Seven Bridges


After a ‘stressful’ week, Luke decided we needed a relaxing weekend. This started with a lovely meal cooked by Luke (pork and a rosemary, chickpea salad). He definitely redeemed himself from the five spice debacle and is back in my good cookbooks. This was then followed by a DVD night, accompanied by far too much popcorn! We then decided to have an adventure on Saturday and this entailed a picnic (of sorts), a river and a canoe. As it turns out, I am an inept canoer, despite all Luke’s best efforts. I think he felt like he was canoeing on his own (Audio-Paddle me own canoe) most of the time. Except for when I was, accidentally, canoeing against him. Whoops.

However, after renting some canoes from a cute cabin served by a very friendly lady, we successfully negotiated the eleven miles and seven bridges in Daleville. The watery adventure began when we were driven in a very old rustic, rattly red van to the river. This involved a hair-raising moment as the van descended a very steep gap in the trees. I was thinking to myself that he can’t be seriously about to drive through that. He did. I actually had to hold my breath because I was so worried we were going to topple over. However, thankfully, I was proved wrong. We clambered onboard our trusty canoe, said goodbye to the safety of dry land and set sail down the river.

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It was then that Luke realised he might have made a mistake taking me canoeing. I just could not get the hang of having to paddle on the left side to send the boat right, and vice versa. It was a bit like when I have to work out which way to turn the steering wheel in a car to be able to turn the wheels the correct way. This resulted in us canoeing backwards down the river a few times, canoeing into rocks and logs and narrowly avoiding people fishing in the river.
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I did find it quite relaxing turning in circles in the canoe yet, unfortunately, Luke did not appreciate these gentle rotations as much as me. In the end he decided to try canoeing by himself, like a Gondolier. All I needed for him to do was sing and I may as well have been in Venice. Almost.
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This system of Luke canoeing worked quite well for a while but was cut short by my habit for drinking gallons of water, all the time, even though my bladder is about the size of a tiny animal. This proved to be a slight problem in situations like these. We were surrounded by water and, more importantly, no toilets for the next three and a half hours. Fantastic. Luke decided to find somewhere for me but he decided to place the canoe next to a huge log. He then expected me to perform a gymnastic set by exiting the canoe without falling in, balancing myself on the log, walking down the log whilst avoiding the horrific spiders and then vaulting myself onto an old metal jetty. I politely declined and we had to find somewhere else. This proved to be the best thing to do as we rounded the corner and saw a random fisherman strolling up the river (towards the jetty) and we spotted two red trucks parked a little bit further up from the jetty. Luke can really choose the best places! For that experience I got my own back by managing to turn the canoe a few more times. He thinks they were accidental though.
It was such a lovely way to spend the morning. It was very peaceful on the river and we got to see different things on our floating journey.
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We also got to experience some mini-rapids. We didn’t realise how mini they were untill we got stuck on two separate ones.
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It turns out the mini rapids are formed by the water going over the rocks and , due to no rain recently, the river was really low and we got stuck on these rocks. After failing to dislodge ourselves from within the canoe Luke had to hop out and pull the canoe to deeper water. I just hope no-one could see us as we were not giving England a good name in the canoeing stakes with our random circles and getting wedge between rocks!
However, we managed to dislodge ourselves and were able to stop a little later on for a nose-bag.
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This consisted of french bread, grapes, cereal bars, water and jelly. Perfect! and it gave us the energy we needed to continue canoeing under the seven bridges before we reached our final destination and before the temperature soared.
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We then got into a blue, bone-shaking van and headed back to canoe headquarters. We were happy to still be dry and canoe free. I don’t think Luke will take me out in a canoe again. ‘Disbelief’ was a word he used a few times to describe my canoeing skills, or lack of them.


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