Sunday, 2 September 2007
Messing about on the river
Last year in the summer holidays we went boating at Barcombe along the River Ouse. We had a great day and have been promising for a year now that we would do the same again one day. Well the last day of the last weekend of the hols and we kept our promise. Everything had to be just as good as last year, down to hiring the same rowing boat as last year. So number 13 it was (we should have taken the hint).
It's been a really beautiful day and we were joined at the beginning of our boat trip by a family of swans and babies - idyllic.
And then we saw this little chap who had to have his photo taken!
Really we should have known better than to hand control of the boat over to teenage girls who barely know what day it is, let alone remembering to paddle in the right decoration. ("Go left, no left, that's right, left!!!") These 2 girls who are so food-driven that on first sight of the blackberry bushes on the river bank made straight for them. All's well in this shot ...
... what they'd forgotten is that the boat didn't have a brake and that pretty soon we were all heading straight into the bigger blackberry bush in front of us, accompanied by screams of "I'm going to die!!" from the girls and cries from my youngest. We did emerge a few minutes later, having been completely buried in brambles, covered in blackberry juice and arms scratched, thankfully the Savlon came along for the day too. Not such a good start then!
Luckily for us (and for everyone else, judging by the level of rowing going on) we seemed to have the river more or less to ourselves. We'd almost forgotten the cows that we'd almost rowed into last year when they'd been standing in the river as we meandered around a bend. Until of course we'd turned that bend in the river and I had convinced my youngest that of course they wouldn't be there again, when ...
... and this time there was no turning back, we had to go past them and to make matters worse there were more of them, As we approached and my daughters screams grew louder, we saw five cows and calves in the river and we had to tackle the first of our many three point turns. Relaxing it wasn"t! We cleared the cows but had overcompensated in the rowing department and now found ourselves deep in the branches of a tree on the riverbank and my arm deep in a patch of stinging nettles (as I said, fortunately we were alone at this point).
We all slumped down in the boat and the girls and M had to row whilst laying horizontally across the boat.
Now you'd think having survived this, the cows and the brambles, they'd want to play it safe, But no - the trees were fun and we spent most of the return journey heading straight for the trees, shouting "assume crash position!" and lying flat on the boat - I'd given up by this point
We were on the home straight when my oldest crashed into the canoe that was straight in front of her - nobody was hurt - but how could you not see a canoe? She said she'd been distracted by the boy who suddenly appeared from nowhere swinging across the river on a rope in front of us, I said she might have been distracted by the dog who literally jumped over our boat a split second later to fetch the stick his owner had thrown, No it was not very hot, none of us was suffering from heatstroke and all of this did happen within a space of a few seconds. Too quickly for me to capture it on film, if you'd just seen this photo of the dog calmly swimming over to the other side having rescued his stick you would have no idea of what had just happened!
In spite of all this and convinced we were going to be handed an ASBO on our return it was a wonderful day. We thought everyone in the pub garden had had some idea of what had just happened as they all seemed to be smiling at us, It was only when we were halfway across the field that my youngest said - "Mummy do you think we should still be wearing the life jackets?!"