It started with an idea of my brother and his family: why don't they hire a motor boat up river on the Thames? They have four children under ten and what could be better for them than a little messing about on the water. And where better for it than the home of Ratty and Mole and the rest of the Wind in the Willows crew, as well as Three Men in a Boat, and many, many others.
Then who better to come along too than Uncle JP as he knows about boats and can do stuff like mooring up, springs, knots and things. And indeed the idea of a bit of messing about with boats, and with nephews and nieces, and on the Thames - well, my reaction was simple: count me in.
But then the doubts: maybe there are things you should know about boats that don't have sails and stuff, and maybe a spot of revision wouldn't hurt, for as you might have noticed there is often a long gap between venturing out on the water.
Luckily the RYA is a bit like the App Store, in that what ever your needs there is a course for that. After a bit of Googling came up with the RYA Powerboat level 2 course at the London Powerboat School.
So last weekend went down to Docklands and had an absolute blast, especially going through the Thames Barrier and under Tower Bridge at 20 knots. Note the picture in yesterday's post came from these people here.
The instructor, Bill, was excellent, and full of top tips on how to board oil rigs and keep pace with Japanese Whalers and other skills that came from his time driving RIBs for Greenpeace. Highly recommended.
More from the dark side to come....