The last rose of summer.

This tumultuous year began with so much promise, transformed into a complete nightmare before being rescued by the Angel of Gävle, my friend Roger Lundqvist. What should have become a long voyage south into the German canal system instead became a long, lazy hot summer alongside the Gästhamn in Gävle where temperatures exceeded even Rome at one point, and half of Sweden burned under ferocious forest fires.

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World-weary… Memories of Aktio in Greece when Free fell to a similar fate.

The damage from grounding my old friend on a rock is something one can get over in time; not so easy is the betrayal by a friend, or should I say one who appeared – né pretended to be one, having more than a little to do with my fatal lapse of concentration. Those of you who have sailed with me on the cyber sea throughout all these years will know that I am not one to allocate blame easily – yet try as I may, ownership this time remains very difficult. This is the nearest I have come to pure hatred for many years, and it embarrasses me to say it – but say it I must.

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Lying at peace in Gävle Gästhamn before coming out for winter.

The Tao of existence is about the balance between the light and dark in an endless dance between form and formlessness; so for every misfortune comes good fortune, which of course pertains to my friend Roger and encourages me to understand that the previous three men in my life were gaslighters par excellence. All three seemed dedicated to undermining my already fragile confidence and almost had me fooled. Bless Roger, who has tirelessly validated me throughout the three years of our friendship.

After an anxious few weeks waiting to see if there was a place for Free in Fliskär boatyard, Roger once again led the vanguard, smiting the ‘jobsworth’ dragon of a manageress who seemed okay in leaving the poor old boat in the harbour to face the cruel Swedish winter in stark ice-bound slumber.

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At last… safely ashore at Fliskär boatyard and ready for winter.

At last my poor old sister was liberated for a long sojourn while the winter gods and spirits began their inevitable invasion of Odin’s Realm. They will play around her keel and turn her insides into frigid stillness, but she is safe from the cruel ice and can sleep until the return of the sun.

Next year will be the twelfth in this saga and once again I will attempt to head south towards, Poland, the great River Oder, and the canals and rivers of Northern Germany. It would be very u wise to make any prediction as to possible success in this endeavour, but know that, in my heart, I will always try my hardest, even when all seems so impossible.

Contemplation of a travelling life

There have been no regrets. There have been catastrophes for sure, but that is the seagoing life. One has to endure anything that calls for courage. No one ever said that freedom comes without a cost, but it is an honest struggle which batters the sense of self into a more refined and tempered being, dare I say it – a spiritual one?

Winter will soon be upon the land, but as the years fly by, I find myself with no regrets and would not change a thing.

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About Viking Queen

I am a sailor, and I live on my boat 'Free'. I have no allegiance, just a desire to do no harm and live with courage and an open heart. We have so little time in this precious life but what we do should define us, and our reputation is all that we leave behind.
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24 Responses to The last rose of summer.

  1. Forestwood says:

    Looking forward to following you again on your travels when Free awakens from her slumber.
    Enjoy Sverige. I have an old Penfield in Gavle. Yo could look her up!!

    • Viking Queen says:

      Good to hear from you again Amanda. I shall call you my ‘cyber bosun’ as you’ve been on board for​ a long time now!!! Jag bor i Scotland för overvintering och gå tillbacka nästa Maj.

      • Forestwood says:

        I feel honoured!!! Så du taler svensk fint nu!!!

      • Viking Queen says:

        Ja visst Amanda! Jag förstår mer än jag talar!😉

      • Forestwood says:

        Haha!! Och jag kan talar mer än jag kan förstår!!! Written text is much easier than understanding spoken words. You are living my dream of roaming around Scandinavia becoming fluent in the language. I can only live there for short bursts of holidays. For me, that has to be enough, because of family commitments. So, of course, I would follow you, as it gives me a glimpse into a little of what might have been, for me!!

    • Viking Queen says:

      Correct Amanda… I know how fortunate I have been, but I rarely mention the sacrifice needed to live this kind of life and its discomfort. My life’s purpose really is to ruffle people’s feathers by challenging their concepts and showing them that it is possible to live their dream, but with the understanding that it takes a big leap of faith! It’s not for everyone, I know that, but maybe somewhere, I can touch one who is ready to shed that which has oppressed and stunted their growth. I can’t tell you how many folk I have met who wished they had done something while still young enough.☺️🙏

      • Forestwood says:

        You continue to be so very inspirational, Poppy! Definitely the place in the world for you to fulfill that role. I have no doubt that your life chocie, comes at a high personal cost to you in terms of responsibility of being a lone sailor, the focus and determination to be a lone sailor, the mental challenges, and all this balanced with the freedom it gives you. These are just some of the reasons why I enjoy reading your blog, and admiring you from the opposite end of the world!!
        Enjoy your winter sojourn in Scotland, my friend. If you are around Falkirk, I have a wonderful friend who would make you very welcome.

      • Viking Queen says:

        Lovely post, Amanda and thank you for your your kind and inspirational feedback! I know youve followed by saga for a long time now and witnessed my ups and downs. Its always so nice to realise that folk are with you in spirit. Love to you across the ether. xx

  2. As a fellow boat owner, I shared your sorrow when Free was damaged, like Free my boat was damaged when I had my loss of concentration by falling asleep at the wheel during a night sail. Looking forward to your continuing saga.

    • Viking Queen says:

      I didn’t know, John, but it is so easy, is it not? Sometimes I feel slightly foolish until I remember how many sea miles I’ve done and then it amazes me that i am still alive even! Good to have your feedback and thanks!

  3. christain says:

    Sleep well Free till the spring and the new adventures that await you. glad you are safe for the winter months.

    • Viking Queen says:

      Thanks for that Chris. She’s in good hands, with Roger and the guys able to keep an eye on her. Looking forward to seeing you again!

  4. What a story, and thanks for the nice words about me, but don’t forget your self, how you inspired and encourages me in my life, and I learned a lot about myself this summer thank you for that.
    And in the end it become a wonderful summer.

    • Viking Queen says:

      I’m glad that you have rediscovered your passion for living aboard and the simple life. Thank you for the help and the delightful summer in Gävle! I’ll never forget the wonderful park and the long, hot summer.

  5. Rosemarie Nitschke says:

    It’s so alive and fresh what you write, dear Poppy! It seems like your life on Free has purified your soul more and more and you are able to listen in on the whisperings of nature, bringing your life into harmony with the greater cycle that we are embedded in.
    After your sailing accident you went through quite a rough spell, but it turned into gold I would say. That says a lot for you and your inner guidance. I admire you for admitting to the emotional upset and anger that you felt. That is so healthy. But you didn’t stay there. You moved on and, as you say there was an angel at your side helping you and Free back on to keel.
    So the adventure continues and onto Scotland she goes, the brave and daring young lass!
    The northern gods are surely with you.

    • Viking Queen says:

      Lovely feedback my friend Rosie Lee! Yes it was a whirlwind right enough. So important to remain fully conscious when in close proximity with another, especially afloat. As you say, it doesnt take me long to fight back to a position of love and accept that some folk are cloaked in pain and ignorance; it’s not their fault, I know that, but it must never be allowed to deflect one from their growth. I have been blessed through my long saga over these past twelve years, for sure!

  6. Forestwood says:

    Are you still there, my friend? Wondering if you are heading to Germany soon? Cyber bosun Amanda

  7. MythRider says:

    I dated a guy for a bit who tried to make me co-dependent. Long story short, it didn’t work.
    Boyfriends come and go, but good friends are forever.
    I have friends from 40 years ago. Even though we don’t live near each other, we can pick up the phone, call, and pick up where we left off.
    Good for you for moving one.

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