Sunday, 4 September 2011

pictures or it didn't happen

The more interesting life gets, the less you're likely to hear about it. It's a 'revolution will not be televised' kind of thing. Thus, for instance, these pictures of Catherine and me, canoeing along the Avon the other day, up towards Bradford on Avon. It was a good trip, along a stretch of river we'd not been along before. Kingfishers flitted about the place, the purple loosestrife flourished on the banks, the sun was just the right shade of warm, and the breezes were always following ones.

What the pics don't show are the bloody great plastic barrel with the dry gear in it, which I'd secured to the afterdeck of my kayak; I spent the first mile wobbling like a drunken tightrope walker, until we found somewhere to land, and from then on I towed it behind me, like a faithful mine.

But you can't see that in the pictures.

Another thing you can't see is the weir at Limpley Stoke.

The trouble with weirs is that, unless you're the sort of masochist who thinks that 'only dead fish go with the flow' and therefore only ever paddles upriver, then your first inkling of a weir ahead is the roaring noise. Then you will see a slight ripple, which is where the water is going over the weir. Approach with caution, and try to determine whether it's the sort of weir that you can shoot, or if there's anywhere to get out and inspect the thing.

We came alongside the central section of the weir, which was dry. I laboriously uncorked myself from the kayak, and found that Catherine's had taken advantage of the kerfuffle as she got out, and was drifting towards an ominously-roaring sluice.

It got caught in a tree. I got back into my kayak, and bore down upon it, Catherine holding the rope that was tied to the stern. I grabbed the runaway kayak, and she pulled me back to safety.

And then we scrambled down the wall of the weir, and carried on our way.

But there aren't any pictures of that either.

That weir is like poetry, as Wordsworth described it; 'emotion recollected in tranquillity'. Except back to front. I was quite calm at the time. Now, I think back to it and imagine getting caught in the sluice and drowning. Funny how things are just 'what-you-do' at the time, and give you the horrors afterwards.

It wasn't that bad really, though. Quite fun, in fact. It's like breaking down in the car. As i said to Katie the other day (just after the clutch linkage on the Moggy had broken, and I bodged it back together with a safety pin) "It's really good when you break down, if you manage to fix it and get home, because the happiness you feel at sorting out the problem outweighs the misery of the problem happening in the first place".

She didn't agree. Tchah.