Tag Archives: goals

BB8… Welcome To Our World!

This week, we celebrated our daughter’s 10th Birthday.

Happy Birthday Miss!

So far the celebrations have been fairly low key as she’s just started at a new school and we’re still getting organised.

DSC_9710.JPG

However, we did manage to get her BB8, the cute little droid from Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens. He’s a fantastic toy, which you control via the touch screen on your iPad. As he glides along the floor, he babbles away in electronic gibberish, similar to R2D2. Not only that. He even writes you text messages:

“Aggressive life forms detected”…This was the dogs.

“Debris detected”. This was the waste paper bin.

“Unidentified humanoid life forms detected”…us.

“Distress signal detected”…BB8’s head had fallen off.

So, just like we welcomed Miss into the world ten years ago, this week she welcomed BB8 into her world.

I don’t know what it is about him but he’s absolutely irresistible…even to a serious technophobe like me, who still goes into daily battle with the TV remote!

Perhaps, it’s because he’s fun…loads of fun. Fun is good.

But is being “fun” enough? Don’t you need to have some sort of purpose, goals, function, destination and ideally all of the above?

I would like to think so but maybe I’ve over-rated their importance. Perhaps, I should thrown away my Clark Kent glasses, roll aimlessly across the floor while chirping incomprehensible nothings and when my sweet little head falls off, just wait for someone else to put me back together again?

Be fun-tabulous!

I don’t know.

After all, is that really how to win friends and influence people?

I didn’t think so.

However, when you compare my popularity with that of BB8, you know who’s winning and it certainly isn’t Madame Smartypants! Oh no! Not at all!

So what makes BB8 so irresistible and please don’t just tell me it’s all just marketing hype. I haven’t been anywhere near any of that !@#$ and I’ve fallen head over heels in love with the little guy.

There has to be more to it. Something deep and subliminal and also a bit sneaky so you can’t quite work it out. It’s definitely not a conscious thing. At least, not for me.

Of course, I could go and research how his carefully chosen features somehow trigger some sort of psychological response. He is small, vulnerable and his electronic mutterings do sound quite a lot like a chirping baby bird. All of this might trigger some innate urge to protect him…especially if you, like us,  have pets in the house who could well decide that he’s their kind of toy. After all, if you were a Border Collie obsessed with chasing tennis balls, wouldn’t a robotic ball just be your idea of heaven?

Exactly!

So, BB8 was very astute to flag the dogs as: “Aggressive life forms detected”.

DSC_9693.JPG

Bilbo & BB8: “This is NOT a tennis ball!”

Meanwhile, my parents rang up to wish Miss a Happy Birthday. While I chatted with Dad afterwards, he mentioned how amazing it was that a kid could get a robot for their birthday. Then he added, almost apologetically, that when he was ten, we didn’t even have TV in Australia. With that comment, Dad suddenly aged and then I also remembered how the ice man used to get round in a horse and cart when he was a boy. That’s right. There weren’t electric refrigerators in Australia then either. As for computers, the closest thing could well have been the slide rule.

DSC_9713

Miss on the phone to my parents.

I don’t remember a lot about what I received for my 10th birthday but my grandfather gave me an electric blanket for my 9th birthday. These were pretty new back in the 70s. Papa arrived at my party looking so chuffed with this huge box tucked under his arm looking like Santa (he wasn’t exactly slim!) I still remember my incredible excitement! My other grandparents used to send me $5.00 notes through the mail. $5.00 actually bought you something then!

All this reflecting wasn’t doing us any good. Although Miss was the one who’d turned a year older, it was actually my father and I who had suddenly aged, as we were brutally reminded that we’re not children anymore!

Indeed, it was far worse than that!

Somehow, we’d both become living dinosaurs…wonders to modern science.

I have no idea how this came about but it was definitely a good time for my head to fall off so I could bury it in the sand.

Another birthday? I really just don’t want to know!

