An oarsome afternoon
An oarsome afternoon
When the children were little, a trip to Thorpeness Meare involved packing a suitcase of spare clothes, a lorry load of drinks and snacks, and your strongest constitution as you knew you would be required to row the little darlings all the way to the far end so they could see the ‘scary’ crocodile. However, on a recent trip this summer, now they are teenagers, we packed light. If they got wet it was their fault; If they were hungry they should have had breakfast before we left, and most importantly, now they are older they could take out their own boat and row themselves wherever they pleased!
After much discussion as to how many boats, canoes, punts or kayaks we actually needed, we settled for four. The two youngest desperate to have their own small rowing boat – and I must stress the word small – the adults and Poppy happy to share a larger rowing boat with our over-excited dog Pipkin, and Jemma and Jude in one-man kayaks. Perfect. What could possibly go wrong! After a little confusion at the beginning where I insisted that I was facing the right way, “Of course you look forward when you row, otherwise how else can you see where you were going”, I have to admit that we all got off to a flying start and were soon striking out across the open water towards the islands. It was a little choppy out there, but what with shouting instructions to Molly and Bea, keeping Pip from jumping in after the ducks, and waving at some newlyweds out for a romantic row, we failed to notice the strong easterly wind that had got up.
If we had been paying attention we might have seen the look of panic on the groom’s face as he struggled to row his new bride back to shore in time for their reception, and the fixed smile she wore – along with a few muddy fronds of weed – when they had to send out a rescue party. As it was we rowed valiantly on, Damian masterfully navigating the narrow channels, Martin excitedly pointing out a Hobby, a small falcon that dashed over our heads in pursuit of smaller prey, and everyone having a great time?
But, you can never have too much of a good thing and with a beach BBQ to look forward and everyone feeling a little peckish, including a rather inquisitive cygnet that had taken rather a fancy to our boat, we decide to head on back. Half an hour later we finally struggled in, with Molly and Bea now in the kayaks as these were easier for them to paddle, Jude in with us asking if we had anything to eat, and Damian at the helm of the small boat; knees tucked under his chin and Jemma perched on the brow with her legs dangling over the front. Later, as we sat on the beach with our burgers, a well-deserved beer and rather damp attire, we decided that next time it might be a good idea to take some snacks and a change of clothes.
Thorpeness Meare is open for boat hire until 31st October