June Write Ups
WROXHAM WEEKEND - Sue Smart
The preceding week's weather was so awful I did wonder if this trip was a bit insane. However in true 50+ style the sun came out for us. Saturday started off a bit cool but dry. The group met up at Wroxham. From there we advanced to The Bure Steam Railway where we caught the little train to Buxton. We had a lovely walk back to the station through trees and fields, looking at the wild flowers etc. Having worked up a thirst we grouped at The Green Man for a drink & chat and decided to return for our evening meal. This turned out to be a very good decision as the food and service were excellent and the restaurant full of interesting musical instruments and other items. Sunday morning brought blue skies and a drop in the wind. So much so that some braved shorts! After meeting up we were quickly issued with buoyancy aids and a paddle and taken off in a mini bus to the start of our adventure on the River Ant. Our guide Rachael was informative and fun and obviously loved her job. We set off in two's and three's in a quiet narrow stretch hoping to see some otters but I think they heard us coming! However a snake was spotted swimming in the river and we also saw grebes, heron geese & swans with cygnets. At one point we went under a very low bridge and had to almost bend double to get under it and it was here that we capsized our canoe! With Rachael’s help we sorted ourselves out and set off once more. We had a bar stop and ate our picnic in the sunshine and dried out a bit. The river got wider and busier with lots of big boats. As we got to the broad it became windier and harder to navigate and we were glad to paddle back to our finish point. The sun shone all day and we were happily tired at the end A great weekend, well organised. Thank you Jenny
CYCLE RIDE - Lyn Lewis-Nichol
A "G"_ in comic sans (lol) looks remarkably like a "6" to the unfocussed eye. That's my excuse, anyway, for ending up somewhere east of Bedford rather than in the Milton Keynes car park designated for the start of the cycle ride and the reason why I missed the first few miles of the ride, as well as incurring the penalty of doing this write up. Anyone who thinks that Milton Keynes is merely a confusion of dual carriageways and roundabouts should have come on this bike ride. We cycled down leafy lanes edged by dog roses and elder blossom, visited a medieval manor house, the remains of a Roman villa and an early 19th century limestone windmill, lunched in a secret garden, then followed the Grand Union canal, with its painted barges, to an antique shop where we sipped tea from china cups. The ride was expertly guided by Ann's daughter, Jennie, who, as a town planner with the Milton Keynes Corporation for several years, was able to provide an informed commentary on all we passed, including the fact that no Milton Keynes resident is more than half a mile from an open space! Also accompanying the ride was Dick, Jennie's father in law, who stepped into the role of a Kwik-Fit fitter to save Hilary's day Many thanks to Ann for organising a very pleasant and enlightening event.
LLAMA TREKING - Julia Thorley
Even before I joined 50+, I had written "go llama trekking" on my list of things to do, so I'm grateful to the club - and organiser Carol Pullen, in particular - for giving me the chance to have a go. I had envisaged a gentle stroll through the south Northants countryside with a beautiful, docile animal at my side, in keeping with the publicity leaflet's promise of "the perfect way to de-stress". Well, it was a lovely morning, but thanks to the knee-high standing water, wet grass up to my shoulders, tenacious mud and borrowed wellies a size too big, it was actually quite challenging. Llamas are incredible, ridiculous creatures. Perfectly adapted for life at high altitude - you can read more at Catanger Farm's website, www.llamatrekking.co.uk - they have two expressions: startled and bewildered. I'd sum them up as jittery but harmless. They have no top teeth to bite with and their soft-pad feet don't have hooves, so while a kick might take you by surprise it's not going to break your leg. Yes, they spit when they're angry - but who doesn't! The only noise they make is a nervous sounding hum. So after an introductory talk, nine of us set off on a two hour walk under mercifully blue skies with five llamas between us, taking it in turns to lead them, and sometimes to be led by them. Once you've got the hang of it they're pretty easy to steer, but I must confess that at one point I let go of my llama Indigo and he bounced off into a field of rape from which only the tips of his ears protruded. This trip was a fantastic experience and while not as high on adrenaline as some club activities, it definitely had a high "ah" factor.
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