CANOE UPDATE inc. Curry Sleepover, FAQ's & Revised Schedule, Logistics etc.

In this Issue:
1) Reply to Dave
2) Revised Schedule
3) Vehicle Logistics
4) Tub Update inc. life jacket info
5) Pad's Recce Report
6) FAQ's
7) Map

Yes! in a word. At 8pm on Friday, there will be Keith, John, myself, yourself and hopefully Ian & Richard (but I haven't heard from them yet??

Joining us at the pub, if they haven't already, will be Adrian (coming by tube), Brian (in car), Tom (from Spain), Neil (from Scouts). They can phone my mobile to check where we're at (0*** *******).

As far as I know, we're all currying, and all sleeping-over except Keith (but I haven't heard from Ian & Richard yet).

8pm: Load Canoes at Scout Hut - everyone who can make it
10pm (or before): Rehydrate at pub (probably The Swan)
11pmish: Curry at Ruislip Tandoori
ish: Sleepover in hut

7am: Get up, pack up
7.30am: Brekkers at Wonder Cafe
8.30am: Drive to Maidenhead - drop off 1 car
9.00am: Marlow (Longridge) - drop off 1 car with tents & bags
10am: Henley - start canoeing

3) VEHICLE LOGISTICS: We will be needing 4 cars. One to leave at Maidenhead. One to leave in Marlow with all the tents and overnight bags, (perhaps one of the Zafiras), and two to drive the remaining Fatmen to Henley including towing the trailer (perhaps Neil's).
The Trailer car might just as well drive from the Wonder Cafe straight to the starting point in Henley (as it will be a bit slower than the others). So those traveling with it need to make sure their overnight bags and any tents are inside the car assigned to be left in Marlow.

4) TUB UPDATE: We've now collected 4 extra large 'tubs' from HOAC for those Fatmen of a more portly stature. Brian asked if we could also hire a JUMBO size LIFE JACKET - unfortunately no. We can only use the Scouts, because HOAC don't want to be held responsible if/when we drown. If we drown in Scout life jackets, Neil says its tuff titties (or words to that effect). For extra buoyancy, try filling your Y-fronts with those foamy S things you get in packaging.

Neil also says that we are to take a 'TOWING LINE', just in case one of our paddles breaks - baggsy mine breaks first.

License permit thingies: The lockkeeper at Boulter's Lock says you have to get them on the day. So he said start off at Henley and buy them at the first lock. They cost 4.50 each.
Maidenhead: A good disembarking spot from the Thames will be at the Maidenhead Rowing Club, just down River Road, to the left before the Thames when driving from Taplow. They even have a crane! I am in dialogue with them to see if that will be OK and if we can leave a car in their car park. The fallback, is a landing stage just before Boulters Lock on the right. There is a free public car park over the road.
Henley: The best launch pad belongs to The Leander Club, near the bridge on the East side of the river, though the Royal Regatta might also give us permission, though our trailer will be rubbing shoulders with the British Olympic Rowing Team's trailer. By the way .... we are Scout Leaders on a Training Course! The fallback is a public ramp just off the one way road as you're driving into Henley. But we will then have to leave the trailer and cars in a public car park. I am currently in dialogue with Steve Redgrave and other royalty.
Foamy White Water: I have to report the Thames is an absolute torrent, due no doubt to all the recent rain coursing down from the Chiltern foothills. And for extra thrill-seekers, perhaps Adrian can take us down a few weirs just for the hell of it.
Cookham: Might be a good spot for Sunday lunch. There is an excellent pub called The Crown and over the road an Indian should we be requiring a Sunday buffet tandoori.

6) FAQ's from canoeing Fatmen:
Q: Does it have an engine?
A: Probably not - but its not hard to convert your garden strimmer.
Q: Will I get wet?
A: Probably.
Q: Why is it that the paddles are diametrically transposed 90 degrees to each other?
A: It's one of life's mysteries. We call it 'feathering' and it gives greater air speed to the paddle for the next stroke, supposedly. It also gives much bigger blisters because of all the increased hand-twiddling.
Q: Should I wear Marigolds, and if so, what colour would befit this type of activity?
A: Yes if you don't want nasty drips to go up your sleeves, because Neil says that macho canoeists these days don't have rubber grommet drip collars on their paddles - at least, ours haven't. As for colour, pink is probably in this year.
Q: Do I need a helmet?
A: Not nessecelery, but a silly hat of some description is mandatory.
Q: If gravity helps me squeeze into the cockpit, what helps me get out?
A: That's a tricky one. Sometimes it's the water pressure or the speed of the water when you've just gone over a weir. Or it can be the bladder pressure after a few pints. Other than that make sure the cockpit rim is well greased with lard beforehand. Plus the curry from the previous night might assist.
Q: My canoe won't go in a straight line?
A: I have that problem also. I don't believe its operator error, but more to do with the 'state of art / turn on a sixpence' high performance machines we're piloting. I would have booked an onboard GPS navigation autopilot jobby, but expect I'll have to make do with one of Neil's strap-on devices! Some of the boys poo-poo Neil's strap-on devices, but I'm up for anything at my time of life!
Q: Will the distance we're canoeing seem a long way when we're driving it on Saturday?
A: You're bloomin' right (I've just driven it) but if it's any consolation, it'll seem ten times further when you're paddling!
Q: Day 1 - Henley to Marlow looks further than Marlow to Maidenhead?
A: Correct! Thought you boys would appreciate an even more relaxed Sunday!

7) MAP: I have attached a highly detailed map of the route (not as detailed as Neil's Chesham map of 18 megabytes fame). Print it out and take it with you, in case you get lost!

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