CLACTON ON SEA - Forty years on.

My owner, skipper Noddy, wanted me to make a nostalgic return to the beaches where I worked for so long, as it is FORTY years (40) since I've seen them and the pier. We tried last year but were defeated but the weather was kinder to us today.

He must've been impatient as he didn't even stop to pick up his big sister and I could feel her legs shaking as she boarded opposite Mersea after being taxied by Danny in the Boston.

I couldn't get close to the beach as it was cordoned off for the Clacton Airshow but they dropped my anchor, about where I used to moor up, and I went for my trip down memory lane. The beach wasn't as packed as I remember it in my day, infact, there were several things different but I still recognised it. Whilst I was bobbing about in the waves I did wonder if anyone on the beach was looking out at me and saying "Oooh look there's the Viking, do you remember all the trips we took on her?" she's looking good. Well one half of me was glistening as Noddy had polished me but he should've finished the job.

My passengers today were just family and a couple of "anoraks" (Ian and Dave) who were real enthusiasts about the planes, my bunch weren't impressed much at all, said something about paint drying. Well that was until the TYPHOON crept up on them and then I could feel my deck creak under their jumps of surprise as it flew over. The planes seemed to have us in their sights and I just heaved a sigh of relief that this was just a display as I did feel a little vulnerable, I must have juddered a bit as I dragged my anchor a couple of times, Noddy gave up on me in then end and made me work to stay in my position. Heh heh, he couldn't resist though, engines poodling he just had to have a closer look, I think he knows I've got failing eyesight and can't have them lasered like some. It was a nice moment but in all honesty, I'm glad I'm not there anymore, it's a lot rougher than in my times! I was being lifted up and dumped down with a thud and I could hear bad language when I rolled a bit too much, I even threw Andy off his seat and onto my deck. I'm too old to be treated in that way so I was glad when Noddy gave me a bit more throttle and I showed them waves that I wasn't standing for that anymore!!

We had to drop our VIP guest off at West Mersea and she was delighted that I could get her so close to the beach and she didn't have to have another 'taxi ride', I had a nice rest chillaxing in the calm creek whilst some went for fish n chips. I don't know what was in that vinegar but they were singing and dancing all the way home, honestly, they've got no idea how much I was aching but I was pleased that I had, again, brought a lot of pleasure to them all today.

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