I spent yesterday in the River Wandle. It was the launch of the Living Wandle, a project involving various wildlife and heritage organisations to continue the green and pleasant growth of the Wandle Valley, stretching from Sutton to Wandsworth.
We were blessed with the weather and with the venue – the lovely Morden Hall Park, courtesy of the National Trust. The turnout was better than Vicki, the organiser-in-chief, had imagined, and was shown by the fact that none of us had time for lunch! I didn’t even have time for a wee.
I was supposed to be in charge of making and racing paper boats. But I got sidetracked by another boat entirely – Naxos II, my coracle. I must have floated upwards of 50 children in that bobby boat. This was unforeseen and quite accidental; I really brought her along for show, as I knew that the river was too shallow to float me in the boat. But a boy called Michael asked to have a go in her. And then his sister did. And then their friend did. Thank goodness Sam was there to do paper boats.
I did get a couple of breaks, which I spent chasing rubber ducks. The last ‘duckathon’ coincided with a press shoot of everyone, including a little girl in the coracle, whom I had to abandon to retrieve too many ducks. She was a bit perplexed and over-awed, and I hope I’ve not traumatised her. She’ll probably never step in a boat again (she did jolly well, though – stayed upright all the time.) Thank you to the two lovely boys who helped catch ducks – whoever you are.
It was good.