Monday, September 16, 2013

Row, Row your boat

It’s raining in Sydney.  Raining in a remorseless dirge like fashion that makes nonsense out of words like drizzle.  Before it got dark I kept glancing behind me in the manner of one starring in a low budget horror movie to a darkened horizon with clouds bulging up behind each other in a way that made the continuing downpour a certainty. 

You get out of the way of rain.  We’ve have had weeks of dry weather, with sun and warmth on tap and I have begun to take an early summer for granted and so consequently I now feel aggrieved that having shaved my legs ready to burst upon the world in my shorts, the weather takes a turn for the nasty and not only am I back in my jeans, but I am also wondering where my head to toe waterproofs are.

I row in a social Ladies’ four every couple of weeks or so.  The other three and the long-suffering coach go out every week and another lady and I act as part time subs. The time interval between my outings means that there is no muscle memory involved and each hour and a half outing hits my protesting body like, well like an hour and a half on a rowing machine, and I have to be practically craned out of the flimsy shell when we return to dry land.  Muscle moaning apart, Middle Harbour which is one of the arms of Sydney Harbour, has to be one of the most beautiful places in the world to have a Monday morning row with a bunch of friends.  Normally we row through harbour mansions and on into secluded creeks fringed by gums and sandstone escarpments dropping down to the water.   Most of the upper reaches of Middle Harbour are within Garigal National Park so it comes as almost a shock when the arches of Roseville Bridge, a major throughway between Central Sydney and the Northern Beaches hoves into view.  Middle Harbour is reputed to be a shark breeding ground and is undeniably the site of the last shark fatality in the harbour, as a result I tend not to trail my hand through the water – not that there is much opportunity for hand trailing as I row with a crew that likes to push itself (and half kill their weaker brethren e.g. me) and thus rather than lounging around on the water in the Three Men in a Boat mode, we are more likely to be doing pyramids – 5 firm, 5 light, 10 firm, 10 light – I am sure you are getting the picture and also hopefully the general sense of why I return from these outings puce in the face and bent over like a banana.

It was looking grey this morning as we set out, but as I say these are Everest climbing type ladies – they don’t do wimpy so off we went and of course as soon as we got to the point of no return, the heavens opened.  It is interesting to note that this point of no return rule applies to rowing outing as well as my childhood Scottish walks.  We got back to the dock with water gushing off us, dripping would be inaccurate, as a description, though I did note that my bra that was obviously inside my clothes was dripping.  I didn’t think it was possible to get any wetter until we turned the boat upside down to carry it up to the boatshed and promptly emptied a couple of buckets of water over ourselves.  I got in a hot shower, noting with interest that my fingers had that wrinkled washerwoman look I associate with Beatrix Potter’s Mrs Tiggywinkle, but as I stood under the glorious hot water I did get a grip on reality and thank my lucky stars that a wet Spring day in Sydney rowing in a Fab Four still knocks the spots off a cold wet day in most of the rest of the world.

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