"I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide..." - Sea Fever, John Masefield
At school, they said Ian was a dreamer. His thoughts - "well, somebody has to be.".
Growing up in land-locked Leicester, family holidays at the coast were the highlight of the year. Perhaps in Norfolk or on the Lincolnshire shores fighting back the tide with brooms at Breakwater Bungalows, the draw of the surf hissing through the pebbles. Or if funds would stretch to it, a week or possibly even two, all the way down the Fosse Way to Devon or Cornwall in the Cambridge, Mother at the wheel with three boys in the back eagerly anticipating the sight of the sea.
Back at home he enjoyed painting in the garden or the greenhouse with his Mum, oils (everywhere) on odd bits of hardboard, rough renditions of the shore and ocean. At school, unbeknown to many of his academic teachers, there was much that did inspire him. Works studied in the hope of passing wretched exams did, it would seem, make a mark.
One such was Sea Fever, by John Masefield which still rises in his memories and stirs his imagination. To "go down to the sea..." is an aspiration that never leaves him. He is not alone in this, and yes, "only a few more miles and we will see the sea".
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a gray mist on the sea's face, and a gray dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way, where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.