The song of the paddle

One of the things that I don’t do enough of in my life is canoeing. Which is to say that I’ve been perhaps once or twice. Over twenty years ago. But I absolutely loved it and have been kicking myself ever since for not having done more. It has that rugged outdoorsy-ness to it that many sporting activities seem to lack. And, unlike kayaking, you don’t have to worry about whether your eskimo rolling skills are still up to scratch.

So it was with considerable enthusiasm that Natalie, Molly and I actually got our acts together sufficiently to take a short canoeing trip down part of the River Wye. It’s one of the best places in the country for canoeing and (I’m ashamed to admit) it’s only about an hour’s drive from my front door.

There was also a certain trepidation to the escapade, though, as while Natalie and I have both canoed before and know that we like it, nobody was quite sure about Molly. Do Labradors canoe? Or would we end up taking the shortest canoe trip ever, followed by an extended swim and a hefty damage bill?

Molly canoeing 1-2

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Autumn bliss

I knew it was going to be a nice morning as soon as I stepped outside, just before sunrise, and saw the planet Venus glimmering brightly in the heavens. And sure enough, as Molly and I set out for our morning walk, the sky was clear, the dew was shimmering and the Sun was radiating for all it was worth.

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Walking in the moonlight

It was already gone seven o’clock when Molly and I went out for our walk this morning, but the crescent moon was still bright in the heavens and even the planet Jupiter was visible in the dawn sky. As we sauntered along in the curious early morning mix of weak sunlight and fading moonlight, it struck me that the dark days of winter do sometimes have their advantages.

The moon above the trees

Walking in the moonlight

Molly and the Mendips

At the weekend, Natalie, Molly and I took a hike out to Crook Peak, perched on the end of the Mendip Hills in Somerset. Molly and I had been before, but this was Natalie’s first visit, so we were keen to have an enjoyable day out. And with some hills, a packed lunch and an overenthusiastic Labrador, who could possibly fail to enjoy themselves…?

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Autumn

It’s the autumnal equinox tomorrow, that time of year when the night becomes longer than the day and winter starts to set in. And as Molly and I sauntered out of the house first thing this morning, it looked like the planet was trying to get a head start. The sky was still dark, the crescent moon glowed gently above the horizon and the brightest stars still shone through the early dawn. Continue reading

Parental gardening support 101

My mother has big plans for her garden. And these plans, perhaps inevitably, involve a fair amount of digging, heavy lifting and general gorilla work. Which, perhaps even more inevitably, is where I come in. And so we found ourselves spending a tiring – but ultimately rather enjoyable – weekend tearing up a small portion of Somerset. Continue reading

It’s scooting time

Last week, if you could cast your mind back, you may recall that I bemoaned the lack of watersports in my life. Well, you can rest assured that this was a one off. Because we have a new addition to the family, in the form of a Perception Scooter sit on top kayak. I used to think that sit on tops weren’t ‘real’ kayaks, but were rather aimed at pudgy holidaymakers looking to get sunburned in the surf. But I’m pleased to admit that I was wrong. Very wrong. Because my Scooter is truly awesome. Continue reading

Educating Molly

As part of my never-ending quest to keep the dog entertained, I bought Molly a Kong Treat Wobbler, which dispenses food when she plays with it. It’s like one of those Weebles you probably had as a kid*, in that you can knock it around but it returns to an upright position. And if you fill it with small treats (or bits of kibble), they fall out of a small hole in the side as the thing rolls around. Well instantly, that’s so much better than a Weeble… Continue reading