Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Monday 20th June

And a sunny start, hooray! Factor 60 on before opening the curtains (this is not excessive, I have still been getting burnt!). As all the paddlers who arrived at the weekend were taking it easy, except for the army guys who have to do white water rescue their first day, there was no-one for fran to paddle with. I decided that I'd go and paddle the Gyronde on my own, as it's not too hard and I'm getting back into this paddling thingy a bit. Getting in just below the grade 6 (really hard bit) was a bit intimidating, but after a prayer I felt at real peace and had a fantastic paddle in the sunshine, down beautiful technical Alpine water! That's something I could do every day! I find paddling on my own a completely different experience to paddling with a group. I'm much more aware of my situation, more aware of the danger and somehow able to concentrate my paddling that bit more, which is probably a good thing! I stayed at the top for a while, spending some time with God. This book about martians and venusians has given me lots to think about so I sat having a talk to God. When I got back to the campsite fran had just got down too, perfect timing! Stuck some washing out, then we went along to the Embrun wave. I felt a lot stronger and fitter after the last weeks paddling and generally exercising. The wave was slightly better than last week, but there were about 20 other paddlers there, so I had to do quite a bit of queuing, which I found a bit frustrating. Having to queue for several minutes, then getting a go which was inevitably brief, and having to queue again. Anyhow I reminded myself that there weren't many things I'd rather be doing, and at least I was geting a bit fitter again. I don't yet find playing quite as peaceful as just paddling white water, I think there is just too much else going on. Feelings of wanting to do better, and compete, along with frustration when it doesn't work make it a bit difficult for me to just enjoy it for what it is at the moment. I'm working on it though, with help. Yet again by the time we got back to the campsite it was half nine before we were eating dinner. Time really does disappear out here.

Sunday 19th June

As I sit in the van typing fran is padding out his boat and hoping for a play on the wave in Embrun later, so we�re praying that the sun manages to prevail. It�s kind of sunny, but with clouds and a reasonable degree of chill going on. Before that we�re hoping that the cable car has opened so fran can go downhill mountain biking and I can go off to the meadows. The teleph�rique has just opened this weekend and for �6 you can go up as many times as you want with a bike and then come back down the downhill tracks. The wild flowers here are so beautiful and unique compared to the flowers we put in our gardens, I want to take pictures of them and draw them. It is basically working out to be another easy day, but I�m still tired from all the exercise we did thursday and friday so it�s fine by me.
The campsite dwellers are on change over this weekend as one group goes home some more will arrive tonight or tomorrow. So far a forces group has arrived with tom and caroline � two of fran�s friends from Sheffield uni canoe club.

Saturday 18th June

And we finally made it to a cybercafe to connect and get online! After 2 relatively strenuous days for me we decided to take it easy. This plan involved sunshine. It rained. So we ended up in Briancon in the cold and wet before coming back to the campsite. Some modifications were made to the van � poppers on the curtains to keep them together when drawn at night. Seeing as our bed is at window level, this seems like an excellent plan. We also decided some outdoor furniture was a good plan. After assessing everybody else on the campsite we went for a couple of chairs with table (yet to find one that could withstand more than a mouse eating off it) and a tarp strung from the trees to create shade and also washing line space. Then we can live outside the van too. There wasn�t much satisfaction in achieving this on a wet cold day when you have to stay inside, but nevermind � the sun will come!


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