Despite growing up just a few miles from the Potomac, less than an hour's drive from Annapolis, and within easy day-trip distance from the Delaware beaches, I wasn't really a water person for most of my life. I love swimming - my mother will have you know that I was the youngest Shark at summer camp - but I felt no great pull to be out on the blue.
And then I met Jon.
Jon comes from a sailing family. He's been on boats since he was a baby, he was a pre-teen when he was first shoved out on his own, and he went to a naval school from the age of 13. The little village in Suffolk where he grew up (and where his mum still lives) is about 20 minutes away from the east coast of England, where they have both the River Alde and the North Sea on which to catch the wind.
The first time I met Jon's parents, eight and a half years ago and three weeks after we'd started dating, they took me out to the yacht club to help them put away their boat for the season. It was November and the weather was bitter; I remember standing in the driving rain as a gale howled around us, dressed entirely inappropriately, wondering what I'd gotten myself into. (Needless to say, any "help" I provided was negligible.) But it's been smooth sailing - pardon the pun - since then, and no trip to Suffolk is complete without a visit to one of the seaside towns near Jon's mum's home.
The closest is Aldeburgh, and we did spend last Friday morning there with Jon's mum and aunt, but we headed to Southwold on Thursday afternoon for just a quick amble through the streets and along the beach. We got there a bit late to pop into too many of the shops and we didn't venture out to the famous pier, but we soaked up the sun and fantasized about which houses we'd claim as our own and bemoaned the ill-advised loss of Jon's late granny's beach hut. The smell of the saltwater and the feel of the breeze were glorious - the perfect antidote to the previous 12 hours of travel!