It’s raining. Really, properly raining – none of this half-hearted sunshine-and-showers business. No, in keeping with the economic mood of the country, it’s just steady, wet stuff teeming relentlessly down – enough to have me checking periodically that the house isn’t leaking. Of course we need it – water levels are a bit alarming – but frankly I’m more interested in what it’ll be doing to the river.
Will our lovely, glassy Wye have turned into a muddy torrent by my next outing tomorrow? And, more importantly, what will be floating down in it? Usually a downpour just brings a few branches and the odd tree, but we have been known to see the occasional dead cow or sheep float past (sob). Last time I was in Bristol I even saw a guitar floating down the river: so rock’n’roll.
One last thing: a plea to the people who make splash tops. Is there any chance that you could make them, like, actually waterproof? It would make British rowing so much nicer.
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After several long and frustrating months away from rowing, I finally got back on my beloved river this weekend.
During my time away I’ve learned to love running (something I never thought would happen), have gained in fitness (I’ve also learned to rest) and have admired the river from the banks. But nothing – really, nothing – is quite like the thrill of gliding along next to the swans on the smooth, glassy water.
I was a bit nervous about my first time back. Would I be able to remember what to do? Would it feel exhausting, painful, uncomfortable, ridiculous?
Actually, it just felt right. More than right, it was exhilarating.
Admittedly, it was cold – one of those ice-on-the-blades mornings – but what’s a bit of ice between friends? If a lump of the cold stuff is good enough for my gin and tonic (and it is), then it’s good enough for my blades.
The next few weeks will, I hope, see a gradual return to rowing strength, thanks to my amazing physio, Richard Coates. But as far as I’m concerned, it’s back to business. Want to raise a glass to that?
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