Thursday, 17 August 2017

Shipwreck - rock on and roll off.

09:55:00 Posted by Adele Robinson , , , , , , 1 comment
Most of the time, I am cautious. I believe that once my children were born, I changed from someone who acted spontaneously and quite often had to extricate herself from difficult circumstances by sheer intellect, into a mother. A mother only takes calculated risks. A mother must weigh up a situation before stepping in to problems. A mother considers the effect of any reckless act on the lives of those she has to protect.

So from 1989 (when my son was born) until 2007 (when my daughter reached 16) I was a steady driver, rarely drank alcohol, went to bed early on a school/work night, didn't have any dangerous liaisons (even after Decree Absolute) and I would never have considered putting my own life at risk, for fear of leaving my children motherless.

In 1995, following some visual disturbances, while working at my PC, I sought medical advice. After three different misdiagnoses by the NHS, followed by a private consultation with a professor at Manchester University Hospital, a referral to an orthopaedic surgeon and two neuro-surgeons, I was told that I have an inoperable spinal condition. Caution in everything was essential to staying alive.

For a professional dancer, it was really lousy news. I was working in the Civil Service by then but still enjoyed an active social life and was still teaching a little. I still danced socially. I still enjoyed a game of tennis. Overnight I had to rethink. In 1997, I was the one at the bottom of all the rides in The Magic Kingdom. I looked after the bags at Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach and I only got to sit still and watch the shows at Universal Studios. I became the 'bag lady'. I was afraid of ending up in a wheelchair. I was afraid to join in.

I had motherhood to console me. My son's football, clarinet and tennis- my daughter's gymnastics - a wonderful training that consumed both for over a decade. Eventually they became more independent and I found myself wondering what would occupy my out of work hours. The future loomed like a long, dark tunnel. I started dancing one evening a week with a kind friend. Compared to my competitive and professional cabaret days, it was a bit like sleep-walking. I also signed up for a one year creative writing course. Nothing remotely dangerous.

In 2008 - I did a reckless act. The thought of it still makes me shudder. It was thrilling. It was exhilarating. It was also probably very stupid but I don't regret it. It was the maddest thing that I had done for years. I think that I probably needed to take a risk.

I had taken my son to a rendezvous point close to the motorway junction at 6am. On the way home, the local radio news was all about a ferry vessel that was listing in the Irish Sea, having blown off course en route to Heysham from Ireland. All passengers and crew had been successfully airlifted to safety by the RNLI by then but the roll-on-roll off ferry Riverdance was unmanned just off the shore at Cleveleys. The wind was gusting at 60 mph when a diminutive figure parked her car on the promenade, grabbed her Olympus Trip 35mm and ventured out onto the sand.

Riverdance had not yet run aground in her final resting place. I really had to battle against the sea spray which, as anyone local will tell you, foams up like a dirty bubble bath in rough weather. It was February, very cold, blowing like hell and I had to grapple along the wooden posts that run down from the pebble beach into the sea. I took photographs. I took a risk. It was my really first risky moment for more than a decade. It was the first of many. And I know that there are many more to come. (Oh and just in case you are wondering - there were no biscuits on the beach - they must have washed up later.)

This picture was not taken by me. Mine were less clear and much wetter. 


I used to move like Flatley:
I glided like Astaire,
Until medical opinion
said I should take care.

I watched while others partied,
I faded to the wall,
I hung up my dancing shoes,
and just forgot it all.

Then one day, you were scuppered,
washed up  - just like me,
Riverdance, the ferry boat,
sinking in the sea.

I didn't weigh the danger,
just braved the wind and tide,
to watch your final struggle,
to see you tip broadside.

And something changed inside me,
I found another me,
a person long forgotten,
the extrovert - I used to be.

I saw you rock and rolling
and joined you in your dance,
you made me feel alive again:
you made me take a chance.

I dusted off the dance shoes,
peeled my shadow off the wall,
for life is what you do with it
and if you're dancing - it's a ball.

Thanks for reading. Adele


Steve Rowland said...

Well done. Very Adelesque ;-)