Last night was a small celebration of friendship thanks to the delivery of a bottle of wine and a packet of ginger nuts. We were able to raise a glass to the absent friend.
However, today many things are beginning to feel like hard work.
Today is another beautiful warm sunny day, but my body just doesn’t want to work. I’m reminded of long expeditions. The first day is better than I could have imagined. Bouyed on by the adrenaline and the enthusiasm for engaging in a new adventure, my energy levels are high. The second day is even better. I have realised what I can do and engaging in the activity becomes a refreshing and reinforcing experience. I remember this being the case on the Marka Valley and Stok Kangri Trek and again on the Bowron Lake Chain Paddle. However, by the third day the reality begins to set in. The longevity of the expedition is clear. On the Bowron Lake Chain, it always seemed as though it didn’t matter on which side of the lake we chose to paddle. The wind was always blowing into our faces or the side at the bow. In the Marka Valley, the sun bounced off the rocks and we just couldn’t rehydrate adequately. Then comes the fourth day and the enormity of the task sets in. It is a case of one foot in front of the other, or head down and keep paddling. There is no let up. There is no escape. we are here for the duration . … and that’s how this virtual rowing machine expedition and the isolation is becoming. The muscles are beginning to ache and the tedium of doing tasks to fill the time void becomes clear.
I’m re-structuring my time. Today I will do the rowing in two phases. I’ll reorganise my working time – two writing sessions, one creative session, one house maintenance session and at least one session of sitting in the sun with a cup of coffee and of course a liberal coating of Factor 50 – I’ve had enough warnings over the last few years about the negative effects of too much sun on unprotected skin. In my mind, today I will be rowing past Hill Head and Titchfield Haven.
I have just read an article from Outward Bound about learning patience when we are in the outdoors. From my experiences, I have also learned perseverance, the fact that I can achieve more than initially I think possible, that I have reserves of energy and that I can commit to a task. I’m sure I’ve learned many other things that will reveal themselves as time passes. It is now time for a coffee. Another thing I have certainly learned is how to ration food and how to be inventive with food. So what will we eat tonight?