The colours of sailing always have a faded, bleached quality to me. The bright shine of a freshly painted hull, the rich tones of teak decking, the bold colours on the sail - they are quickly diminished by sun, sea and salt. Sailing colours are all greys, whites and silvers in my mind, with the occasional pop of red from a Union Jack flag on the end of the boat or an orange buoy bobbing in the water. Add to that image the sound of seagulls and that particular whistling, clanking sound that rigging makes when it blows against a metal mast, and the smell of seaweed and the tight, sticky feeling that a day in the salty air leaves on your skin - and there you have my childhood.
Sailing was a big part of our life when I was little. My Dad, and his Dad and, thinking about it, quite a lot of the people we knew, sailed and our weekends revolved around tide times in the summer. We'd park at the sailing club, carry our bags onto the tender and row out to the mooring, neon orange life jackets tightly fastened, then climb aboard the boat. She was called Kittiwake and was painted brown and cream, really rubbish, boring colours to paint a boat, I remember thinking at the time. Then the outboard motor would get us out of the harbour until there was enough wind for the sails to go up, and then we'd be off. Sometimes just for a few hours, often all day. A couple of times we slept on the boat overnight, that was brilliant fun (although possibly not for my poor parents who probably didn't get a wink of sleep, with three excitable girls on board too). I remember picnicking on little islands. If we ate on board, coffee would be made on the tiny stove in the kitchen area and drunk from dark green and red plastic mugs, I can see them now. There would be sandwiches and apples, and very often lardy cake. Once home, I would still be able to feel the motion of the water when I lay in bed at night.
And so, given my coastal childhood and my slightly over the top love of the sea, it does rather pain me that the ONLY photograph I could find of a anything sailing related - both in albums and on my hard drive - is the one above, which was not taken be me and is over thirty years old. The colours in this image are faded by time, but I don't know if my memories would be any more technicoloured. I remember grey skies more than blue, and white boats, white sails, water which looked greenish grey. I don't remember this photo being taken (I think I am perhaps four, and my sister Anna was two, which means that my youngest sister Katy was not yet born) but I do remember Anna's orange blanket-comforter which went everywhere with her, and how much I loved that red t-shirt with it's little red and blue boat on the pocket.
And, given how unreliable memories can be, I now wonder if my recollections of those faded marine blues and greys, with the flashes of red and orange, are in fact informed by this photograph, rather than any actual events in my childhood.
Don't forget to visit the other Colour Collaborative blogs for more of this month's posts, just click on the links below:
Annie at Annie Cholewa
Sandra at Cherry Heart
Jennifer at Thistlebear
What is The Colour Collaborative?
All creative bloggers make stuff, gather stuff, shape stuff, and share stuff. Mostly they work on their own, but what happens when a group of them work together? Is a creative collaboration greater than the sum of its parts? We think so and we hope you will too. We'll each be offering our own monthly take on a colour related theme, and hoping that in combination our ideas will encourage us, and perhaps you, to think about colour in new ways.