The photo above is a completely random choice, determined by the fact that it was pretty much the only pic I have on my laptop here. My main PC is still in technical meltdown, but I’m boring myself just by mentioning it …
I’ve begun to get some feedback on the book, but as it’s all from people I know so far, I should probably take it with a pinch of salt. However, blogger Cailean has offered a few constructive comments from way up on the top of Scotland.
Regarding actually selling the book … well, my mum has bought a copy …
Sunday dawned cold and windy. Many chose to head out onto the open sea and do heroic things, but the majority joined us for a sheltered paddle on the ria (drowned valley) of the River Dart.
There are a number of these drowned valleys in the South West, being especially common in South Devon. I’ll happily confess to not having paddled a single one before working on the book, but I’ve become a convert. These trips invariably start at old wharves and quays, and take the paddle gradually down towards the sea in an environment which is rather hard to define – a transitional zone that is arguably neither river nor sea.
33 of us launched from the old Baltic Wharf in Totnes. I told the Coastguard it was 33 anyway, but the number changed every time I counted …
Many thanks to the coaches who kindly helped manage and organise the trip.
I have been asked about the music I used during my presentation last Saturday night. I selected ‘local’ artists to accompany (and complement?) a succession of photos of the South West’s coastal scenery …
PJ Harvey lives in West Bay, Dorset. I used her track Perfect Day Elise.
Seth Lakeman lives in Yelverton, Devon. I used his track Kitty Jay.
Tori Amos is American, but lives near Bude, Cornwall. I used her track Winter.
Apologies if this sort of thing doesn’t suit your own personal music tastes; the selection reflects my leaning towards wailing female vocalists with personal ’issues’, and also my wife’s inexplicable liking of brawny young male folk violinists.
Yes, the book is now real and out on sale. Seeing boxes full of South West Sea Kayaking and lots of copies heaped up on shop shelves is an indefinably peculiar experience. The book has existed in my head (and on my computer) for quite some time now, I actually feel quite nervous at the notion of letting go of it and drawing a line under the whole process.
Working on South West Sea Kayaking has been an absolutely positive experience, and I really have enjoyed myself immensely. Whether or not anyone ever actually reads it(!) is honestly immaterial to me, as I am personally satisfied that I have put my best efforts into it, and most importantly, that the end result is the book that I set out to create. Even so, I hope that it brings pleasure to others, and helps them to enjoy the fantastic shores of South West England.
The book has arrived! It was ‘delivered’ this weekend, with the kind help of Mitch and all the staff at AS Watersports in Exeter. In the photo above, Franco (editor) has just snipped a bow and unveiled the finished product.
Paddlers demo-ed boats from various manufacturers out on the quayside.
In the evening we headed to Devon’s southernmost village, East Prawle. The Pig’s Nose pub threw its doors open to us and let us use an adjoining hall for a get-together. What a place! The pub and hall are cluttered with 1001 items of random bric-a-brac, a fantastic place.
However, disaster struck when I tried to set the talk equipment up – it emerged that my computer had picked this precise moment in its extended life to utterly die. I wasn’t much relishing standing infront of c60 people and telling them all that the evening was ‘off’. However my friend Ian and the landlord’s son worked some technical magic and managed to retrieve my presentation off the dying hard-drive to use on a laptop.
Given that I’d spent the previous two hours crying with despair instead of doing any preparation at all, the following talk was doomed to be utterly ad libbed. The audience politely endured my stream of consciousness however, and all still seemed to be there in the hall when I eventually finished.
Palm Equipment generously donated a big box of sea kayaking goodies for a raffle in aid of the RNLI. Ocean Paddler Magazine and Seacornwall.com also added prizes, thanks guys! We raised about £200 for the RNLI.
Today we went for a sheltered paddle on the Dart, of which more later.
Special thanks to Mitch and his staff at AS Watersports, and to all came along and took part.
I’m back from some splendid adventures in India, and am now working on getting everything ready for the coming weekend.
Looking forward to it!