How about you? Do you have any special birthday stories? Funny presents? Then and now stories? I’d love to hear them!

xx Rowena

The Reading Pile

 

Smashing through my roof,

soaring through the clouds,

zooming through space

at the speed of light;

my reading pile grows exponentially.

Balancing precariously beside by bed,

a tower of teetering, twisted titles

fuelled by my nocturnal dreams,

it’s a marvel of modern engineering.

 

 

The weight of ambition

far too great,

Rome falls.

Pictures,

words,

rhythms,

rhymes,

cascade all over the floor.

Spilt milk

from the writers’ glass,

neither half-empty

nor half-full,

but always overflowing.

Words to spare.

 

 

Trapped in a pressure cooker

somewhere in between

my nightmares and my dreams,

an alarm clock and a ringing phone;

my reading pile grows

continuously…

higher and higher

like marauding weeds.

A mighty monument

dedicated to Summers past

when I had time.

Now,

I’m still waiting for the holidays,

which seemingly never come

AND…

I am no longer my own.

 

 

Yet, I haven’t forgotten

how to dream.

Book by book.

Rome rebuilds

after the fall.

Because my love

has never died.

So,

like an indefatigable knight,

I will charge on!

 

 

Rowena Newton 3rd January, 2016.

 

This poem needs no explanation, except to say that it’s very exceptional for me to share a poem straight away with anyone aside from my usual reader-in-residence, the long-suffering Geoff.

However, writing is communication and wasn’t intended to be something locked away but to be shared…especially with those who share your folly.

I’m sure many of you also have book towers built up beside your bed. which were, of course, constructed with the best of intentions.

I have so many unread books and yet, I keep buying more and blogging is only making it worse. I have ordered one book online over the Summer  break and am about to head off to the local bookshop for another. They are:

Dr Wayne Dyer: What Do You Really Want for Your Children?

Ted Hughes: Grief is the Thing with Feathers.

I seem to remember posting not so long ago about bad habits: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L80XYgxjIw8

Meanwhile, as I add to the pile, I am also intending to subtract. If I lived to be a thousand, I still don’t think I could get through all the books I haven’t read in this house.

And yet, I will not give up trying!

Happy reading!

xx Rowena

 

Goodbye 2015 Weekend Coffee Share

Welcome to the Goodbye 2015 Edition of the Weekend Coffee Share.

We hope you and yours had a Merry Christmas. You can read about our Christmas here as well as about the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race which set sail on Boxing Day: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/12/26/an-aussie-boxing-day/

I’ll also mention that during the last week Beyond the Flow hit 30,000 views and kept going. I am pretty stoked with this as I’ve reached about 20,000 view this year and the blog is really starting to make steady progress.

All up, 2015 has been a pretty good year for our family. Of course, there were the usual ups and downs but we’re all good.

However, unfortunately the same can’t be said about the wider world. While there is so much beauty in our natural world, the human element is questionable at best.

What are we doing to each other?

Even though we might not like the answers to this eternal question, we need to keep asking, we need to keep striving for peace on Earth and equality and freedom for all peoples as well as respect for all living creatures and the Earth itself.

Earth from space

Our planet needs compassion + action.

Although we’ll no doubt never create heaven on Earth, we still need to keeping trying to make things better. We need to keep searching, keep asking and keep trying to make some kind of difference…not matter how small. Both good and evil build up like Lego bricks and it’s up to us which tower rises and falls.

So, as we head towards another year, I am reminded of these inspirational words:

Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me.
Let there be peace on earth
The peace that was meant to be.
With God as our Father
Brothers all are we.
Let me walk with my brother
In perfect harmony.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_DxNpW1kHQ

While I used to have quite a local focus when it came to social justice, since I’ve been blogging, my backyard has extended, becoming more global. Just because something is happening overseas, I can no longer just switch off and ignore what’s happening. Be unaccountable. Once you become informed, either you respond or you are also guilty of neglect turning your back. Not being the Good Samaritan who stopped and helped and made a difference.

