A year out—a year to do whatever I wanted. To my newly single self, it sounded like freedom: fascinating and a little bit frightening. But that was the year I suddenly found myself aboard a brand-new Westerly Conway, all set to spend the summer cruising the Mediterranean. It was also the year I discovered my ‘psychic’ self, although I now find words like psychic, supernatural and paranormal misleading, as they do not correctly describe faculties I have come to think of as natural to all human beings.
It was the summer of 1976. I was forty-two, newly separated from my first husband and eager to make a new life. Once settled in my new home—a place where I could at last be myself—I wondered how best to use my freedom. On impulse, and despite having minimal sailing experience, I placed an advertisement for a crewing job in Yachting World.
A few weeks later, I had a phone call from a Dutchman.
‘I need a companion to sail with me,’ he explained. ‘I’ve outfitted a new Westerly Conway yacht berthed in the marina at C’An Pastilla, Majorca. I’ve already lost sight in my left eye due to diabetes, so I want to spend the summer cruising the western Mediterranean before my vision goes completely.’
We talked for quite a long time, and as we seemed to get along well, he decided to fly over to England to meet me. Days later, I met him at Bristol Airport and we continued talking and exchanging ideas over dinner at a lovely old inn in the Wye Valley. It was heady stuff, but we decided I would fly out to Majorca in two weeks time, on the 23 May, to join him on his yacht. In the meantime, he flew back to Holland to collect his luggage before driving from Spain to Majorca. We were both very excited about our upcoming adventure, so he phoned me every couple of days leading up to my departure.