I Confess: Natalie Wheen sails away with Arthur Ransome

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The Independent Culture
The writer Arthur Ransome was the saving grace of my spoilt colonial childhood. Through him I escaped the dreadful rounds of tennis lessons and swimming parties. Janet and John left me cold, Enid Blyton was little better, but the library of the Ladies' Recreation Club somehow led me to the world of Swallows and Amazons and We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea. Messing about in boats.

His stories of adventures without parents were a revelation. I was never allowed out without a minder. Suddenly, here was a vision of excitement and individual responsibility.

Last summer, while staying in a friend's house, I spied a set of Ransome novels and it all came tumbling back. . . and then I went to the Boat Show.

Ever since, I've been in a state of total lust. I have this fantasy about a superbly finished, long, lean, dangerous and immensely powerful boat. If only I could afford one. The reality will be more in the nature of a 14 ft fishing smack.

The only problem is I get seasick.

Critic and broadcaster Natalie Wheen was in the confessional with David Benedict.

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