If there is one thing I’m very good at it’s pondering. If there was a prise for “best aimless ponderer in a leading role” I’d bet on me to take the title. Thank you Thank you I’d say with special mention to life’s mysteries big and small. Without them I never could have won this evening.

The kayaking.ie website was a year old this month. Woo hoo. Hooray. Our (we always like to refer to ourselves in the plural despite being an organisation of one) first birthday. Coinciding with my 33rd birthday. Eek. If ever there was a time for a good old ponder. Now is that time.

One year ago the plan was to spend as much time as possible on the water. Kayak Kayak Kayak. Here there and everywhere. On the river, on the lake, on the sea, in the mountains, at the coast, home and away. That was the dream. One year later. That is exactly what I have done. An average of 4 days a week (7 in the summer and less in the winter) on the water over the last year with another 5 days per week on the computer doing officey stuff. We have done well!
Only two small details to spoil the party. Firstly when pondering a lovely dream of kayaking all day every day in March of 2012 the weather was a balmy 20 degrees with the summer on its way. Ah how lovely the visions of the sparkly water with the sparkly sun drops. Lots of lovely shiny things. Ah tell us another funny story the group would say as we sat outside the ice-cream shop eating 99s with sprinkles. Oh the fun. Oh the contentment. And that is how it went for 7 months. Sprinkletastic.

Who could have predicted what happened next? Who could have known? Nostradamus? Gerry Fleming? 6 months of shite. That’s what happened. The phrase “there’s a bit of a nip in the air” is merely the tip of the ice-berg. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m all for defined seasons and there’s nothing wrong with a bit of a cold snap in December and January. A bit of snow. Nothing some good gear (thank you GODs.. the shop that is) and a good attitude and a few gallons of hot chocolate can’t remedy. Quite beautiful. But when March comes and you can’t drive your jeep with 12 kayaks hanging out of it over the Wicklow gap because Oisin and Deirdre out for a Sunday spin in a rear wheel drive BMW have slid in the snow and ice and ploughed into six 19 year olds stuck in the ditch in a brand new Landrover belonging to someone’s mother and all are now waiting for the Mountain Rescue to come and free them you have to say. Why Gerry Why?

Icicles hanging from trees and high ditches are majestic to behold. Especially if you are sideways in the road sipping on a low fat latte in convenient and stylish travel cup and playing with your I-Phone Eleventy Four while heated seats warm your posterior. Icicles are also majestic to behold if you are lucky enough to kayak past them on a kayak trip. It’s worth sticking the cold for two or three hours to see nature flash her winter wonders. Especially if you have a few fleeces on and a nice pair of Marigolds duck taped to your wrists. Bliss. But. If you are loading gear and unloading gear and running two sessions a day for a few days every week would anyone blame you for wanting something more than Siberian winds. After 6 months I’m just going to come right and out and say it. I’m feicin freezin.

Stick with me I’m not quite finished yet. Unless of course you’d like to leave me momentarily for a bit of a ponder. In that case I say go right ahead. Now where was I? Oh yes I did say there were two small details to spoil the party. As any good 6 year old mathematician worth his fizzy cola lollipop will tell you, an average of 4 days a week on the water and 5 days a week on the computer makes an average of 9 days a week. 4 + 5 = 9. If you try to fit 9 day’s work into 7 days you are going to be a very busy person. You are also going to be a very tired person.

I am therefore making an amendment to Article 1 of the kayaking.ie articles of very important things. We would like to kayak kayak kayak here there and everywhere except during times of shite Siberian weather in March whereupon we will be catching the next Ryan Air plane to the warmest almost in the city airport we can find and not coming back till said weather has feiced off somewhere else

I also hereby promise to take more time off and to hire some staff this year. So that’s the vision for this year. We are expanding to new locations, bringing in some contract staff and linking up with lots of wonderful organisations who are helping to promote and advise us. And of course having lots of fun in the process. We are not there yet but we are getting there. Now who was it that said that? Was it Irish Rail or Fianna Fail or Ryan Air? Hmmmmmm……….