 

Hercules

Hercules holding the world for Atlas.

That said, we can’t be like Atlas carrying the world on our shoulders. We can’t save everyone.

Creation of Adam

Michelangelo: The Creation of Adam c 1512.

So, we are left with that gap. A gap that shouldn’t stop us from trying but which reminds us that as individuals, we can not do it all.

In February 2015, I heard about a global blogging network called 1000 Voices for Compassion and while we are still only a small group, we have stuck together and I do believe that through our monthly posts, that we have made some kind of difference in 2015. You can read more about the group here: http://www.1000voicesspeak.org/

Through this group, I have really been able to spread my wings and be part of something truly inspirational.

So, as we head into the New Year, I pray that our world will be a safe place full of opportunity for all. That we humans can overcome so many of the differences which divide us and come to appreciate our commonalities more.

Lastly, if we were having coffee I’d wish you a Happy New Year and ask whether you’ve set any New Year’s resolutions? I am still working on mine and I am taking the whole process quite seriously and I’ll get back to you next week on what I’ve put together.

In the meantime, I’m going to tackle the pile of photo frames stacked up around the house and finally get them up. We’ve only been in the house 15 years! On that note, I’m heading off real quick before I really start to freak out at a rather lengthy “Should Have Done List”.

This has been part of the Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Part Time Monster and please check us out at the linky http://www.inlinkz.com/new/view.php?id=593302

Love and best wishes,

Rowena

PS Update on the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race: Wild Oats XI retired with broken mainsail last night. In the greatest resurrection since Lazarus, Comanche just resumed the lead after announcing last night that it had retired with a broken rudder. The two leaders are halfway across Bass Strait.

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday…A Procrastinator’s Paradise!

If Monday is a day of miraculous change, then Sunday must be the last hurrah…a day of pure, evil self-indulgence and utter procrastination. After all, even if our bad habits have swallowed us up like quick sand, somehow come Monday morning we are supposed to be a new creation, cleansed from all our previous sins…a clean slate. Out with the old and in with the new, even our very DNA changes as fat comes thin, lazy becomes industrious and that book project is miraculously finished.

At least, it will be!

Of course, it all starts off with a bang Monday morning and we’re off and running.

So, with Sunday being our last day of freedom, does that give us some kind of all-day indulgence pass allowing us to have that final, last big fling? To blob out, eat as much chocolate as we can possibly stuff in our gob, carpe vice or simply bask in some procrastinator’s paradise?

This is my idea of a perfect Sunday!

This is my idea of a perfect Sunday!

Humph, I’d like to think so but I’m not so sure. Something tells me that if I want tomorrow to go off without a hitch, at least some of the hard work, needs to begin today…especially cleaning up my desk.

However, being Sunday, I’ll turn procrastination into an art form.

That means writing about tomorrow. In other words, Monday.

Mondays are weird. While Sundays are ripe with opportunity and our best intentions including the planning and detailed required to pull our best intentions off (i.e time tables, schedules, lists etc etc etc!!!) Monday becomes something of a “catastrophe”!

Instead of being fueled by Sunday’s zealous enthusiasm, when my alarm goes off Monday morning, I have something akin to a killer hangover. Completely immobile, I keep pressing the snooze button, praying that the kids have dressed and fed themselves and won’t put up a fight. Who am I kidding? Hearing the usual screams, I stagger out into the kitchen feeling like the Grim Reaper possessed me during the night and all that’s left is a ghostly shell.

Every cell in my body aches and I don’t know whether hangover cures work for Mondayitis but anything is worth a shot. Having just enough strength to power up the blender, I throw in the mandatory raw eggs, steak and spinach and even a few nails for added strength and while that’s whirling around I down a glass of Berocca. I’m hoping all that “B-B bounce” will somehow catapult us out the door.

