What do you do when one of your older brothers pops in for a few days ?, well you start by kayaking down the Charante river…..who wouldn’t.!!!
My brother Ian lives in the Channel Islands, he has been a resident there since the early 70’s when he met and married my long suffering sister in law Maureen. He is my oldest brother and he had a few days holiday he needed to use up,so proposed to drive down from St.Malo. Ian and I have regrettably seen fairly little of each other over the last 20 yrs….maybe this has more than a little to do with my involvement in agility, and the associated lack of free time and money.In fairness, he has always done his part regularly, dropping in to England from time to time with his family,and keeping up his fortnightly phone calls, but to get him on the doorstep at Le Tardis. I was a happy bunny.
Now not a lot of you know this but our family come from a “yachty” background. My father was a sailing instructor on the Solent in Hampshire and spent his early retirement sailing around the Mediterranean on a 4 berth yacht,Ian studied traditional boat building and raced yachts in his youth and as for other brother Mark and I, well we took more holidays in yachts in the 70’s than we took caravan hols. So in summary, life on the water featured largely for the Ruskins.
Living now as closely as we do to the Charante river,and fishing it’s banks each visit, I had always held a secret desire to “row row row my boat” so I took the arrival of my nearest and nautical dearest to hire a canoe for a couple of hours and paddle around(well get HIM to paddle me around,I'm not stupid !). They say you can never go back in time…..but arsing about on the river as we did,we may as well have been back in our youths, it was a blast…so thanks for that big brother, the image of us struggling to go UP a weir (and accomplishing same) rather than take the boat out of the water and go round it will stay with me forever.
A note to any intrepid river canoeists out there, when you launch off at the canoe base and find out you have left your waterproof map behind and you are offered it by the base manager…..paddle back and get it !!! The “how hard can it be” approach may not possibly get you up the creek without a paddle, but can prove interesting when the river keeps splitting and you can hear fast moving water. PS: who says you can’t blackberry pick from the water ??? I have a big brother that will try anything once…..silly bugger.