It was virtually pitch black. The pale moonlight illuminated my room filling it with ghostly silhouettes. I slowly opened my eyes, concentrating all my attention on my sense of hearing trying to decipher the muffled noises outside. I heard snoring. Good, my mum was asleep. In the dark I smiled and rolled out of my bed to land cat like on all fours. I laid there on the floor straining to find any sign of movement in the next room. After what seemed like an eternity, I raised myself up and crept stealthily toward my wardrobe.
Once there I held the door tightly with sweating palms, opening it an inch time praying that it would not emit its usual piercing screech. I quickly grabbed some dark clothes let the wardrobe with doors lock shut with a deep clunk. I froze. I caught a light creaking from the room opposite. Soundlessly I lay down on the floor face down and a cold sweat broke out over my face with my ear pressed tightly against the wooden floor. I heard the echoing bump of my mum going to the bath room. As I heard the metal bolt slide shut on the bathroom door my skin quivered in anticipation of retribution I would get for being awake at 3 am.
I heard the toilet flush and as the bolt shoot back the muscles in my leg tightened with cramp and I winced hoping that my mum would walk past my room and not look in on me. If I was caught I would be stopped and told to go back to bed for my mum was a fond believer in at least nine hours sleep each night. The foot steps drew closer and then there was a pause… and a yawn… and my mum went back to bed. I punched the air in excitement. I had got dressed undetected at 3 am. My excitement quickly died as I then had an even more dangerous task now of going down the stairs.
I held my breath until I reached the last step which made me feel dizzy and yellow, blue and green sparks appear in front of my eyes, I quickly tip toed into the coat room and buried my head into a jacket and took deep breaths until the light headed sensation in my head dissipated. I put on my white trainers and walked into the kitchen where my dad stood waiting. “Alright champ? ” he asked while sipping a steaming cup of tea. I nodded my agreement and he handed me a cup of milky sweet tea which I gladly took and gulped down. “Okay then” said my dad “let’s go”.
We were going to my dads workplace which is a boat yard called Marine Projects. We had to go because during the night there was a storm and the protective balloon like fenders had popped allowing the boat to hit the side damaging its fibreglass hull. We arrive at Marine Projects and the security guard came over and told my dad that the boat was at the harbour and needed extra ropes to secure it to the pontoon. My dad gave the security guard some curt instructions and he went back into his hut to phone the harbour to tell them we were coming.
The cars tyres let out a gravely crunch as we pulled up alongside some garish red rails which encircled the pontoons at Marine Projects. I leapt out the car while my dad turned around to untie 4 white fenders, the navy blue Princess Logo virtually faded away. The car pulled up next to me and I threw the various ropes and fenders into the back of the car as I sat in the front. It was cold, the electronic thermometer on the car dashboard registered – 4i?? C as we clambered out the car and climbed the rough, steep concrete steps of Sutton Harbour.
Inside the warm office a sleepy receptionist greeted us and talked to my dad as I went to warm my reddened hands over the gas fire. After a minute my dad and I went out of the office and I slammed the old aluminium door back into its place. As I descended the worn concrete steps I noticed the wind had picked up and was whipping the sea into small white maelstrom. My hands turned red and numb as I pulled the ropes out the car. My dad grabbed the 3 fenders and I grabbed two coils of thick dark blue rope and I slung them over my shoulder and squinted against the increasing wind that whipped the edges of my coat.
As we descended the steep planking I held on tightly to the cold metal rails with white paint flaking off into my hands. My dad punched in the 4 digit code and the electronic door lock let out a high pitched beep and slowly opened the wire framed door. The boat was on the outer pontoons as we made our way toward it I looked at the pontoon on which I was walking on rocking on top of the waves, the sea sloshing up and drenching my tracksuit bottoms. I could smell the salty air as a large wave washed on top of the pontoon leaving behind a trail of oil and seaweed.
I slowed down so not to slip on the now oily pontoon when I noticed one of the wooden planks was smashed in half so I leapt over and promptly slipped. I only just managed to hold on to a steel post as I steadied myself I noticed the rain drive down harder. I started to cautiously increase my speed while the heavy ropes dug into my shoulder causing a warm feeling which I didn’t mind.