No such luck! The kids aren’t moving. The boot up the backside, cattle prod and even putting Minecraft into time out for eternity aren’t working. Desperate times mean desperate meaures, so I threaten to drop them at the Juvenile Justice Centre just up the hill. Juvenile Justice is not very far from the local pound either. So, if the dog keeps barking at 5.30AM (thank you very much, Lady!), I can drop her off on the way.

Peace and quiet but, of course, I jest!

My goodness! I’m sure all of this strife wasn’t part of the new script?

After all, isn’t this a repeat from last week’s episode?

This Monday was supposed to be different!

“Cut! Didn’t you read the script?”

We definitely need to cut and find a new script every single Monday morning.

We definitely need to cut and find a new script every single Monday morning.

Apparently not!

You see, the trouble is that even though this particular Monday morning might be new, the cast of characters and the set are still the same. This being the case, why would I, or indeed any of us, expect this Monday to be any different from any other Monday and have things miraculously work like clockwork?

“It’s just Another Manic Monday”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAZgLcK5LzI

A detour on the way to school on my birthday a few weeks ago.

A detour on the way to school on my birthday a few weeks ago.

Unfortunately, real life isn’t a motivational book turned real just in the same way that fairy tales are exactly that…fairy tales. We know fairies are pure fantasy, imagination and wishful thinking. We’d never expect them to come to life. Yet, for some reason we expect the kids to empty the dishwasher unprompted, the chocoholic to become sugar-free, the Minecraft addict to read a book and the house to clean itself just because it’s Monday morning.

Hello!!

Welcome to the real world!

The instant fix just isn’t going to happen.

There is no magic wand. Just persistence, being consistent, putting in the hard yards while having the faith that you can get there.

It apparently takes 6 weeks to break or forge a habit.

That might not be very long if you’re the sort of person who thrives on routine and methodical order but being creative, impulsive and haphazard, six weeks is an eternity.

This means that for any of this to change, I’ll need to be extremely determined.

Not only that.

I’ll need to draw up something of a road map of how I’m going to get there and stick to it. No detours!

So, starting from tomorrow, I will be setting myself a daily schedule. Living by the clock, the “panster” is going to have to become a “planner” or I am never going to get my books written. Finished. Something I know could really work will never happen and while the blog is going well, I’ll just end up being a “wanna be”.

Writing in my journal at Perisher in 2012 while the rest of the family was skiing.

Writing in my journal at Perisher in 2012 while the rest of the family was skiing.

I have never been a wanna be. I’ve mostly gone and done it but I’ve taken too many blows over the last couple of years. I needed a breather. I need to rethink the direction of the book after life events radically changed the plot and sabotaged the entire philosophical thread.

But…

That was a year ago. I’ve had time to rethink. Re-evaluate and create a different, probably more authentic and realistic way of looking at how we handle life’s setbacks. That it isn’t always just onward and upward. That indeed, just when we taste success, the whole mountain can come crumbling down and we’re seemingly back at the start again, buried in a snow and rubble but we still need to pick ourselves up and start over and that is my specialty.

Now, it’s time to become my own coach and motivator. Encourage myself to keep going in the same way that I encourage others and tell them that they “can do it”. That I am good enough.

Also, that I can somehow juggle all the stuff with the family, house etc and get this book done. That there will always be pressing priorities but they can be juggled and pushed aside to pursue what I know is my personal quest. I need to get that book out the door and I need to do it now

    .

    I need to do that or I know that I am but a bonsai of who I was always meant to be. That this isn’t about dreams or visions but who I am almost as a physical being. Not only writing but being read and getting my journey into a published format is as much a part of each and every cell in my body as my DNA and yet, I freeze.

    Paralysis through analysis?

    If I just start writing, or indeed, gather up all the writing I’ve already done and compile it, will it all suddenly come together and somehow knit together like a scarf? Become something of a tapestry?

    I have to believe that it will.

