I remember the old docks in Penarth. Full of mud when the tide was out, empty and deserted. In the 19th century, and for the first half of the last century, those docks were busy with commercial ships. During my childhood, they offered a peaceful refuge where we could eat chips out of newspaper. They were an exciting, if dangerous, place to explore.
Now they are filled with pleasure boats, yachts and waterbuses. Penarth Marina is the official name for the newly upmarket area, but some of us still call it “the docks”.
Leaving my home, I gaze across Cardiff Bay to the Valleys and out along the Bristol Channel. Strolling down a leafy hill, I reach the shimmering sea, the former docks, and the entrance to the Barrage. Watching the road bridge lift to allow boats to pass is always a thrill, as is hearing my clients improve their English as they learn to describe everything they can see. Spotting cormorants, swans or more unusual birds is just as exciting.
Circling the various docks, I admire picturesque gardens, each one completely different. The adjoining river Ely is crammed with even more boats. A pedestrian bridge over the river offers an alternative route to Cardiff. There are many different ways of reaching a destination.
You don’t need feet to carry you to fluency. You don’t even need a boat. Let your imagination take you to a place where your English is confident and error-free. Think in English. Immerse yourself in the language, the way a cormorant immerses itself. It doesn’t have to be difficult. Just let yourself go. Float like a boat.