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By Erik Rasmussen

Friendly Neighbours

An unusual paddle last night, for many reasons. For a start, we had only 4 people for the later paddle, with slightly more than that showing up for the early one. Great that Geoff’s idea is working well. Mind you, already you can see the rivalry emerging between the early ones (yeah We’re definitely Chelsea A, quoth an unnamed member with a shock of curly blond hair) and the original timers. Good to see that the Minimal Group Paradigm is alive and well. Google it.

But I digress. I am a great believer in making CKC good neighbours – so we take part in the Cardboard Canoe Race at Cremorne, we instigate an outreach programme to our neighbours in Worlds End, we work hard to remain friends with other canoeing and kayaking clubs in London.

Last night we made another outreach gesture, of a different sort. Having paddled against the end of the ebb up as far as the Barn Elms Boathouse, avoided the rowers and turned back downriver, Kate spoke again of her friends at Hurlingham Yacht Club. Well, I’d heard that song before, so there was no escape this time. “Lead on” I cried. “But we haven’t any money” she replied. “Not to worry – let’s make a courtesy call“… and so we found ourselves beaching our boats and walking up the steps to say hello.

Hurlingham Yacht Club has been around since 1924, and is one of the most, if not the most, unpretentious yacht clubs I have ever seen. Proud of its tradition, but not bound by it, a bunch of mostly older men were playing pool and having a few pints. They welcomed us warmly, so warmly in fact, that we decided to stay for one. Phil was summoned from his pondering and Kate borrowed £20 from her mate Alex. And pints were had by all, at the pleasing rate of £2.50 each.

We’d have stayed for more (apparently the club only really gets going after 10) but the flood tide was now building against us so we left it at one and promised to return.

And we will!

Andy

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