    That I can do this.

    I know this isn’t going to be easy but I’m NOT going to analyze things anymore. That would only cause further procrastination.

    I need to become who and what I was always intended to be.

    Not only a writer but also an author.

    A person with that cherished book in their hand with their name on the front page on the cover and and the spine.

    No longer a “gunna do” but a “Done it”.

    For this reason, tomorrow can’t wait.

    Tomorrow begins today…even if it is a Sunday!

    How do you manage procrastination and crippling self-doubt on the writing front? What has got you through?

    xx Rowena

    PS: I let Bilbo have the last word…”I am NOT procrastinating!”

    Bilbo with his ball. Actually, that's another dog's ball. Humph! Just call him obsessed!

    Bilbo with his ball. Actually, that’s another dog’s ball. Humph! Just call him obsessed!

19,963 Views…The Countdown to 20,000 Is On!!

No doubt, we have all experienced that sense as bloggers, that we are only talking to ourselves and that no one is reading our stuff at all.
Well, late last year, I finally clocked up 10,000 views on Beyond the Flow and the possibility of reaching 20,000 views felt like a pipe dream.

However, in the last 6 months, I have managed to build up those 10,000 views which had taken me two years to build up before. That is such a wonderful feeling…a real breakthrough. Sure, it’s not shooting a rocket into space or being the first woman to walk upon the moon but for me it’s a blast. Indeed, I’m so excited that I wanted to share this final countdown with you. You who aren’t just “my readers” because this place is more of a community and a sharing of words and ideas…a pond.

So, I wanted you to be thinking of me as the countdown continues and I’m thinking today could indeed be the day.

I can’t wait. Hang on. There’s a champagne cork heading your way!

xx Rowena

The Beginning: Five Photos Five Stories

My journey of a million photos began with a humble Kodak Instamatic camera.

Before Dr Phil redefined all of life’s great milestones as “defining moments”, my mother escorted me and my box full of coins into the local photography shop to buy my very first camera.

A far cry from my current Nikon SLR, my pride and joy was a Kodak Instamatic 56X. These were manufactured from 1972-1977 . It was Simple Simon to operate and all I had to do was press the silver button on top and manually wind the film on. That’s right speaking of film, it used a 126 film cartridge you shoved up its backside. Oh yes! The flash was a disposable plug-in flash cube so it was something reserved for special occasions.

“To photograph truthfully and effectively is to see beneath the surfaces and record the qualities of nature and humanity which live or are latent in all things.”

Ansel Adams

Of course, any thought of being able to see your photos in the back of your camera before you paid to have them printed weren’t even considered. Rather, the cartridge was dropped off at the local pharmacy where it was sent off to Kodak for processing while you waited…at least overnight.. I still remember tearing open those packets of precious snaps with such excitement and love.

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.

Henry David Thoreau

Although my precious photos might have been blurry and I’d inadvertantly chopped off subjects’ heads, stuck fingers over the lens and ended up with way to many photos of Baby Alive, the dog and my brother who was fond of showing off, they were still precious…my photos!

“Photography helps people to see.”

Berenice Abbot

While I’m no Ansell Adams, photography is a passion and so often my way of viewing and capturing both the world around me and the poetry within.

I was nominated by Geoff Le Pard fromTanGental for the Five Photos Five Stories blog Share: http://geofflepard.com/2015/06/10/five-photos-five-stories-day-two/

I was nominated to take part in this photo challenge by Ali Issac, who takes the most beautiful images and always has a story to tell about them. I would like to nominate Rowena at BeyondtheFlow, to take up this photo challenge baton.

The rules of the Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge are:

1) Post a photo each day for five consecutive days.
2) Attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or a short paragraph. It’s entirely up to the individual.
3) Nominate another blogger to carry on the challenge. Your nominee is free to accept or decline the invitation. This is fun, not a command performance!

