Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Summertime ... and the weather is ... well , pretty awful really

I took my youngest to a sailing club this morning. For a sizeable amount of money, paid to the outdoorsy looking teen manning the reception desk, he was allowed to change into a rather shabby looking wetsuit about 2 sizes too small and toddled off to be dunked in a grey reservoir for the rest of the day.

Actually , he's attending something called Water Fun ( or Water Hell in my book) which runs for the whole week and introduces your offspring to the delights of kayaking, windsurfing, knee boarding and sailing .. like I said ... Water Hell.

I wished I could embrace the whole sailing fraternity thing. For a moment I thought I could. We turned off a grubby road, aptly called the Staines Bypass, into a narrow tree lined lane and entered the sailing club gates where a large spikey ramp thing prevented us from going any further , ostensibly to prevent fly-tippers and graffiti hooligans from plying their trade. Once we'd convinced them of our credentials we were allowed in and asked to take the right hand fork and proceed to the car park. After climbing 66 steps ( I know this because I counted every one , somewhat breathlessly by the time I'd reached fifty something) we ascended into a little bit if suburban heaven.

A large expanse of glistening water greeted us accompanied by the clanking of those sail mast thingies and the swooping of gulls, all lending to the illusion of being beside the sea. If you closed your eyes and breathed deeply , I swear I could almost smell salt on the breeze or maybe it was just the chips they'd be serving at lunchtime.

Most of the children there were sun kissed and fresh air types - a good sign. Excellent decision I thought , all the benefits of healthy exercise and team building stuff and I don't even have to dip my toe in the water . Perfect. Here were in the suburbs of London and I could almost believe we were salty sea dogs, hoisting the mainsail and all the that palaver. A little bit of maritime heaven.

I turned to descend the 66 steps and as I did so , I left behind my vision of seaside loveliness. A police siren wailed from the road below and the 24 hour Tescos loomed out of the grey mist . Back to reality.

And as for my scrapbook pages this summer , rather than the 'Fun in the Sun' variety I think they're more likely to be 'Rain is a Pain' . Having said that I can always look back on last years and remind myself what proper sunshine looked like.

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