As we reached the back of the boat I saw how the wind had started to move it away at an angle I edged my self to the edge of the pontoon, took a step back and jumped… anding squarely on the bathing board. My dad also leapt on, and we started tightening the ropes and putting on new fenders. As soon as we had finished I jumped off the boat while my dad locked up. Huge waves were coming in now so we hastily walked back to the harbour office. Just as my dad was punching in the code to open the door we heard a massive sound and I looked behind and saw a freak wave which had got past the breakwater. It loomed over us massive and terrifying and as I covered my face with my hands it engulfed us with spray flying everywhere.
The door lock let out its usual squeak and my dad looked at me and said “I hate this weather”. The ride home in the car was not pleasant. The salty water stung my face and eyes and my hands were so cold they went yellow every time I touched something. As soon as we got into the house my dad marched into the kitchen to confront my mum. “The weather here is terrible, next year we have to go somewhere on holiday, somewhere warm, were we don’t have to worry whether we have our coats or not.
Jack next door says Corfu is nice and he says Lunn Polly does great deals if we book now for next year” he said in a hopeful tone. I felt a tightness in my chest- if my mum agreed we would be in Greece the next year but really I expected my mum to completely disagree which she usually did on the grounds of not enough money or that she wanted to visit somebody that weekend and it was already arranged and could not be missed, but to my astonishment my mum agreed vehemently saying that she too was sick to the back teeth of the weather and that she thought she needed a break from all the housework.
I listened to their conversation, but lost interest after a while when I remembered all the times before when my parents would agree on going somewhere but nothing would ever occur and when I would remind them they would tell me that they were too busy and that they would organise it later which they never did. So after lunch I cleared the plates away and went to my room.
A couple of weeks later I arrived home to find my mum and dad sprawled on the living room carpet pouring over what seemed to be hundreds of holiday brochures, when I asked what they were doing they reminded me of their conversation in a rather annoyed tone and then ordered me out of the room. When I finally got bored of waiting I crept in the living room and found most of the brochures in a carrier bag and my mum was clutching the last three brochures circled in red pen at various places.
She saw me and happily informed me that her and my dad had narrowed down all the alternatives to the last three. I looked at her bemused and asked what she was going to do next. My mum then told me that as this was my first holiday abroad I could choose what place we went too. I looked at the pictures for a long time; eventually I came to choose a small apartment block with a large kidney shaped swimming pool. My dad laughed and said that that was his favourite as well and he promised me that he would go in to town the next day and book our place.
Nothing happened for a long time. I began to wonder why I wasn’t getting pocket money any more but I didn’t mention anything in case my mum started shouting at me about the state of my bedroom again. I remember then my dad waking me up early one Saturday telling me we had a lot to do for the next day. Then I remembered that the next day was when we departed for Corfu. That day went by in the blink of an eye; we cleaned, packed, panicked, unpacked and then repacked.
I finally go sent to bed at about eight o’clock but I know I didn’t get to sleep until at least twelve when my mum came clomping up the stairs before roaring at me to get to sleep, I quickly lay down and stayed there looking at the back of my eyelids until I eventually drifted off. The next day I was gently shaken awake by my dad whispering that it was five o’clock and that he was going to check the cars fluid levels before the drive up to Bristol airport. He crept away then closing the door behind him and going down the stairs stealthily so as not to wake my mum who was a dragon if woken up without a cup of hot dark tea.
I quickly got dressed, carefully choosing what to wear. I finally decided on a lime green tee shirt and some rather large cream shorts which looked dark in comparison to my pale white legs which I hoped would get darker after two weeks in the sunshine. I went outside and sat on the cold concrete steps which felt like rough skin under my feet. My dad had just finished his vigorous checks and stood their, with a self satisfied grin on his stumbled face he looked at me and said “ready to go then? I said yes and soon after I had my breakfast my mum came downstairs and locked up as my dad and I put the suitcases in the car and we were on our way at 5:55 am.
The journey to Bristol seemed quite spooky with the roads absolutely empty and the high pitched squealing of the wind through the windows as the heavily laden car sped along the motorway, I soon fell asleep in the rhythmic bumping of the car going along the road. I woke up just as we were turning into the airport car park and saw my dad lean out of the car to take a ticket from the ticket machine.
