The Skipper gave me an interesting present for our first Christmas on Medina. A book titled “The Sea Wife’s Handbook” (new edition) written by Joyce Sheightholme and published by Angus and Robertson, in 1976 (but first published in 1970).
After getting over my laughter, I asked the Skipper how he had come across the book. He explained that he found it while swapping some of our old books (from our house) at the local book swap store.
I considered the book a bit of a novelty and proudly popped on our book case, waiting for other people to find as they investigated what books we have on board.
This week, I actually read the book. I was expecting some sort of outdated advice which would give me a laugh. Instead of laughing or giggling, I found myself nodding, saying ‘mmmm’ out loud and I even grabbed my post it notes to mark some pages of fantastic ideas.
The book is written for an audience where the husband is the Skipper and the wife is new or relatively new to sailing. The book explains the basic of sailing with the attempt to make it less of a mystery, as it is based on harnessing something we can not see – the wind. But also provides practical tips on how to make life on a sailing boat more comfortable and enjoyable. There are chapters on the basics of sailing through to recipes, marina etiquette, beauty care and clothes. There is even a chapter titled “Children Afloat” and in the preface to the book, Joyce states that for children, sailing is formative.
Through out the book, Joyce also offers tip bits of relationship advice, which did give me a bit of a giggle. There is a section titled “Humouring them” which is interestingly placed in the chapter that covers the basics of sailing.
Although the book reflects the English culture and boats of the 1970’s, its advice is wonderfully practical and still relevant for this decade. So thank you Joyce for writing this book and thank you to the Skipper for buying it for me. I will be adopting some of the fantastic ideas from the book, but don’t worry, we won’t be wearing the matching his and her’s outfits any time soon!