Sunday, 13 January 2013


7am Saturday after a cram-packed week. Cosy under the covers, I was ready to join the grumpisphere. It was still dark. The house was cold. I really really didn’t want to get out of bed, let alone venture out into the frosty pre-dawn. Brain-freeze on the bike-ride to the river. Nearly-frozen water dripping on my face from the boat on its rack. Internally I grumbled and grumped. But my friends were cheery and the sky moving though beautiful twilight hues reminded me of the magical polar skies of Norway. Minute by minute the sun was driving away the night, and then sunrise over Stourbridge Common was utterly lovely. Life was wonderful again. I cursed not bringing a camera.

This morning promised to be colder. Snow was forecast. I wore so many layers I hardly bent in the middle. The light wasn’t so good. The atmosphere was a little dank. Probably didn’t matter that the camera I now had with me had a flat battery.

We cruised by a heron, still as a photo. Then a bundle of fluff and a dabchick did a neat surface dive and disappeared. Two pristine gulls slept, heads under wings on a methanous black beach of river sludge; a pair of mute swans, in perfect synchrony swam forward, turned to their breakfast, paused to dip their necks together and carried on ripping grass from the riverbank. Further down, snowdrops poked through.  Two fishermen, one with an enormous malign-looking pike under his arm, while his other hand was under the beast's chin to control it. 'Look, look!' I said, yet again not concentrating on rowing as I should. The fisherman slipped the fish back into the Cam. The expression on the fisher's face spoke of his pride and he grinned when 4 commented, 'I didn't think anything got that big in this river!' 

Then the organised chaos of tens of boats spinning above Baits Bite Lock for the race back upstream. Coxes comparing notes on how cold they are. Crews waiting. Crews wishing each other 'Good row!' or 'Good luck'. Interested walkers wondering what is happening.

This is what makes it is worth getting out of bed for, the tranquil scenes on the ever-changing river. And the race didn’t go badly either. I’m not ready to join the grumpisphere just yet.

One I prepared earlier - another Winter Head

No comments:

Post a Comment