2015 Review

2015 has been a very busy and exciting year for all of us. It has also been a year of change as we look forward to the future too…

in January Liz went with her sister, Bridget and her boys for another week of skiing. This year they were joined by Liz’s paddling partner Vicky. Liz and Vicky are training for the Devizes to Westminster (DW) (again!) and despite the maximum course elevation of about 200ft they claim the ‘altitude training’ will do them good. They are also joined for a few days by fellow BCCC paddlers Brian and Anne.

Review_2015-2A visit to St James’ Palace for Sarah and the proud parents to receive her Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold award follows on a chilly but sunny day in February.

Sarah visits the Lake District for a Geography field trip in the Easter holidays and is home barely long enough to do her washing before jetting off to China to represent the University of Nottingham at an international student conference. Students from the other Nottingham campuses in Malaysia and China are there. The theme was ‘globalisation’ but there was plenty of parties too. Apparently, attracting foreign young people to your night club increases its prestige – so lots of free drinks…

Review_2015-3Liz and Vicky were the last boat to leave Devizes on Easter Saturday, aiming for the second tide at Westminster the following day. It was a quiet night paddle, but being joined by the 4 day event paddlers at Marlow on Easter Sunday made for a hectic support day. There was time for a short rest at Teddington before tackling the Tideway which was quite lumpy in places. They were the fastest ladies canoe pair to finish.

Also in April was a trip to Crewkerne in Somerset to celebrate Liz’s parents golden wedding anniversary. Sarah went dress shopping with Liz to buy a new outfit before hand. It got used again in May at the DW prize giving.

Guide camp this year was at Mytchett. There was a Harry Potter theme, including a trip to Harry Potter world and Liz taught the Guides to canoe on the Enchanted Lake (also known as the Basingstoke Canal).

We had Eliot, a French exchange student to stay for a week in June. Matthew’s idea of introducing him to English culture was watching Monty Python with French subtitles.

We also had a new kitchen – see the before and after photos in the photo gallery . There were delays getting the oven and microwave, followed by problems with the smart flat screen technology which doesn’t cope well with Liz’s small fingers. Even with Christmas approaching we are still sorting it out.

Adrian went to Dubai on a brief visit in July in what turned out to be his last overseas business trip with HSBC.

Liz is promoted to Division 5 for K1 marathon racing – all the canoe training over the winter has improved her Kayak speed too.

Review_2015-4Our big (very big) family holiday this year is to Florida. Sarah got a ‘Study Abroad’ placement there and the whole family decided they wanted to take her to University! We explore Miami, the Florida Keys and hold alligators in the Everglades. Travelling up the Gulf coast we enjoy spectacular sunsets. Back across to the Atlantic coast and we visited the Kennedy Space Centre and meet an astronaut. Liz, Matthew and Sarah go canoeing on the Hillsborough river and see wild alligators. We tick off the animals we have not seen in the wild (crocodiles, manatees and brown bears) at Tampa Zoo. Peter is not so impressed “We have zoos at home” but does enjoy the Tampa Sciena Museum despite having science museums at home.

It is strange leaving Sarah behind to travel back to Heathrow. She has been in regular contact via Skype, WhatsApp and Facebook. She is currently travelling around the USA and won’t be home for Christmas.

On our return to the UK Adrian is made redundant choosing to leave HSBC after 34 years following a restructure. Since then he has been taking a well earned extended break before considering a new chapter in 2016. Time has been taken to enjoy walking again and improving archery skills.

September and we go to watch the ICF Canoe Slalom World championships at Lee Valley. Paddlers who had volunteered more than 150 hours got free tickets!

October half term and Bridget visits with the boys and we visit the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Chris like the guns on the M33, Alex is more impressed by the quantity of cannons on HMS Victory whilst Adrian likes the longbows from the Mary Rose.

Review_2015-1Matthew finished at Scouts in December (he is moving to Explorers) and proud parents again go to see him presented with his Chief Scouts Gold Award on his last evening. There is a formal presentation of his certificate in the New Year.

Plans for Christmas and the New Year are all in place visiting Crewkerne and relaxing with family and friends at home.