As I climbed out of the car it started to rain so I quickly pulled a trolley over the gravely ground which my dad stacked our two massive suitcases on. We all then quickly ran in to a bus shelter, something that amazed me as I didn’t realise airports were so large you needed buses! The bus the arrived three minutes late and by the time the bus had toured all around the car park it had stopped raining and I wheeled one of our bags in to the massive glass structure that is Bristol airport.
It took us quite a long time to get our bearings and by the time we did a huge cue had formed next to the check in desk which we reluctantly joined only to find out it was the wrong queue! When we eventually got to the correct desk we were fifteen minutes early which we spent looking through the shops. My mum gave me my pocket money and I decided to buy a magnetic chess set which I promptly lost fifteen minutes later. Our flight was called then and we had to go to this special area with our boarding passes.
In the Departure lounge there was a Burger King where we ate lunch, I only just managed to eat mine- the apprehension of flying did not make me at all hungry! When we were eventually told to board the plane we walked out of a big concrete tunnel and out into the cold early morning air. I was amazed at the size of the plane as I climbed the slippery metal stairs into the plane I gust of wind caught me off balance and a friendly faced air hostess with dark hair and red lipstick held my hand and helped me in I thanked her and smiled and she winked back at me.
As I walked to my seat I was unimpressed by the size of the plane- it didn’t seem so big inside! I sat in my seat overlooking the wing and paid close attention to what the air hostesses demonstrated for the safety procedures. While the engines started their loud humming I became increasingly annoyed by a fat toddler screaming, banging at the window and positioning his chair into my legs. I inconspicuously reached down and sharply tightened the toddler’s seat belt until he let out a scream of pain. The toddler’s mum pulled his seat forward and told him off for playing with his belt.
I quietly laughed to myself as I stretched out my legs. Soon the engine quietened again, I sat bolt up right expecting their to be an announcement when I was thrown back by the acceleration of the engines, the toddler’s crying turned into a gurgle as the plane came of the ground, I briefly experienced a feeling of weightlessness before the plane levelled off. Above me was a small television showing Mr. Bean which I watched for an hour before eating a rather tasteless lunch that tasted of cling film and pepper.
Later on the air hostess who helped me on to the plane came and gave me a toy bag and a pat on the head after I smiled at her. As soon as I got out my toys my mum told me to put them away again and gave me a polo mint to suck on as we came into land, suddenly seat belt lights came on and the cabin crew sat at the back of the plane. My ears started ringing so I started sucking hard on my polo mint which I accidentally swallowed as we banked coming down over some turbulence and my ears started hurting badly, as I felt weightless again I worried as I heard the engines go in reverse and I closed my eyes waiting for us to crash… here was a bump and a screech and then we stopped I opened my eyes and grumpily demanded another polo as I walked to the door of the plane.
Everyone was looking at me as I walked to the air locked door. I felt conspicuous so I quickened my pace toward the edge of the plane. I quickly peered outside the window expecting to see marble pillars and old statues but all I could see was the pale yellow concrete the horizon stretching away like a barren desert. I wanted to hold my ears but I didn’t dare look a fool in front of the nice air hostess!
As I stood next to the airlock door I squinted ahead to make out a battered concrete square building and a faded blue bus with a well tanned man with a moustache standing next to it. Suddenly a hiss was released from the airlock and I stepped back as the squeaking hydraulics moved the door open and I felt a gust of hot air like when you stand next to a car with the bonnet up after the car has been on a long journey. My hands were sweaty and I could hear my heartbeat bang like a drum in my already throbbing ears. I was the first in the queue to exit the plane I was scared but I dared myself to go on without any one else.
I stood in the shade of the plane and looked to the bottom of the landing gear. I fumbled with my sunglasses and the stepped out into the light. Dazzled the pain in my ears was soon forgotten when the sun hit me like a blast of acid in my eyes. My skin felt as though I had stepped into a hot shower as I went down the steep echoing steel stairway the sweat poured down my back. The feeling was truly breath taking as I could even feel the heat through my thick trainers. As I went to the bus, my eyes blinded, I thought about how luck I was to be in Corfu the dazzling jewel of the Aegean Sea.