Keeping my head above water

“John kept referencing something called the ‘Downflooding Angle’. I looked up the term in the ‘Code of Federal Regulations’ – a multi-volume compilation of all US rules covering every conceivable industry from education, to energy, to agriculture, to shipping. The ‘Downflooding Angle’ refers to how far you’d have to tip a boat in calm conditions for water to penetrate the boat’s first nonweathertight opening… With a list like that, you couldn’t stop water from getting in. The vessel would never be able to right itself.”

Into the Raging Sea by Rachel Slade
Subtitled: Thirty-three mariners, one megastore and The Sinking of the El Faro

SS El FaroLet me introduce you to ‘Maria’, ‘Irma’, ‘Harvey’, ‘Matthew’, ‘Joaquin’ and ‘Igor’ – all category 4 and 5 tropical hurricanes of the last decade. ‘Florence’ is visiting the west coast of America as we speak.

I love extreme weather … that is, when I’m in my bed cosy and warm.

Last night an early Autumn gale came up and blew eerie groans among the trees outside our window. Reading the newly-published Into the Raging Sea about hurricane ‘Joaquin’ and the sinking of the US cargo ship SS El Faro on 1st October 2015, was about as much reality as I needed.

Immersed in shipping jargon, mixing up my bows and sterns, starboards and ports, trailers, reefers and bridges, I had a bit of a revelation – when I wrote my last blog I was like a ship at sea, teetering on the verge of tipping too near to my ‘downflooding angle’. I had lost all hope of recovery, virtually given up, almost given myself over the the great deep dark stuff.

That’s how I felt at least.

But your prayers, words of encouragement and I’ve-been-there-toos really saved me. Thank you!

I’ve had a much better couple of weeks sleep-wise, not least because of your prayers and advice, but also largely because I’ve made a proper effort to GET TIRED. When parents say “Let’s take the children to the park to tire them out”, it’s no empty threat!

Thankfully Hubby has climbed on board (excuse the shipping pun) to help me. We’ve been ‘doing the 2 Bridges’ as runners call them in West London. There’s also the ‘3 Bridges’ and the ‘4 Bridges’, but we are not there yet.

I run in order to sleep (I actually come from a running family, but that’s another story).

Hubby is running to raise money for charity … and for a wife who sleeps (much better than the moaning-teetering-on-the-verge kind).

A message for anyone who is teetering: “Never give up. Never surrender.” Commander Peter Quincy Taggart, played by actor Tim Allen in Galaxy Quest (1999) – one of Hubby and my favourite films.

God Bless and sleep tight!

Abdifatah Dhuhulow
Abdifatah Dhuhulow, Fulham runner.

P.s. A few months ago, in the heat of early summer, Hubby and I were puffing and panting through the ‘2 Bridges’. A man passed us at first, then slowed to get in step with us. He could see we needed encouragement. “I’m Abdi,” he said. “I only started running after I lost my leg.” “We are rather slow and unfit I’m afraid,” Hubby managed to say to Abdi with rasping breath. “Don’t worry,” Abdi said. “Slow and steady is the best way.”
P.p.s. The ‘2 Bridges’ are Putney and Hammersmith. The ‘3 Bridges’ are Putney, Hammersmith and Barnes. The ‘4 Bridges’ are Putney, Hammersmith, Barnes and Chiswick.
P.p.p.s. If you’re not a runner or exerciser, I can also recommend a long walk or gardening for a couple of hours – weeding and making 15cm deep holes in the ground for leeks is tiring work!
P.p.p.p.s. I finally got all the leeks in for Sir E and Lady P at the allotment, but sadly I’ve become a tasty morsel for mozzies!


2 thoughts on “Keeping my head above water

  1. Ah, I am glad you are feeling better! I am a firm believer in the therapeutic value of exercise and a good shower! And a trip to a somewhat blustery SA will do you the world of good too!


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