‘Lieutenant’ Les Contemplates Water

For as long as he can remember, even right back to his childhood Les had always been drawn to water. He could swim from the age of two and through his late teens had been a swimming instructor at the local all seasons outdoor swimming pool. He was an accomplished sailor and had his own Enterprise dingy which is recent incarnation of the original designed by Jack Holt back in 1956. Sailing his dingy was one of his favourite pastimes. Harnessing the wind to propel the small craft was a wonder that still gave him great pleasure. An exhilerating invisible force turned into energy that made it possible for him to explore our waterways and lakes. He often took friends out with him but he loved the solitude of being out on the water by himself.

If ever Les visited a new town or city he rarely looked at a map. He would seek out the rivers and canals and they would be his guide to exploring the unknown. Historically the waterways were often a key reason why a town or city popped up where it did. The routes he took often revealed something of the town’s history and Les felt this helped him have a sense of place. Locals were always happy to share their knowledge. Anglers and boat people were often the most informed and could direct him to places interest or tell him when a bridge was built. Following the waterways gave Les a unique perspective on the places he visited. He was keen on wildlife and loved seeing how this changed along the water ways depending on the seasons. For that reason he would return to the same places at different times of the year. He took notes and had thousands of photographs all featuring rivers, canals, mill ponds, waterfalls, reservoirs and lakes. He has a website where he publishes these in the form of guided walks.

Les was no expert on water or why it was important to him. All he knew is that whenever he was near water he felt better and at one with the world. Someone had told him the reason people feel better near water is because of the negative ions that were present near water. Les had read that negative ions neutralise free radicals. As someone who considered himself to be a free radical the very thought made him nervous. Actually Les wasn’t too bothered about the science of why water made him feel better. His affinity with water felt natural and inseparable from who he was. The most happiness, the most learning and the most adventures he had in life were all somehow connected with water. It was water that helped connect him to the seasons and to nature and it was water that had taken him to the University of Southampton where he achieved his masters in Marine Biology. It was there where he first made friends with ‘New Wave’ Dave who back then was studying graphic design but spent most of his time playing guitar with his band Sonic Sunset. They had met at a University Student Union gig featuring The Associates, The Au Pairs and The Passions. It was through Dave that he got to know the rest of the gang and despite all going their separate ways they have remained great friends and regularly get together. Not to reminisce but to chat about what they are up to and their future plans. They all agreed many years ago that if they get together the first rule should be no talking about the past. Of course they touched on the past but it was a good rule and kept them in the present. They knew that the things that made them happiest were the things they were about to do and the past was fuel to their future.

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