Three dollies, two days and one canoe.

Some time ago, Sandra Donovan, Trish Emery and Myself were talking about what fun it would be to go camping on a girl’s only weekend, so after a few drinks this had turned into a full blown camping and canoe expedition!

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Friday night, 21st September, we were all set. Sandra and Trish had everything you could possibly own to do with camping and me, well, not be a camping type of person bought a bottle of red wine, bottle of champagne, sleeping bag and some slim hope that the other two would supply mewith all their camping equipment, which they did. It was dark by the time the canoe was on the car, Trish has put on her life jacket and we headed off to Cookham, the start to the trip.

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With canoe launched and packed, we paddled the short distance to our camp site all in the dark. With only Trish’s head torch to guide us, we squealed like girls when we saw the danger sign and squealed even louder when we saw some mooning bums on the riverside. After about 20 minutes of paddling, we arrived at the campsite to pitch the tent, recovered the canoe and cooked dinner all in the dark. Sandra (aka Ray’ette Mears) fired up the camping stove and we were served with spag bol alfresco, after a hearty meal and a trip the to the toilets, which needed all 3 of us to go together as one had to keep turning on the timer light, one went to the loo and the third fought off the man eating 5 legged spider which was the size of a house! There was quite a lot of nature to contend with but I managed in spite of all the eye rolling from Trish and Sandra and comments of ‘What did you expect!?’ After a lot of squirrel rustling (which I was assured this was normal) we were finally off to sleep to see what Saturday holds in store.

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Up with the lark, of what ever that funny bird was that was making all that noise. Tent dismantled, canoe packed, sun screen on we were ready. Back past the anglers who mooned at us (they didn’t look the same in the day light), and down the river from Cookham to our destination of Hurley (just outside of Henley). Once we got into the swing of things, we were speeding along, a short stop at Marlow for a pub lunch and no we didn’t go shopping or buy any more wine. Saturday afternoon we arrived at Hurley island, tent pitched, we opened the champagne (which was chilled!), fired up the cooking stove, cooked a hearty meal of curry with rice and naan bread, opened more wine and sat gossiping until what we thought was late. After a busy day of canoeing, pub lunches and shopping, we all fell into bed at 10pm and went to sleep.

Up with that lark again, breakfast cooked and eaten, tent packed, canoe packed, we loaded up ready for the journey home. At this point Trish still had not taken off her life jacket and we were beginning to think it would become a permanent fixture. Back in the canoe to battle the elements to get the 10 miles back to Cookham, all was going very well until we all had an ‘eyes left’ situation and nearly capsized the canoe, I guess that’s what you get for ogling at some rather fit rowers from the local rowing club. We are all initiated as ‘Ray-ettes’ now, as we have battled the elements, lived off the land, survived with the basic essentials, lived with out mascara but not lip gloss and still managed to shop!

So we’re planning our next trip, spring time is on the cards now. Thanks Sandra for taking us camping!