I had the cheek to email Bernard Cromwell yesterday and discovered they are reissuing the Last Kingdom volume with a front that coincides with the TV programme. I’d rather have the book. I actually preferred his viking stories to Sharpe as he and I share a love of sailing, as you might have gathered from the last blog. I spent school hollidays at the sea but I was almost thirty when I learned to sail in Zambia in an Enterprise dinghy and capsized so much it became known as a Scotsman’s tack. Gladly, I learned from that and when I crewed for a lightweight woman skipper in Stonehaven in an Albacore or surfed down a long wave in a Fireball I made sure I didn’t go for a swim in the North Sea. I was in a Fireball when a fog dropped. The skipper looked at the wind vane burgee’s angle to the hull and set off for the harbour. ‘What happens if the wind changes?’ I asked.
‘It will blow the fog away,’ the skipper told me and I settled downuntil a train from Aberdeen to Glasgow ran along the cliff and, in the fog, sounded as if it would run over us.