I have decided to nominate Kath Unsworth from Miniscule Moments whose illustrations and photos are breathtaking and really worth a look: http://kathunsworth.com/

Do you have any special photographic beginnings you would like to share?

xx Rowena

Mutiny on the Kayak

There is something so gloriously serene about kayaking across a beautiful diamond carpet of almost still water on a glorious, Spring morning. You’re almost inhaling all those positive ions and good vibes and feeling absolutely on top of the world. It’s just you and the sea and you’re floating along so effortlessly, almost levitating on a magnificent sea of calm absorbing all that superlative beauty.

However…

Add two reluctant kids to the mix, not unsurprisingly, the experience can quickly turn on its head. Instead of everybody moving in sync, we ended up with Mutiny on the Yellow kayak…especially when two dogs decide to do a bit of kayak bombing!

Here's Bilbo our Border Collie swimming out towards our kayak. This was a huge step forward for scaredy-dog although not such a good move for Mister in the pink single kayak.

Here’s Bilbo our Border Collie swimming out towards our kayak. This was a huge step forward for scaredy-dog although not such a good move for Mister in the pink single kayak.

Welcome to my nightmare. Trying to set off on a simple kayaking expedition with my kids in Careel Bay, just off Palm Beach in Sydney. To put you in the picture, this is right near where they film the Australian drama series Home & Away except we’re on the Pittwater side which is just perfect for all sorts of water sports (other than surfing, of course).

I don’t know what it is with my kids. Why they don’t jump at the chance to get out there onto the water and carpe diem seize the day? Why do they prefer virtual living to the real thing? By virtual living, I’m of course, referring to playing x-box and Minecraft and all those electronic gadgets too much. At least, I’m blaming the gadgets.

When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to go to the beach. Get into the sand. Go outside. The only time we ever stayed inside was when it was pelting down with rain and my parents practically had to bolt down the doors to keep us in. There was also the odd bout of sunburn which put us out of action as well. Instead of the parents hassling the kids to get out, it was the other way round. “Come on, Mum! Dad!” I remember a particular beach holiday when my Dad locked himself up with a very, very large doorstop of a novel called Shogun and that was the end of him for the holiday although he might have taken us fishing. We were trying to drag Dad out into the water. It certainly wasn’t the other way round.

Times have changed. Now, it’s me the parent doing the dragging or should I say still doing the dragging. Doesn’t anybody else want to get out there? My husband certainly does. He might not be the original Solo Man but he has kayaked down the Tasmanian rapids which Grant Kenny traversed in the commercial. My husband had a real thirst for adrenalin and loved pushing himself hard before he was consumed by the rat race.

Miss and I in the kayak with Lady.

Miss and I in the kayak with Lady.

Although my kids are in the sea scouts and seem to be happy enough out on the water there, for some reason our daughter is often terrified of going kayaking with me and today is no exception. She brought up almost each and every fear known to man and although there was a bit of wind out there she wasn’t going to drown in knee-deep tidal water especially when she was wearing a life-jacket. She wasn’t going to get killed by stingrays either, which seem to scare her more than sharks but then again there is what happened to Steve Irwin. That certainly added stingrays to the Deadly 60. Last but certainly not least on her list despite their size, was the vast army of soldier crabs which were hiding in their crab holes underwater. They were all about to come out to get her. With all these worries being brought up while she begged me to turn back, it was like she had swallowed the DSM manual. You know the great book the psychological professionals use to classify and define all your weird and wonderful idiosyncrasies. She was absolutely gripped with fear and all teary but her wretched mother kept going because if you keep avoiding fear, you never develop the neuropathways to overcome it.

I know I’m hardly Robinson Crusoe with my lifelong phobia of false teeth and the incredible fear of dogs which I had growing up but other people’s unrealistic fears always look much more surmountable than your own.

Anyway, as you can appreciate, Miss really, really didn’t want to go kayaking.

