Once upon a time I spent the goodly lump of a winter on a yacht with Ned Rocknroll – current Mr Winslet and dad-to-be. Only then he didn’t have such a memorable name.
Me and Ned, sailing off into the sunrise… along with a dozen or so other people.
Let me explain.
In the mid 1990s I spent quite a lot of time messing around on boats. I discovered that if you could cook a bit, follow instructions about which rope to pull and generally do what you were told (for a while anyway) it was possible to make a small living and have a huge amount of fun.
|Messing about on a boat… guess which one I am…|
Ned was a crewmember on one of these boats. It was 1997, so it was probably his year out after school, I think he was 19. I was hired as cook for that boat’s return Atlantic crossing from St Maartin to Southampton.
During the season – from leaving the UK for the Caribbean as winter began until the return in the spring – I often bumped into the crew of that yacht, Ned among them.
If you’ve read this far in the hope of some juicy revelation – sorry. Only that Ned was unfailing lovely, helpful and kind. A real asset to life on board – and that kind of slightly open-plan living, especially on long journeys rapidly reveals someone’s true nature.
But I do have a reason for bothering you with a story in which nothing much happened and everyone was perfectly pleasant.
Since he and his wife Kate Winslet announced that she is expecting his first child – her third. There is a huge amount of spiteful comment about them – her (three kids, three dads) , him (what kind of a name is Rocknroll anyway?).
For once, I am qualified to comment – not, of course, that it would normally stop me.
Firstly, Ned may well be wealthy and privileged, but it’s not his fault Richard Branson is his uncle and the rest of the family are rolling in it. (Rocknrolling?) None of that was evident on meeting him, not an air or grace at all.
He can call himself whatever he wants. I certainly find there’s a benefit in having a name I don’t share with anyone else. “Google me, darling.”
Secondly, three kids by three husbands. So what? Really. The children are well cared for and appear to live a ‘normal’ life, that’s all you need to know. Hands up if you haven’t at some point hitched up with someone for reasons you simply can’t now imagine. There. Thought not.
I wish Ned and Kate hearty congratulations and the best of luck.
And can we now turn our attentions to far those far more deserving of our scorn… Contenders please.