It’s turned biting cold in London this week. It’s funny. It’s winter, it’s England, and yet we’re surprised that it’s cold. England has a way of doing this to you — it gives you unseasonable weather, and then when you’re not expecting it, hits you with reality.
Take last week on the dock, Dragon Boat paddling, as an example. I wore nothing more than a pair of trousers, a t-shirt, a bouyancy aid (it’s the requirements of the docks n the winter) and a pair of non-slip gloves for paddling. Though I started out wearing a hat, I got too warm and kept slipping over my eyes. Yesterday, there were several reports on the radio of weather warnings — and I sarcastically commented how important it was to warn people that it’s winter and it might be cold. Yet, I ignored these warnings, went out without wearing a hat — and sorely regretted it.
Today, I wasn’t going to make that mistake on the dock — and upgraded my t-shirt to a long-sleeved thermal baselayer (last worn in the Arctic wilds of Norway), and kept my hat on. It did the job, although even with gloves my hands would get painfully cold at times — particularly the one that kept dipping in the water.
But here we are, 2013. The new year is well underway, and I don’t have those back-to-work blues because I didn’t really stop working over Christmas and New Year, apart from weekends and the bank holidays.
There’s not much to report. Along with seemingly the rest of the population, I’ve returned to the gym, some old faces that I haven’t seen since last summer have returned to the docks on a Sunday morning to join us in a dragon boat. I can only imagine it’s a new year inspiration, nobody would think “Gee, it’s bloody freezing out today, I should get back out in a dragon boat”.
Even if it’s not actually a resolution, the new year prompts new adventures. For me, returning to the gym wasn’t done because it was January: it was because I have a membership, enjoy going, and need the exercise. December was just a lousy month for that kind of thing. The fact that I am also planning on getting back into rock climbing (yeah, just like I was this time last year) may have more to do with a new year: it inspires you to do the things you’ve been putting off, and unlike in the past I actually have two or three friends who want to climb as well, which will help to motivate me.
We had several new people paddling with our dragon boat team this morning; I’m not sure where they came from or how they found out about us, but we managed to get two boats on the water which hasn’t happened in a long time. After our training session, we were sitting around in the pub talking, when one of the newbies asked about competitions. She was told that we compete nationally — and she laughed. Not, apparently, at the thought that we “as a team” compete nationally, but that she could. If she stays with the team, she’ll realise quickly this is not nearly as absurd as it sounds: after all, I competed with the team in a national competition last summer, and hope to compete in an international competition this year.
The Year of the Dragon is still the adventure of the moment, and in between getting fitter and rock climbing, it looks like this year will be a big one for sports and fitness. But I don’t make resolutions.