Surfing, sailing, and satellite malfunctions…

Do you remember the World Cup? Seems a long time ago now. We went surfing to Woolacombe and avoided the match with Portugal. However you could hear the oohs and aahs from out on the surf. It was hot, the surf was small but clean and the small band had a good weekend. My car ended up being decked overnight in the full England car kit – flags, bunting etc. Peal managed to take up two thirds of my tent with his massive inflatable mattress. Mark Parker was out of phase with everyone else, arriving most days on the beach just as we were leaving because it was low tide and there was no surf or what there was was mean dumping stuff.

The Severn Tour in July went from Hampton Loade, through Arley, Eyemore Rapids where Johann swam and finished up in Bewdley. Mike Sharman wasn’t on the trip but couldn’t stay away as we saw him walking along the riverbank, after a day out on the Severn Valley railway. This was a quiet affair with just Johann, Damian and myself on the water. Apart from Johann swimming we saw a grass snake swimming across the river, noticeable by it’s yellow neck. Harmless but they make a pungent smell if handled.

Back in the hot weather of July, two carloads of us headed south to a small village called Prinsted, at the top of end of Chichester Harbour. We were invited down by a mate of mine, Dave Cooper who helps out with the Sea Scouts and wanted some tuition and testing done for the keen canoeists amongst them.

This was no ordinary Scout Hut, situated as it was right next to the harbour, huddled in a picturesque village with thatched roof cottages. The only down side was that for most of the day the tide was out, and the outside shower. This was in the form of a cold tap and hose pipe, more commonly used for rinsing salt water off boats.

Local ale was sampled and given the approval. The next morning Mike was up, well isn’t he always but more interestingly, so was Nigel Perry. A continental breakfast of cereal, bacon sandwiches and tea overlooking the bay was most agreeable. The first paddle was at Cobnor on the Bosham Channel, which gave water at low tide. There was a steady breeze, a building current and plenty of sticky mud. An afternoon introduction to sailing with a crew of three in a stiff breeze kept us all on our toes, learning new terms, techniques for turning and reading the sign posts in the harbour.

A massive BBQ with superb puddings and not much pasta was laid on that evening. We were well and truly looked after. Watch out for the mozzies though as they were biting. Apparently people living in this area used to suffer quite badly from the insects attracted by the shallow warm water.

Sunday was going to be a proper breakfast with rabbit food, sausages, bacon and mushrooms and lashings of tea, (no ginger beer). However Will intervened and managed to deposit the bacon on the kitchen floor!!

More paddling was followed by an afternoon in the single handed sailing boats known as Toppers. Nigel Perry capsized immediately in two foot of water but after that we all settled down to tacking, jibing and stuff like that.

The journey home was uneventful, apart from the failure of Doris (Sat Nav) to steer Nigel Perry home without an excursion towards Rugby, in hot pursuit of Mike, who did want to go to Rugby!

Summer fun has begun with sessions being run as a follow up to the Urban Ranger Active Zone ‘come and try it’ activity at the canal basin. Once again these have been popular and Ryan, Ryan (another one), Kyle, Robert and Damian have been helping me out.

I have just got back from a paddle down the Wye. Super day out, finishing at Monmouth. Mike S, Damian, Robert and Ben were also out. I virtually crashed into a friend who I hadn’t seen in many years, paddling along. We also saw an otter going across the river, now that must be a rare sight.

Have you seen the new bridge, which links the two sides of the canal from the back of the old Council Depot to the new development in the old electricity station, Electric Wharf? What do you think, is this Bridge 1A?