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††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† WATER

 

H2O fascinates me. It always has. I can barely pass a lake, river, stream or fountain without wanting to stop and enjoy the patterns made by waves, ripples, flumes and spray. Some people look at cloud patterns. I can do the same with large puddles, millponds and boating lakes. .

 

While itís nice to see people swimming, paddling, surfing, sailing wading, etc, the water by itself can inspire me and hypnotise me for hours on end. I remember one holiday at a Butlins camp in Skegness where, instead of using the fairground, pool or countless other amenities, I sat all day one day on the beach and watched the tide roll both out and back in again. I was there for nine hours. I was thrilled that no two waves were remotely alike.

 

Boats and ships fascinate me Ė I guess itís the romance of their proximity to water - especially old-fashioned sailing vessels. If I had to join any of the armed forces despite being a pacifist, the navy would be the one for me.

 

Recently, I saw the dark fast flowing dark swirls of the River Irk in Manchester. Hardly a waterway that could be called picturesque, but I found it fascinating. I even like canals and often walk the towpaths.Seeing ducks and geese on the water, dragonflies skimming the surface, and the occasional fish jumping up, is always quite a rewarding bonus too.

 

Travelling as a passenger in cars, trains and buses, I will often crane my neck for even a fleeting glimpse of a river, or the distant ocean, trying to keep it in view for as long as possible before it disappears from sight. Sunlight and reflections on water is a fascinating thing,

 

I like swimming, though I have only got to try SCUBA once, which was amazing even for just a short pool dive. Strangely, though it is the surface of water and the rising patterns and mists of spray on fountains and waterfalls that impress me more than the undersea worlds below. I will sometimes go swimming in whatever I am wearing if no swim-wear is available. Not surprisingly, some of my poetic and creative writings explore water themes - a recurrent image and concept in much of my work. There may be something very Freudian about that. 

 

Journeys by train along coastal paths such as that alongside Morecambe Bay (marred by the ĎDanger Quicksandí signs and the coast of North East Scotland, up to Montrose and Aberdeen are breath taking. The changing coastal seascape of Britain is wonderful. 

 

I have seen waterways abroad too, such as Dutch canals and the River Danube. They say if the Danube looks Blue, it is because you are in love. Most people find it disappointingly black or grey. I found it as Blue as its name suggests, but was it a person I loved, or the river itself?

 

I was first attracted to water for waterís sake on a cruise on the SS Uganda back in 1977. I would sit for hours on deck just watching the waves and the endless expanse of ocean around us as we sailed the North and Baltic seas.

 

I have see n the sea at its most raging Ė actually in Morecambe, where waves crashed across the Promenade and I even saw shop windows break on the impact.†† It was an awesome display of nature. . In Jersey, I visited St. Elizabethís Castle, which you can walk to at low tide, and travel back from by boat or amphibious bus after the tide comes in. I deliberately waited and watched the tide flow in to be able to take the amphibious ride.

 

Having long since given up meditation, sitting by a stretch of water is my favourite way to relax and unwind.

 

One of my favourite sights has to be Niagara Falls, from which you can see the mists around for miles around. The thundering spectacle itself is jaw dropping, and going on the tours that lead behind the falls as well as the ride on the Maid Of The Mist boat that goes as close to the water as you could dare and survive, is fantastic.

 

Even rain can be interesting to me, - though not for getting caught up in when Iím out, other than on the hottest, stickiest days. Seeing the patterns it makes as it bounces down from the comfort of a cosy living room can be quite soothing.

 

Iím often glad that my over-punctuality means I often get to places early enough to admire a view or a water pattern feature, (natural or man made). It lets me be lazy enough to sit back and does nothing while the water flows or sits there providing all the entertainment I need.I never find it boring, though yes Ė I often go and watch films or TV or do other stuff too. I like being idle enough to just sit back and watch the World go by.Even a shallow stream is eroding away a landscape, micro-millimetre at a time.I can watch and almost sense it happening.

 

I remember the old Bing Crosby Song, Busy Doing Nothing.

 

Busy doing nothing / Working the whole day through / Trying to find lots of things not to do / Iím busy going nowhere / Isnít it just a crime / Iíd like to be unhappy, but I havenít got the time.

 

Watching water lap at a shore, or a fountain dance from noon to Sunset is my favourite waste of time, and means of doing nothing. I must splash out on a trip to a source of water again, very soon.

  

Arthur Chappell

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