GORDON SANITAIRE by Gordon Urquhart (XV)


I just love swimming in the sea. If there were any guilt associated with this it might be considered a guilty pleasure, but there isn’t so it’s just a pleasure. Pure and simple. And that’s the joy of it. You and the sea: the simple, elemental simplicity of that. Yes, simple simplicity. It’s pure and invigorating and I can’t believe I’ve only just found out about it. Makes me think of all that wasted time, over the years, watching Sky News Business with a gluten-free bagel, a cup of coffee, and the Financial Review spread out on a table.

I could have been swimming. Alone in the fresh, clean, salty water with the rocky shelf pointing out into the waves, protruding from cliffs which loom, floating at peace in the naturally occurring little protected harbour for one (or two close friends). If I choose I can swim among the waves and body surf back to shore – and this exercise is good, and I do take the opportunity – but the majority of the time is spent just floating. Floating and gazing up at the cliffs or looking out at the horizon. I don’t think about anything at all much. It’s an opportunity to relax and be calm. To practice being calm. The key is to unburden the mind. And I know when I have done that because afterwards I experience a powerful feeling of wellbeing. I can feel the blood flowing and feel my breathing. My muscles are tired from being used but I have a marvellous sensation of new energy running all through me. It’s difficult to put into words, so I won’t even try.

Except to say it’s like the most magic business deal. It’s like Kerry Packer selling Channel 9 to Alan Bond for $1 billion and later buying it back for a quarter of the price. The result is euphoria, and you know you’ve done the right thing and done it well, and it’s apt to make a chap feel a little bit, um, toey[1], as we used to say.

In the late 80s there were so many business deals, and some were real corkers too. Nancy and I would get a room at the intercontinental and I would make sure there was plenty of Veuve Clicquot and strawberries for a couple of days until we were ready to emerge from our suite and check out and go home. It was all about romance – or at least, that’s the word we used for it.

But things are different now. Most mornings I find myself sitting on a rock wall, towelling off and watching the surfers, listening to the waves crash, feeling the fine spray, and smelling the salt water, and it feels good. I typically walk along the beach and buy a Cornetto from the girl who works in the kiosk near the surf club. She’s a very well-mannered young lady, and she tells me about how she’s going at school. I eat my ice cream in the car, and listen to Chopin nocturnes on the stereo while the warm air conditioning  tingles my skin. Then I go home and give Nancy a good hard seeing to.

[1] Young people are more likely to use a word like horny nowadays, but that isn’t quite the same. Horny means just one thing: I recall being toey before a big presentation in 1987, and then the only way to get rid of the nervous energy after the contracts were signed was to drive a speedboat, blindfolded, through the centre of Sydney Harbour that night.

Published in: on May 7, 2012 at 8:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

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