I have decided to become one with the rain. No one told us here in the UK summer had been cancelled; they just let us work it out for ourselves. Now it feels like all seasons have been merged into one. Take any day at any time of the year and it’s likely to be pretty much the same as any other day at any other time of year. Dull, grey and miserable, a bit like moving to Birmingham.
For months I’ve been fighting this, waiting for a day when the sun will shine and I can venture out of doors. No longer will I do this, I will become like a Zen master, narrow my eyes to slits and speak in meaningless riddles about monkeys. “Ah little Grasshopper, when the monkey urinates in your kitchen it is time to mount the bicycle and find a new house.
I tried to think of something I could do where constant rain would be no barrier and it came to me, I’ll learn to canoe. After all I live in the perfect spot. There is a river right outside my house I can canoe in. If I turn right I’ll end up in Loch Ness, if I go left I’ll wind up in the Moray Firth, either way I’ll get wet but there’s nothing new there is there?
I’ve dabbled with canoeing before. Once I tried to persuade my old mate John to canoe the length of Loch Shiel with me. “It’s magnificent,” I enthused, “Twenty eight miles of wilderness loch. We can camp beside the loch, fish in it, take beer and stuff. What could go wrong?” John looked unconvinced, “It’ll be wet and uncomfortable and there’ll be midges. Let’s stay here,” he replied. John lived with his mother at the time and I think he was most worried about the fact he might have to cook for himself. I even offered to take the old lady with us to cook his tea. I could just picture her sitting in an arm chair in the middle of a Canadian canoe while John and I paddled into the wild blue yonder.
The problem is that when you get to fifty something happens to your mates. When once I could have suggested to John we abseil into the mouth of Hell and he’d have leapt up, reaching for his boots, “Splendid idea! Can’t think why I didn’t think of it before. Where’s me coat?” Now, in their fifties, the lure of the arm chair seems to too strong and most can’t be coaxed out. You become set in your ways, even the suggestion of a different pub to meet in is greeted with horrified responses.
So I’ll get a canoe, or a kayak, whatever the difference is. My ignorance about canoeing is unbounded. That’ll be the fun thing, I’ll learn something new, and I always enjoy that. I shall paddle off into the horizon. Bring on the rain, I’ll look forward to a good down poor, a new wet world will open up before me, well it will, if I can get out of this armchair.