Anyone who remembers this post will shake their head in wonder when I tell this story…
We went to visit a little farmstay property we go to from time to time. We went up on Saturday morning, for three nights. The first day, it rained (every time we’ve gone there, it’s rained, but that’s not a problem).
Let me digress: the first time we visited the farm, it rained. The weather was coolish, the river water icy. I had promised Mollie that we would ‘row, row, row the boat, gently down the stream’ (she was rather young at the time), so we donned our swimmers (just in case) and jumped aboard. Darren chose his vantage point very carefully: the bridge traversing said river. Upon rowing as far as we could, we were blocked by a naturally occurring dam of smooth river rocks. Mollie hopped out of the boat to explore. For some reason, I decided to do the same. Now anyone who knows me is aware that I am rather uncoordinated. Ok, TOTALLY uncoordinated. It wasn’t always thus. It is a part of getting older and fatter. Anyhoo, I made my way to the pointy end of the boat- first error. With one foot in the boat, I stepped onto a flattish, smoothish rock. At which point the boat, with my other foot firmly planted inside it, began to travel at an alarming rate of knots BACKWARDS. So I had one foot on the rock, one foot inside the boat. Not being particularly flexible or fit, I was quite stuck. Meanwhile, the gap between right foot and left foot was ever widening. When the boat had gone as far as it could with half of my body weight in it, it began (surprisingly!) to tip. Over I went, into the icy water. Much to Darren’s mirth. At that age, Mollie was still sweet enough to be concerned about my well-being, and was heard to inquire very politely and WITHOUT sniggering, whether or not I was all right. Darren didn’t bother to ask. He was speechless. There were tears in his eyes, but they were not sympathetic tears. Not at all.
Fast forward to 2007. "I’m not packing my swimmers this weekend people. I have no intentions of going anywhere near the river, or the boat." Knowing looks were exchanged. Off we went. Naturally, the first thing Mollie wanted to do upon arrival was change into swimmers and hit the river. I offered to accompany her on the strict understanding that I would NOT be swimming, or boarding the boat. I cheerfully placed the dog on its lead, and off we went. Mollie hopped into the boat, I untied the rope, and off she went. Mollie suffers from a genetic condition which she has inherited from me. She is uncoordinated. The first thing she did was to drop one of the oars. By the time she fished it out and put it back in its rowlock, she had begun to drift downstream. Now, remember, it had been raining. For several days. The river was swollen, and was probably a good 2 feet higher than normal. Naturally, it was flowing faster than normal. Before we knew it, Mollie was adrift, with no hope of recovering. I tried to grab the rope. I am not as strong as I thought I was. The rope slid painfully through my hands. I stepped into ankle deep water, then calf deep water to grab the boat. This exercise was met with a degree of success, however the current was so strong, all I could do was hold the boat in place.
I directed Mollie to get out of the freaking boat and go ashore. This she did. I threw her the rope, and instructed her to tie it around a nearby tree, while I held the offending boat steady. This we achieved. With the boat safely tied up and not going any further, I made the timely decision to try and pull it up onto the bank of the river, so that the next victim may board safely. At this point, I lost my footing and went arse over head, fully clothed, into the fucking river. To Mollie’s eternal credit she did not laugh out loud. Moments later, after taking a deep breath and counting to 100, I stood up and informed her that it was now safe to laugh. She did. The tears rolled down her little cheeks, and she had trouble catching her breath. Like father, like daughter. My only saving grace was that he was not present to witness the spectacle.
I returned, dripping wet, to the cottage, whereupon Darren was observed to look quizically in my direction. "Don’t ask", I said, as I hit the showers.