With the children grown up and flown the nest, Sue and Tom Drake lived in a house that was too big for two people.
‘Is it time to sell up and move on?’ Tom quizzed, whilst knowing how much Susan enjoyed their big house and space.
‘Are you saying downsize and spend the children’s inheritance?’ she replied, then added, ‘I did hope to squeeze in a few more holidays before we’re put out to grass.’
During their long marriage they had seen many places. Tom was at home on the sea. And like his namesake, wondered – maybe a cruise? Whilst Susan enjoyed meeting new people and the excitement of travel. Unable to agree she finally said, ‘Why don’t we revisit old haunts? after all, what goes around comes around.’
Her words made Tom panic as he recalled their first trip abroad, and for £28 had a week in the sun, going via a now defunct travel company and flying in an old Dakota, with its deckchair type seats, cellophane windows and war insulation, and was constantly cold. And being young and naïve, Tom had settled on a windowless attic floor room in a hotel with no lift, access to their room being via a rope type ladder. It was a disaster and ensured that Sue arranged any future holidays.
‘Please tell me you are not thinking of our first trip abroad?’
A scowl then half smile dampened Tom’s worries.
‘I was thinking more about Majorca and wondered how much it’s changed.’
Susan duly arranged a last minute deal to Cala Bona. Years back this quiet resort had been underdeveloped and dull. But within days of arriving Susan and Tom were amazed at this old haunt. It sparkled and buzzed alongside its neighbour Cala Millor, offering soft sandy beaches, a harbour and castle, plus miles of safe traffic-free walks. And, if unsure which resort you were in, just look down at the promenade and if there were ‘fish on the floor’ you were in Cala Millor and if the fish were ‘gonna’ that’s Cala Bona.
It exceeded all their expectations and during dinner, Sue announced his surprise, ‘Tom, knowing how much you love the sea, I’ve arranged us a boat trip.’
Next day they set sail for Cala Ratjada, a resort famed for breath-taking scenery and fine food. Feeling relaxed from the cooling sea spray, Tom asked the Captain, ‘Carlos, why is your boat named Mary Rose?’
‘Signor, I take on board, as we say and marry English Mary, She is my rose.’
As the boat rocked and the Sangria flowed each man shared their love of the beautiful game. Tom extolling Chelsea whilst Carlos worshipped his Barcelona. It was whilst docking that Carlos announced. ‘Hola, Mary Rose is having her siesta, and please no forget the football.’
Susan and Tom then paddled along a warm sun-bleached shore and inhaled this unknown side of Majorca, before having lunch in a lively tapas bar within a mix of international banter. Time slowly passed as each course graced their table. It was as the bistro emptied that a far off sound shattered their ease.
‘Is that the Mary Rose?’ Tom asked.
‘Si signor, Mary is leaving.’
‘But… she’s too early,’ Tom said.
‘Signor, Majorca and Barcelona people are Catalan and seek independence from Spain, so tonight’s Champion League final between Real Madrid and Barcelona will be a showcase and for Captain Carlos, who is our Mayor.
Tom hadn’t heard mention of tonight’s match but knew immediately of their dilemma.
‘Susan, drink up. We have to leave.’
‘Just relax, we’ve got oodles of time.’
As he attempted to explain Spain’s day to day politics and make Susan aware that all public and private transport would stop, Tom panicked.
‘Susan, the boat is now leaving. The island is shutting down. We must go.’
The streets were deserted as they began a brisk walk, but like many abroad they had ventured too far and began to jog. In the distance Mary Rose’s power burst into life.
‘We won’t make it,’ Sue gasped.
‘Keep going, we’re nearly there.’
Tom lied and prayed that Captain Carlos hadn’t forgotten them. They ran faster and in the distance saw the boat thrust into reverse.
‘Tom, I can’t make it, I’m past my best.’
Tom had a decision to make. To stop running now and take an expensive late taxi, or keep going and circumvent the boat along the headland walk. He raced on, shouting ‘Susan, just follow me.’
Mary Rose now neared the breakwater as Tom bellowed, ‘Captain Carlos we’ve missed the boat, pull over.’ The engines smothered his cries. Tom removed and waved his bright Chelsea shirt and hollered,
‘Viva Barcelona. Viva Majorca.’
Carlos noticed the sky blue shirt and gently reduced speed as Susan joined Tom. The gangplank was lowered and Mary Rose eased nearer the headland.
‘Signor, you must jump before we collide with the rocks.’ Carlos pleaded.
‘Susan, you’re first,’ as the boat heaved upwards then down.
‘Tom I’m too scared, I can’t.’
‘Susan you must, it’s only a few feet.’
Fear entwined Susan’s mind as she watched the buffeting waves. Whilst Carlos stood at the end, of the gangplank shouting, ‘Signor, the sea swell is changing, we haven’t much time.’ All three remained still, Susan now rigid, whilst Carlos and Tom simply looked on.
‘Tom, if you go first, I’ll follow.’
With one mighty leap Tom traversed the air. Moments later with sea-foam spraying her face, Susan followed, but the sea lifted Mary Rose up and the gangplank seemed higher. Sue landed awkward and fell forward into Tom’s arms. He too was pushed back, knocking over the grateful and very beaming skipper.
The holiday excitement continued when they returned home. As Susan told Tom that the downsizing must wait as Captain Carlos and his family were coming for Christmas.
And, for many more years they did.
© 2016 Yeadon Writers
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