What a day this has been!
It started with the weather forecast being correct...rain. Which was a real shame as the morning had been designated as free time for all.
A number decided to make their way in to town whilst others took the bikes and followed Head of Medical, Neil Greig, who decided to run, in the direction of the lake that I mentioned in one of my earlier blogs. Another group, which is the one I joined, decided to test their golfing skills on the resident golf course.
As I know a number amongst you like to know the make up of such teams, here we go: it was made up of one four ball and two threesomes.
Lewis MacLead, Josh McEachran, Jack Bonham and Daryl Martin
Dean Smith, Chris Haslam, Nick Stubbings
Richard O’Kelly, Luke Stopforth, Ciaran Brett
For the statisticians - Lewis and Josh top scored with 39 apiece whilst the winners of the ‘blind doubles’ chosen at random were Dean and Lewis. I had sole use of a buggy and spread myself around caddying here and there. A thoroughly enjoyable, albeit somewhat chilly four hours spent.
It was then an early 12.15 lunch as we had to meet at 1pm for a bonding activity. Everyone was advised to bring a towel as they were advised they could get wet ... and by now the rain had stopped!
At 1pm we congregated in reception and were met by a chap called Oliver who explained that we were off to a ‘white water’ river some 30 minutes away to go kayaking.
On arrival at the base on the banks of the Tiroler Ache river, which is near a town called Kossen midst the foothills of The Alps, a couple of miles over the border in Austria, the party were split up into those who were happy to kayak, those who would rather follow on in a raft and those who felt that senior citizens of 70 years plus should know better. 36 of the party chose the former, 9 chose the raft option, which left one old codger with no other option than to return on the coach and wait for the arrival of the party down river.
But first everyone had to get suitably kitted up in double wet suits, heat retaining socks and helmets. They looked like something out of Game of Thrones. Then of course there were the all important safety instructions before they all headed for their allotted craft.
No sooner had they all got on board (for want of a better expression) than one pairing went overboard ..... twice! Woodsy and Judgie. However I understand from their fellow kayakers and rafters (!) that almost everybody ended up in the water at some time or another, albeit not as often as Ciaran Brett and Chris Domoney (Sladey).
The journey down (or was it up) river took about two and a half hours before the party disrobed and headed back by coach to the hotel.
Unfortunately I was unable to witness the fun and frolics as they made their way down (or up) river, as the coach driver who was supposed to wait for me and transfer me to the final destination, forgot...and left as we were taking a few group pictures. So I was left stranded in Austria (a country I had never previously visited) for just over three hours before someone was detailed to come and pick me up.
So if anyone ever wants to know any details whatsoever regarding the Staffenbruke in Kossen (the bridge next to the launch spot) I’m your man as I got to know it, and the information board affixed upon it, intimately. It helped to pass the time, although the look on the faces of a couple who walked past me just after three o’clock then when they saw me again at exactly the same place on the bridge as they cycled by two hours later, was a picture. I’m surprised the local police weren’t informed.
Dinner was brought forward for obvious reasons tonight. But first the gathered ensemble had the pleasure of listening to Inaki Cana, the new goalkeeping coach. He sung a number which only Sergi Canos could understand, but to the relief of all he only sung a few lines. It could have been worse.
And, that, as it transpired, was the only highlight of the evening. Worse was to follow....the news that none of us wanted to hear ..... we all have to meet in reception at 7.30am with running trainers. Crikey! I hope there’s a get out clause for septuagenarians.