Relearning Old Skills

Aimi hasn’t been feeling great the last couple days. Its not the dreaded Covid, because we’ve repeatedly tested, but she’s pretty under the weather. 

This is very frustrating for her, as she’s usually the one to be up and out and raring to go on all the excursions. On holidays Aimi is all about doing things. It’s funny because at home, she enjoys nothing more than being snuggled up with me and Kayto (mostly kayto) on the sofa with a fire and a movie on.

But while I hope she gets better soon (no-one wants to be ill on holiday) this sort of plays into my hands. It provides a biologically enforced reason for her to take her medicine; sitting quietly, drinking lots of water and the happy byproduct of boredom is lots of lovely reading.

There is also very little I can do to help, so I went wakeboarding…

I had a few lessons in wakeboarding when I was a teenager. Since then I’ve had the opportunity every few years to have another go and each time managed to do it. Not with any great skill, but I get up on the plane and swoosh around a bit.

Ahmed said wakeboarding here is something best done in the early morning when the sea is flattest – which makes sense. So this morning I made Aimi as comfortable as she could be, on a deckchair by the sea, and hopped in the boat. It started on a trolley on rails at the top of the beach, but pretty soon we were sliding our way down towards the water, gathering speed. It was like the world’s shortest, straightest rollercoaster on rusty rails.

I tried to remember all I could about wakeboarding. It was basically, keep my arms straight, balance and hold on. After that we would see if I even got out of the water. Turns out, I managed it on the first attempt, much to my and Aimi’s surprise! Honestly, Ahmed said I got 5 attempts and if I hadn’t managed it by then, that was all I was getting… the pressure was on. It took everything I had to hold onto the tow rope, it really takes a lot of force to get you up out the water, but then it gets easier.

I should say relatively easier, because it’s still hard work on your arms and grip to stay up. Inevitably, I fell in and had to go thru the power balancing process to get up again. After 4 successful wake rides, my arms and grip were destroyed. Whilst I’m not at full climbing fitness, I’ve still got above average grip strength and it was knackering. I didn’t bother with the 5th go, I was spent and very content with the experience.

From the boat they took some photos of me and I wasn’t going to buy any, but they were really good so I couldn’t resist. Aimi also got some great photos and videos and caught my less than graceful return to shore. The boat headed towards the pier and then slowed right down allowing me to ‘coast’ to the coast. This was going fine until I slowed and the front edge of the board dipped and flipped me over forwards, face-planting the water.

Fully hyped up on adrenalin and bouncing my way down the beach, I took off in search of John and Jo. This couple arrived on the same bus as us from the airport and we had gotten chatting over the disorganised midnight dinner the first night. They came here every year for the last 6-7 years because the tennis courts were good and it gave them a hot place to go in the winter. That sounded like a good endorsement to us and they very kindly invited us to play with them one day. 

Well I was ready for anything now and found them on the courts. Jo had had enough so John was pleased to take me under his wing and teach me the basics again. It was a strange sensation being back on a tennis court after about 15 years. I used to play at the club at the end of our road for a few years until the motorbike took my attention. Now I had a racket in my hand, I could feel the dusty muscle memories being dredged up to the surface. They were being revealed as severely rusty but still felt familiar and enjoyable.

We talked and rallied and John gave me some great tips to immediately improve my technique. His structured, basic lessons and practices got me returning most balls to where they should go very quickly. I really enjoyed playing again.

The rest of the day was spent productively lounging by the beach and the pool. Slowly I am getting thru both the hotel cocktail list and my book list. I have also started re-reading the Terry Pratchett Discworld books, as a bit of light relief from the economics, until I read this passage;

… ‘I see,’ said the Patrician sweetly. ‘You feel, perhaps, that it would be a marvellous thing to go to the Counterweight Continent and bring back a shipload of gold?’ 

Rincewind had a feeling that some sort of trap was being set. 

‘Yes?’ he ventured. 

‘And if every man on the shores of the Circle Sea had a mountain of gold of his own? Would that be a good thing? What would happen? Think carefully.’ 

Rincewind’s brow furrowed. He thought. 

‘We’d all be rich?’ 

The way the temperature fell at his remark told him that it was not the correct one…

– The Colour Of Magic – Terry Pratchett