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  • Writer's pictureRosemary Lawrey

50 - Keep on pitching and rolling

"I lay on a lilo till I’m lobster red, I still feel the motion here at home in bed."  Memorable lines from Amazulu’s 1986 happy hit song Montego Bay.  When I first heard this tune, I was amazed, delighted and reassured –  a kindred spirit, at last!  There was someone else in this world like me, after all!  For on the few occasions I have spoken about a condition I’ve suffered from since being a child, I’ve always been met with blank looks.  The thing is, when I go up in a lift, my brain thinks it’s still ascending, long after I escape the cage.  When I step off a cross-channel ferry after a rough trip, my brain still thinks I’m riding the waves for ages afterwards.  Recently when I took, not a lilo but a couchette on the Amsterdam to Berlin sleeper train, it was three days before my head came to realise we had arrived and were no longer rattling through dark German countryside.   But just this week, I finally googled it, and, apparently, it is a thing, and, in its extreme form, it has a fancy French name “mal de débarquement”, disembarkation sickness.    

In short, I think I’m moving when I’m not.     Waiting for a train to set off at a station, whether I’m already sitting in it, or still on the platform, I’m never quite sure if it’s me that’s moving, or carriages of passengers going by me.  Staring down into the waters below the pier here, a favourite occupation of mine, I will pitch and roll with every wave. 

Ryde is a great place for the never-quite disembarked like me.  A perpetual tourist, even at home, I still feel the need to goggle at the sea and every single ship that sails by.   When I was a brand new incomer, I mentioned this excitement one day as I stood with a new acquaintance outside the library.  “Ah, when you’ve been here a year or two, you forget the sea is even there!” they said.  This saddened me at the time, but I’ve been here a year or seven and I still get that bubbling excitement when I glance down George Street and see a big overloaded Hapag Lloyd cargo vessel bobbing its way over the rooftops towards the Channel. 

My mind goes off on one too – travelling with it to who knows where.  The water is movement.  It is life, and it is a constant promise of adventure.  Even though I get seasick just leaning over the pier railings, I can never turn my back on the water.  Watching the sea is endlessly entertaining.  It is calming and it is healing at the same time. 

Our minds are addicted to movement and they love to travel.  When we are lucky enough to live by water, but, for whatever reason, turn our backs on it, we feel the loss. Life grinds us down sometimes, but the rewards are rich when we can muster up the energy, time or inclination, even for an instant, to look deep into our nearest body of water and drink in all its imaginary wonders.  You ain’t lived till you’ve been down the Esplanade.


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2 Comments


vanessa martin
vanessa martin
Jun 14

I looked at your pictures and read your words this morning Rosemary and awestruck with your inspiration and the way you perceive everything so vividly. All those feelings so cleverly transcribed in textures and colour. The world is a better place with people who can think like you, beyond "the box"

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Rosemary Lawrey
Rosemary Lawrey
Jun 14
Replying to

Thanks Vanessa - Ah, I think you see beyond "the box" in your own way too, and not just with your music.

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