It’s great living near the River Thames, where we are there is numerous beauty spots that you can walk/cycle through, where you can sit and ponder your worries, where you can spend quality time with those you love, where you can put the worlds to right with your friends. But recently there has been another side to living near the Thames.
Back in October (2010) two local young lads lost their lives after trying to save their dog that had jumped in and got into trouble. The dog survived, they didn’t. One of the lads was the Uncle of one of my Guides. Many of my friends went to school with them. It was a harsh reminder for everyone locally how quickly lives can be taken in the water.
Sadly at the weekend there was another incident again resulting in the loss of two lives. This time a boat was travelling from one of the exclusive islands in the area returning to the mainland at a distance of no more than 100 yards when it capsized. There were six people on board, 3 couples. Those that managed to get to shore suffered with hypothermia and shock, unsurprisingly in this weather, and during the week after a search by divers brought in from Sussex one body has been found and another hasn’t although they have now called off the search.
As much as I love the Thames it also plays a part in one of my deep seated phobias, of water. I’m fine with water in environments such as swimming pools and water parks but rivers/lakes/oceans – environments that aren’t controlled and I hate them. I have a distinct fear of being in a boat, it capsizing and me being stuck underneath unable to breathe. I wont ride log flumes or rapids at theme parks either for the same reason.
The strange thing is I cant even recall when this fear began. As a child I was a complete water baby. I loved to swim and go in the sea and can remember Dad wading around in the shallows of the sea with us in the rubber dinghy behind him.
There are two events that I can think of that I have a feeling may have contributed to it. One was a horrible dream I had, I’m not even going to write about it because it upset me that much at the time but that involved a canal and drowning.
The other was when I was in Year 6 at school. We had gone to the Isle of Wight on one of those adventure trips that schools like to take you on to help you grow up and develop etc. To take part in the canoeing the next day we had to sit in a kayak in this swimming pool whilst the instructor flipped it over and we had to show we were capable of getting out. I got out fine. But in my head I had panicked big style. The following day on the lake I was petrified and ever since I have avoided kayaking and canoeing like the plague.
I dont know that it’s a fear I will ever get over. And I am going to try my hardest not to project it onto my son because the last thing I want is for him to be as scared as I am of boats and water. But I cant help worrying that one day he will pick up on it.