February 1st saw our first paddle of 2020 – the Secklow Hundred dragon boat team at Milton Keynes let us paddle on a blowy day in January, which was really kind of them.

The rain has conspired to keep the river flow and levels too high for us to paddle on the Thames since October 2019. Our last paddle here was at the end of September; since then we’ve got together and gone for walks, coffees, hula hooping, boat cleaning, committee meetings and mince pies and mulled wine but we’ve missed paddling together…

We were finally able to get on the River Thames on the 8th February. It was a beautiful day, sunny with a promise of spring, and the cherry blossom was just coming out. It was a bit nippy, but we were glad to give a warm welcome to new members in the boat.

The river was busy with kayakers and rowers who’d all had the same idea as us, and at times it was tricky to pick a route through everyone for today’s two helms in training.

Having all wondered if we’d forgotten how to paddle, we were nicely surprised by everything we had remembered! And got warmed up afterwards with a cuppa and a chat in the Isis Farmhouse pub. Roll on the warmer weather and lighter evenings!