Of all the 80 odd boats anchored and moored in this bay there are only two with varnished teak and mahogany brightwork. One is the royal yacht, given by former King Constantine of Greece, to his wife Queen Anne Marie on her 60th birthday.
The other is mine.
The Mediterranean sun is so harsh it acts almost as a blow-lamp on anything varnished, causing it to crack and peal off in just a few months. So most boat owners prefer to leave any teak details grey and untreated. My boat's toe rail happens to be mahogany so it can't be left without varnish. I cover it up in winter time and at the beginning of every season I scrape, sand and patch up any damaged bits, varnish them 6 times and then give three strokes over all the rest. I've found out that instead of standing or kneeling and leaning precariously out over the side of the deck, I can do the whole job from the dinghy. This requires very calm weather so I won't be bouncing up and down balancing with brush, turps, rags and a full tin of varnish. Woe betide anyone who charges past with a motor boat at full speed kicking up a small tsunami enough to tip everything over, including me.
One boat that really did take the consideration of gliding very slowly past was in fact "Afroessa" the royal yacht. I always give a little wave to every boat that passes at close quarters so I waved my brush at the woman on deck that I had eye contact with. She waved back with a smile. It was only afterwards I realised it was HM Queen Anne Marie.
As we have some small things in common, we are both boat owners and both born the same year, we have both lived abroad most of our lives, the Queen in exile, myself by choice. I couldn't help thinking of our very different lives and how being born a princess and later becoming Queen doesn't make that much difference in the long run. Both she and I are human after all and we have both had our share of happiness and sorrow, very good times and very hard times, success and disaster.
But as Eleanor Roosevelt once said: