Oh! At the mere mention of the word the mind boggles!
I suppose the most obvious to most Christian minds would be Pontius Pilot.
Then of course the pilots who fly the planes that deliver us safely to our destinations all over the world.
But the one that sticks in my mind was on an Easter holiday in a narrow boat from the river Kennet at Reading out to the river Thames and then up river to Abingdon. We woke up on our second night to a soft padding up and down on the roof to find three inches of snow with a local duck walking up and down and looking hopefully for breakfast.
Striding up the towpath was something out of the Dam Busters with a black Labrador at his heels. ‘Morning!’ he called, ‘It’ll go into spate with this lot you know?’ And he was right in no time at all and by the time we reached Abingdon the snow had melted and caused so much additional run off that the volume of water coming down the river made it unsafe to negotiate on our own!
We were told to wait for the pilot!
It was around 29th April, my eldest daughter’s birthday and with birthday cake on the table we and the rest of the flotilla moored up by Abingdon Bridge waiting patiently for the pilot who when he arrived looked to be in his late teens and I wondered what experience he had of the torrent that the five boats had to negotiate.
We set off in trepidation holding our breath wondering how we could possibly get out of trouble with just a three cylinder Lister engine. Our friends in a racy cruiser with bags of power though thought it all a great laugh, dogs and all!
We stopped at a rather nice restaurant at Shillingford for lunch, with the Thames looking more like the Amazon’s rapids. After lunch the pilot advised our friends to get away first and for us to reverse into their space in the relative calm of the bank side water then to swing the rudder over and head for the centre arch of Shillingford Bridge at full throttle.
Unfortunately the Thames had other ideas and despite the Pilot’s and our best intentions we hit the upright pillar of the bridge, between the centre and side arches, sideways on. The kettle on the stove just on the boil for a cuppa went for a Burton, luckily no one hurt, the birthday cake took flight and the First Mate received a dinner plate size bruise to her thigh trying to fend us off the leg of the bridge.
Everything inside moved so the centre bathroom could no longer be isolated for privacy, crockery was smashed and we feared for our £30 deposit against damage.
In the aftermath, he who laughs last? We got off Scott free but our friends lost their deposit as one of their dogs in panic ate the For’ard mattress! Collie’s are not good sailors. Silly dog, someone should have explained he was supposed to sleep on it and not eat it!
In life we often have to rely on the experience of a pilot whose experience we need to carry us through difficult times. Have you had to rely on others in this way?
If you have we hope you have had better advice than we received on our jaunt on the Thames!
When you reach a certain age there may come a time when you are called upon to act as a pilot or guide in one way or another to those in need. Are you ready for such a challenge?
The only essential advice I can pass on to you is firstly to know yourself so that you are in a good position to advise in similar vein on the navigation of the challenges of life on Earth.
Come aboard any time! With Love, Hanukah & the Angel