On my way to Gothenburg to take part in a project on water and harbours. I’m through Duty Free and smelling faintly of an Armani tester. Something medicinal. Sleepwalking a bit because I didn’t sleep well. May end up accidentally in Norway. Or Narnia. And trying – sleepily - to think about water and harbours. I’ve spent half my life in London, half in Hebden Bridge. Inland. Far from the sea. But when I was a kid we went to Dymchurch in Kent, and we went to Cornwall. I remember the excitement of the first glimpse of the sea. And the unique, nostril-tingling smell of it. (Not at all medicinal.) And we went on package holidays to Ibiza and Sicily. And now I’m an adult I go with my family to the North Norfolk coast and Scarborough and Whitby, and Weston-super-Mare, where my wife comes from, and Minorca and Greece. And I like walking over the fragile wooden slats of a long, spindly pier with my back to the land and my face turned to nothing but water. And a river and a canal run through Hebden, and the whole town was underwater on boxing Day 2015, after being devastated by floods.
So I’m on my way to Gothenburg, to take part in a project on water and harbours. Curious. Intrigued. Sleepy.