I wrote this blog in the early days of Covid. It’s amazing to remember what our lives were like then.
Holidays are upon us. Where are you going? Will it be Brighton, Bournemouth or Southend this year?
Or maybe somewhere a little less crowded? Barnard Castle perhaps?
Holidaying in the UK is something OH (other half) and I thought we’d be doing when we were too old, too infirm, too tired and too ill to go anywhere else.
We said we’re not getting any younger – let’s seize the day. Travel the world, explore as much as we can because who knows what’s around the corner? Well, now we know!
I’m not only thinking of the pandemic but also of Brexit which is going to stymie many people’s travel plans. With the increased cost of travel insurance, health cover and flights – Covid or not, travel is sadly not going to be the same in the future.
So here we all are seeking out the best beaches in the UK – of which there are plenty – as long as everyone else hasn’t had the same idea of where to go. When the weather’s good and the water’s clean then you can’t beat anywhere in the UK for a holiday. Even the food nowadays is better, thank goodness.
A little over a year ago we were in Thailand. OH (other half) had a meeting in Bangkok so we thought we’d travel there a little earlier and chill out on a beach somewhere. We ended up choosing a fabulous resort on the island of Koh Samui, a short plane ride from Bangkok.
When I see someone on TV having what looks like a fantastic meal, I start salivating. So I won’t get you metaphorically salivating by telling you how wonderful this place was or describing the beautiful pool, the stunning scenery, the glorious beaches and the mouth watering food. I will leave all that to your imagination.
Instead I will tell you about our penultimate day.
There were kayaks on the beach so we thought we’d go out in one. That was our first mistake. OH (other half) had paddled (if that’s the right word) a kayak a few weeks previously. But that was on a calm lake in the Cotswolds. The water here was calm. Or so we thought. That was our second mistake. We had spent most of the holiday swimming in the pool because the sea here – although beautifully warm – turned out to be incredibly shallow. Or so we thought. It was evening. No one was around aside from the guy who was manning the kayaks. He made us put on life jackets which we did reluctantly.
Out we paddled to the line of buoys (our third mistake) – over which one was not meant to cross because there was a coral reef. As we drew closer to the buoys something odd happened. Waves started to roll towards us. Waves in the Pacific. Who knew? OH attempted to steer the kayak so that we did not cross over the buoys. And you can probably guess what happened next. The boat overturned and we fell out. And instead of the shallow water we had been expecting the sea came right up to our chests. Or, in my case, being only 5 foot one and a half inches tall, up to my neck. But we could stand. So that was good. We upturned the kayak and took off our life jackets as they were pretty cumbersome.
Then OH let out a yell. (He may even have sworn.) The camera! Before the holiday OH had bought a waterproof camera. Unbeknown to me he had brought it with on this trip and had left it on the floor of the boat. It was gone. Somewhere beneath the Pacific ocean was our camera with all our holiday photos. Lost and gone forever. We were distraught. We looked around for a while but the water was getting deeper and the night was beginning to fall. So we headed back with the kayak in tow. Not swimming but walking. Not waving but drowning.
Our man on the beach barely spoke English. We tried to explain about the lost camera. He tried to explain that the beach staff would try and find it in the morning when the tide had turned. Yet another mistake on our part. Who knew there were tides in the Pacific? No wonder he had insisted on the life jackets.
That evening I googled – as you do – lost cameras and found this incredible story of a camera that had been lost and found two years later.
The next evening was our last night on the island. The staff hadn’t found our camera so we decided to have one last look. This time, no kayak. No life jackets. Just face masks. Not the Covid kind. Think big goggles.
We walked out to where we thought the kayak had overturned. Again the water was very deep. We started diving down to look. We swam and dived all along the side of the line of buoys. But no joy. It could have been anywhere. We had not expected to find it. Nevertheless I felt disappointed at the loss of all those wonderful photos we had taken. Sights we would never see again.
OH suggested that we separate. He would look a little further in while I stayed closer to the buoys. And thus we made our way swimming and diving back towards our starting point. All of a sudden there was a loud yell from OH. Not a yell which said I’ve been stung but a yell of joy. He had found it! Looking down he had spotted the camera’s lanyard floating on the sea bed. We could not believe our luck. Who would have thought it? To say we were overjoyed is an understatement.
And amazingly, it was still working perfectly.
Have a good weekend – wherever you are in the world. Thanks for reading my blog. See you next week!
© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems