Today I felt like a Shetland in a Clydesdale harness as I dragged (literally) a fencing wire up a rocky hill; bitching, whingeing, puffing and sweating the whole way. Then I stopped and gave myself a stern talking to – I know someone who would give anything to be doing this today.
Back in the summer just gone we had one of those magical days on the river: the girls in canoes, the boys in a tinny, all chatting and laughing and pretending to fish. We had a new kid in our playground that day. She had left behind the city rat race and was settling into the much slower pace of Coolatai. She brought with her a smile as wide as the river and an attitude that said she would have a go at anything. That attitude came in handy.
As the sun dropped towards the western horizon we found ourselves several kilometres down river and about a two hour paddle from camp. But we are smart girls. We produced ropes that had been carefully hidden in the canoes and flung these at the boys in the boat. A tow upriver! Three canoes behind a 4HP motor.
There may have been skylarking, but suddenly there was an overturned canoe and a missing new friend. We collectively held our breath, all except Brian who dived from the boat to find her.
She surfaced moments later, a drowned rat, but still smiling, still laughing, attitude well in check.
That day lives long in our memories.
Jen is in hospital now. Has been for a while. Will be for a while longer. Having a rough time. I’m sorry I whinged and bitched today. I know my friend would love to be fencing with me. Get well soon, Jen; come and help me with this fence and once we’ve got that done I know a great spot on the river where we can go for a paddle.