Thursday, 5 July 2012

A New Direction

It's been some time since I started this blog and it's really ceased to be a blog because I haven't been blogging !.  Well i've decided to take this in a new direction now as things have changed since I last wrote.
For one thing, I no longer repair computers, least not for reward.  
So this blog will no longer focus on technology but rather will take a broader view on the things that excite, concern, worry, annoy and otherwise stimulate my brain on a day to day basis. 

To begin in this vain I will tell you of a recent trip I took out to enjoy my new hobby, canoing.  Well it isn't really new in the sense that I used to canoe with a club but stopped doing so about eight years ago, some four years before I retired. I also used to surf ski, bodyboard and snorkel fish but just stopped doing them in my later employment years. I never owned a canoe and sold the surf ski I had but kept all the other essential watersports gear, wetsuit, buoyancy aid, etc.

Then earlier this year I saw canoists out on the river near where I live and it brought back the great memories of the times I had when I was "on the water" in sea and on river.  Now I am not the fittest person there is and age is taking its toll, particularly because I admittedly get little excercise except gardening. However I am still healthy and with the exception of occasional muscle aches and having to wear spectacles for long distance I saw no reason why I couldn't get back on the water again. So I started looking at canoes on the web. To my surprise I found that the sport has changed in the past decade with the prominent availability of affordable "sit on kayaks". These can be fitted with removable seats and have no cockpit, the canoist simply sitting in a depression moulded into the polyethylene body of the canoe.  Just what I was looking for. They are very stable, unsinkable and if you fall out on the water, it is comparatively easy to get back on, particularly if you have no one with you in another canoe.

So the decision was made and soon after I located the exact model I wanted, second hand on ebay. I also bought a new paddle, a folding trolley for those longer hauls down to the water and some waterproof bags for carrying stuff with me on any trips. A check on all my old watersport gear came next and although donning my wetsuit was a bit like putting a cumberland sausage into a chipolata skin, it still fit reasonably comfortably.

Now I used to wear contact lenses when I undertook watersports but hadn't done so for years so next was a trip to the opticians to determine whether I could return to using them. I didn't want to get lost on the water and have people saying "he should have gone to Specsavers" !. The news was good and I was given five pairs to try out and thereafter I can buy a pack of thirty pairs for £22 which for daily use will last me many trips. Job done.

My first trip was last Wednesday from Golant slipway on the Fowey river here in Cornwall to the Bridge at Lostwithiel.  A fairly ambitious journey (14 kilometres round trip) for a try out, but in for a penny, in for a pound !.Weather was calm with sunny intervals and I was going up-river with the tide, the plan to be a Lostwithiel at high tide then return with the tide again. I met a couple of other canoists who launched just before me. They had sea kayaks but had decided the river was the better option on a day where fog was prelavent.

There is nothing quite like the peace which can be found on some of our Cornish estuaries. At one point I just sat and heard........nothing...... No bird sounds, not even a distant car or the gentle put-put-put of a boat on the river. The only time I have ever heard such silence was at the bottom of a 1000 metre shaft in North Yorkshire. Wonderful.

There was drizzle on the way but I was working the paddle and with my cag top and buoyancy jacket over my wetsuit  I was quite warm. The tide was high enough to beach below the bridge and lunch was obtained from Lostwithiel Coop. The other two canoists did likewise and I got chatting to them sitting on the picnic benches. The gentleman canoist (the other was a lady) said he was 83 and had canoed much of his life. And there was me quietly wondering whether I was too old to take up canoing having not even reached state retirement age !.

Having listened to TV reports and read the newspapers recently, who the hell wants to die in a rest home. Take risks and feel alive. So now I have my answer. Feel the fear and do it anyway. That's my new direction and we'll see where it takes me.  I'll continue this blog from time to time so those that readers will know i'm still alive !.

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