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By Erik Rasmussen
  • M65 of 2017
    Lambeth Reach - Victoria Embankment Site Investigation Works
  • M64 of 2017
    Limehouse Reach - Convoys Wharf - Sunken Pontoon

Drama and manoeuvres in Shepperton

As training sessions go, this one seemed to skip along happily like a kayaker in the wake of a Thames party boat. The three newbies, Dan, Dave and Nick figured a beautiful autumnal day along the quiet Shepperton river banks lined with post rehab rocker villas would be like chicken soup for their busy London lives.  Little did they know that ‘wet work’ isn’t another term for drinking on the job.  By the end of the day, they learnt just how fast you can spin around your bum in icy water wearing wetsuit tutus.

The day started out with a couple of ripples and grumbles from various leaders. It’s always interesting to see who can come up with the best excuses to be late.  As Geoff single handedly loaded all eight kayaks down at Cremorne, various texts arrived on his phone.

Phil and Jaqui – “Our hamster got stuck in the chandelier!”

Judes – “Sam Neill is stalking me!”

Once down at Shepperton, under Phil’s direction the main training got underway and the newbies trailed up and down, zig zagging along as Judes kept calling out “Rudder to the left of them, rudder to the right of them, rudder in front of them, Volley’d and thunder’d; Storm’d at with shot and shell, Boldly they rode and well, Into the jaws of Death, Into the mouth of Hell!” A little sense of drama never hurt a paddler, especially when a leader is trying to get that stern rudder steering into your head before you manoeuvre around on the Thames.  In the end Geoff and Jacqui even managed to get Slow Dane to paddle backwards blindfolded and singing ‘God Save the Queen’ while hitting her head with one paddle and taking out a couple of signets with the other.

As the day finished off, the group rounded Desborough island and slalomed around a couple of near sighted rowers. Once back on land the three boys earned their BCU 1 Star + status, slow Dane narrowly escaped flushing herself down the seventies Sci-Fi toilet and we finished off the day with a well-deserved drink on dry land.

Solvej (aka the Slow Dane)

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