A Hole In The Dingy - a Memory of Ipswich.

Perhaps someone will correct me on the year. It was the year when Billy Graham was doing the crusade within the Ipswich football stadium. Many times I'd pass my time away at the docks. I would fish for eels or any fish that would take a bite. One day, a man with his two sons and one daughter came to do some fishing - although they had fishing gear they had no idea on how to tackle up. I was to help them tackle up and bait their lines. Their ages would be possibly ten, eleven and twelve. It was by chance that they were to ask dad if he would bring the inflatable dingy down from home so that they could go out onto the water; it was suggested that it would be best to bring it the following day. It was then that their dad asked me if I would be down on the docks whereupon I said that I would: Good you can take charge of the kids on the dingy. The following day he brought along the kids and also the inflatable where we took it in turns to blow it up to the right pressure. Having done this, their dad said that he had somewhere to go quite important and said that he'd be back later on that day. Anyway, the first thing I was to ask all three kids, was did they have anything sharp within their pockets and to check carefully. The thing was, although I'd asked them to check their pockets I did not check out my own pockets, for in my back jeans pocket was a pair of Hair styling scissors which had a point on the end. The dingy was roughly nine feet long and made from fairly thick canvas. We were to get on board at some shallow slope off the docks and as I held the dingy rigid the kids got into the boat and then I pushed the boat forwards and quickly jumped in. There was a strong wind which began to blow the boat, but with two oars it was somewhat easy to manage. But it was then that I decided to adjust myself and kneel in the bottom of the dingy. It was then that I felt the scissors tear through my back pocket and straight into the canvas. I heard a distinctive sound of air coming out of the tear of which was two inch long. Quickly I let go of the oar and grabbed hold of the tear and gripped and twisted the ripped canvas. I said nothing about what had happened as I did not want the kids to panic, but it was the youngest lad who turned round and noticed that the oar was within the water and that my hand was gripped tight onto the canvas. He was to ask me if there was a tear in the boat, of which I said that there was no need to panic and that I promised them that none of us would drown. I was to tell the kids that if they were to use their hands they'd be able to steer towards the far side of the dock. It may have only been ten minutes paddling, but by now my hand was white through gripping the canvas. We were now right up against the quayside which was a sheer drop of six feet. There, bobbing on the top of the water, was lots of cork which had been blown into the docks from some factory that made corks for bottles. I said to the young lad that he had to reach out for the ledge which was above him. He managed to grab hold, but when he tried to get his trainers to grip he'd slip down. It was then, and may I say it and really mean it, Thank God, I saw two men walking quickly by. They did not see either of us but as soon as I shouted "help!", one who was now a few feet away from me, dashed to the quayside and then the other ran back. I asked if they could grab hold of the kids from out of the dingy, and one by one the three were safe from drowning. Then, on looking at me, he said ''what about you then, how are you going to manage". They knew that as soon as I had to let go all the air would deflate. I somehow was resigned to the fact that as soon as I had let go of the tear I'd sink underneath the blanket of floating cork, but nevertheless I managed to get flush to the wall, let go of the tear and made a dash towards the quayside wall. I was then to have the luck of my life? There, underneath this blanket of bobbing cork was a wooden beam bolted onto the wall. It was a miracle that only my feet got wet, that those two men had been there for the children and also for me, for they held my hand and as I pushed my way onto the quayside. Please, whoever you are, if anyone told you of that incident Please email me as I would like to get in touch with those children and also to thank those men. julian.james59@yahoo.com

A memory shared by Roland Mitchell on Mar 30th, 2012. Send Roland Mitchell a message.

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