I cannot lie: I am rubbish at sports. Football, rugby, cricket, tennis, judo, badminton, hockey: I’ve tried them all – and failed at them all. Now I can add canoeing to the list.
A year ago today, I canoed down the Dordogne. Or more accurately, I was in a canoe that went down the Dordogne.
My partner, Damon, and I had a paddle each – and therein lay the problem. With different strengths, we merely succeeded in zigzagging from one side of the river to the other – or, at points, in turning full circle.
Surrounded by steep hills and with a gentle current, the stretch of the river between La Roque-Gageac and Beynac-et-Cazenac is popular with tourists. That means, of course, that there were plenty of witnesses to our shame. Everybody else seemed to be faring much better than we were.
Our friends Jenny and Christine found our lack of co-ordination hilarious.
Where Damon and I did much better was when we stopped for a picnic lunch on the banks of the river: we opened the bottle of wine like seasoned professionals. It was a rather nice Bergerac sec, I recall.
The other thing I remember well is the date. That’s because it was Damon’s birthday. We are spending his special day with Jenny and Christine again this year – and although we will again be enjoying lunch by the river, we’ve decided to give the canoeing a miss this time around.