Reports from the brown river

Summer has been, as mentioned earlier, officially declared. I’m down to one t-shirt and a fleece as opposed to the extra “thermals” I’ve been wearing for what seems like the last 6 gibillion years or so. I’ve taken to walking round the house with no socks, cycling to work is now up to more than half of the days I go to work. Blue skies have appeared over Portadown. The Rapture may be imminent.

And so finally we’ve dusted off old Pudge and made a trip down the Bann. The last time we did this was three weeks before Da turned yellow and everything changed. To have him in the back of the canoe steering as badly as ever is kind of a big deal. To be honest we thought it may well have been proper summer (the one week of dry weather we’ll get between June and August) before getting him back in the canoe but GOD is good.

So instead of the usual Saturday morning lie in while listening to Fi Glover on Saturday Live on Radio 4, Dad was in like a kid on Christmas day, kicking me out of bed to look at the blue sky and the snow on the tops of the mournes out the window.

One poached egg and a few slices of bacon and a cup of coffee later we were down at Simon’s house trying to contain Lily’s excitement that we were going on a trip. Not that Lily was gong on the trip, she jut gets excited about everything “wow, look at you, you’ve got a stick, wow, what a totally amazingly awesome stick, I’m so excited, wow, I’ve just wet myself…” Ah it’s a dog’s life eh…

So with the usual stares from “the old and the bored” and the fishermen in camo gear (one day I’ll ask “you know what’s the deal with the camo gear? who exactly are you disguising yourself for? the fish?”), we paddled through town beaming from ear to ear on the best day of the year so far.

We canoed as far as we could upstream (about 3 miles) where the river hits a shallow area of “rapids” where the only way on up is to get out and walk and tow the canoe behind us. Maybe some day, not today. Me and Simon have great plans for a wee descent from Katesbridge to Portadown though we’ll have to get over a few weirs, which I’m sure is fine really… We’ll wear helmets Mum honestly…

So instead we abandoned the Bann and headed up the horses leap, which apparently is an old diversion of the river Bann built by the army back in the first half of the last century. I have no idea why they were diverting the Bann, probably something to fill the time between world wars. My (now dead) Grandad talked about how they camped down where Tescos is now. Different age, different world.

Here we stopped and sat on the bank and watched the herons and the microlites overhead (kernan aviation were having a busy morning), Dad popping pills and crisps to keep the blood sugars up till we got back. I get all cynical about the limitations of medicine and how little we can do yet here stands my Dad, doing what he was doing 9 months ago yet if he stopped his medication he’d be dead in a week or so. Gratitude springs eternal.

Incidentally the girl on the right is just Simon with long hair. The girl on the left is Lily.

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1 Response to “Reports from the brown river”



  1. 1 Puncture Repair « Nelly And I Trackback on June 18, 2008 at 8:15 pm

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