While Miss and I were in the yellow double kayak, Mister was on his own in the single kayak. These kayaks had been left behind by the previous owners. They’re certainly not the latest and greatest craft and do have a certain bathtub look about them but we love them and they have taken us on some fabulous adventures. We’ve explored the mangroves. We’ve also paddled back and forth across the bay trying to catch glimpses of the great giant flathead and the amazing flying mullet. Of course, their mythical proportions rival the likes of Nessy[1] but you know how kids can turn hyperbole into fact. Mister’s been out there very determined with his net but the giants of the deep have eluded him and retained their precious secrets. I have also been on a number of very serene solo expeditions and it’s so relaxing just to float on the water and drift. Simply drift.

So Miss and I are paddling along. There’s a strong headwind and so we’re not moving very quickly and I’m talking her through her fears and encouraging her when I notice Lady, one of our dogs, has just launched off the boat ramp and is paddling out to join us. We’ve only had Lady two weeks and we’re still getting to know her. She’s two years old and she comes from a farm and is quite a bundle of surprises. Yesterday, she leaped up off the beach and successfully landed on top of a 3 metre high retaining wall. She really does make anything look possible and is quite a gutsy, spirited dog.

While you could wonder about the logistics of having a dog in a kayak, I thought Lady would be okay. I haven’t weighed her but she’d probably weigh something like 10-20 kilos. I certainly have no trouble lifting her up. Consequently, when she decided to “kayak bomb” us, I didn’t really hesitate to pick her up and help her into the kayak. Geoff and I have been sailing on the little Laser with Bilbo onboard before so I though Lady would be fine and she was. She sat on the front of the kayak in front of me as I awkwardly paddled around her.

Mister kayaking along with all 40+ kilos of Bilbo our Border Collie...the calm before the splash.

Mister kayaking along with all 40+ kilos of Bilbo our Border Collie…the calm before the splash.

Meanwhile, when Bilbo saw Lady kayaking with us, he somehow overcame his huge fear of even getting his paws wet and launched himself into the water. I saw him wading out with all his fur billowing out. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen him swim before except for the time he fell in the swimming pool chasing his tennis ball. Even for a Border Collie, Bilbo is a big dog and dry he weighs around 40 kilos so with his very thick woolly coat soaking up all that sea water, he was getting very heavy indeed. Well, he ended up on the single kayak with Mister who also weighs around 40 kilos. Mister is quite good on the kayak but not unsurprisingly Bilbo managed to capsize them and dog and boy were in the water. Bilbo managed to scratch Mister on the way out and apparently also tried to grab hold of him. It was only shallow water where at least we could all stand up so there was no risk of anyone drowning but there was certainly plenty of pandemonium.

I decided that this was also a good time to get Lady back on terra firma. The novelty of trying to paddle around the dog was wearing off, especially given my daughter’s catalogue of fears and I didn’t even want to consider how she’d react if Lady capsized our kayak. Needless to say, Geoff put the dogs back behind the fence before he headed out for a paddle.

As much as I enjoy a relaxing, solo paddle soaking up all that serenity, there was definitely a certain “je ne sais quoi” with this mad scramble of kids, paws, paddles and of course avoiding the huge ginormous Giant Stingray which is out there somewhere lurking in the very shallow depths.

It’s crazy experiences like these that become the great family legends. I can already hear everyone gathered around the family table laughing about the time Bilbo jumped in the kayak with Mister and they capsized and everyone roars laughing.

So much for peace and tranquility but as Helen Keller said: “Life is either a daring adventure or it’s nothing.”

I’d love to hear of any of your family adventures, especially family holiday antics!

Xx Rowena

PS Kids still aren’t seeing the funny side of things yet. Miss just told me: How would you like it if you capsized and the dog scratched you with its claws? Mister was also fairly gloomy about the experience as well. It seems there is a fine line between humour and trauma that we still need to work on. After all, your disasters always make the best stories.

[1] The Loch Ness Monster.