been. A friendship that had lasted over the years. There had been the odd romantic interlude for them both, but nothing that had really rocked the boat, so to speak. And then Moreen had form an attachment to John Kemp. At first he was just a casual acquaintance, but as the months passed it became clear to her that they were both deeply in love with each other.

“Love you Beth!” “Love you too. Be happy!” and floods of tears again, as the car drew away, carrying the couple on the start of their new life together. It had all happened so quickly, leaving her little time to accept the inevitable. The flat felt empty and became a place just to sleep. She had taken to going away at weekends, which were the worst times. It was during one of these trips that she had come across the hull of the gaff cutter nestled in a mud berth at the seaward end of the Wivenhoe water front. The notice tied to the mast had read “For Sale any offers considered”. There was a number, which she rang, and within a couple of hours she was the new owner. It was a completely mad thing to do, but she needed a diversion, anything to combat the chilling loneliness which had descended upon her. “She’s as solid as a rock” said the small man in the overalls. “I’ll need her away soon though, developing the site you see. There’s a yard up at Maldon that’ll get her in shape for you. Give em a ring shall I?” And so it was, that she returned to the City that weekend the owner of a yacht of dubious condition and contracted to a yard owner whom she had yet to meet. As to the cost of all this, well that was anybodies guess.

That had been over a year ago now. She had recovered from the shock of loosing her friend and confident, and her life was more or less back on track Then a senior position had become available in the firm’s Colchester office. She had been recommended for the post and had accepted gratefully, as it offered the chance of a new start. The restoration of the cutter was almost completed. There had been several visits to the yard in this period and many letters had exchanged hands concerning the detail involved in the reconstruction. Joseph Masters had set her mind at rest and assured her that the project was sound, and had quoted a price that was fair and within her budget. And so it was that Easterly had been reborn and was nearly ready for delivery.

She left the train at Colchester and settled on a bench to await her connection. It was sunny and the air was cool and crisp on her face. A feeling of confidence and pleasure stirred within her as she contemplated her new beginnings. Wivenhoe had been a natural choice as a base. She had frequented the town regularly and felt secure and at-home there. A small cottage had come on the market in Dentons Terrace not far from the shops and river. She had put in an offer which had been accepted. Thus the stage had been set, and she could hardly contain her excitement at the thought of the prospects that lay before her. There was still the problem of finding a suitable berth for Easterly. She was due for delivery in about a week’s time. Not long, but she lived in hope. The firm had given her a month to settle in, before she was due to take up her new position and she was sure that she would need every minute of it.

The local service had arrived and she boarded and settled herself in a window seat, anxious not to miss her first glimpse of the sea and the surrounding countryside which was to be her new home. “Hello Miss!” She was startled by the voice which had come from the opposite side of the carriage. At first she could not place the speaker. Then it came to her. It was the small man in the overalls, except he was now wearing a sports jacket and grey trousers. “Been to town shopping” He offered the explanation, and then continued, “The name’s Robert. Robert Prentice, but my friends call me Bob.” She was not sure that she welcomed the intrusion, but smiled in reply. “Bethany Holden, hello! it’s nice to see you again.” “How’s the yacht progressing?” he asked. “She’s nearly completed. Due to launch next week.” “Make a good job of her, did they?” “Yes, I’m very pleased with the work and the price was reasonable too. I’m calling her Easterly.” “Good name that” He beamed at her across the carriage, and she began to feel more at ease in his presence. She paused in thought for a moment and then asked “You wouldn’t know where there’s a berth for her, would you?” “Got just the thing” he replied. “I purchased the lease on that piece of foreshore, last year. The wife and I needed a bit of extra income for our retirement. Could fit you in there.” “Thank you very much” she replied. “You have no idea what a relief that would be to me.”

Their conversation lapsed for a while as her attention was drawn by the view from the window. The river lay in all of its splendor to her right hand, wending its way through the Essex countryside, and glinting in the sunlight. The beauty of it took her breath away. “Lovely, isn’t it?” His voice interrupted her thoughts. “Yes it is, very lovely” she replied. “Gets to me every time, and I’ve’ only lived here all me years” he continued. She laughed, realizing as she did so, how absent the sound had been from her life. They completed the journey in silence, content with their own thoughts. At the station they took leave of each other as friends. She walk the short distance to the terrace of cottages, turned the key in the lock and was home.

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Adventure, East-Coast, Sailing

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
18th Sep 2013 (#)

Great post!

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author avatar epublication uk
18th Sep 2013 (#)

Hi! I am not a wine drinker, but thanks for the comment. Have your read from the beginning?

Easterly 01, 02, 03. More to come. Many thanks for your interest.

Kind Regards,

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author avatar Denise Salmon
18th Sep 2013 (#)

Interesting post

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