When my parents said that they wanted to come and watch me compete at the World Sprint canoe championships I was a thrilled, then a little worried. Those of you who have met my parents will understand...
My parents have been wonderfully excited about me taking up kayaking. This might have something to do with them having dabbled in paddle sports themselves in their younger days. They even went on their honeymoon in a canvas pack up canoe (called Packy) where they had many adventures, including accidental white water along the way.
|Mum and Dad 1962|
Yes, my parents are not that conventional.
As a child my parents would always enthusiastically come and watch me competing in various sporting events, and funnily enough my friends still remember them!
Was it the plumes of blue smoke emanating from the exhaust of the illegal eastern block car (called Wilhelm - or Willy for short)? Was it the horse box (called Hercules), which doubled up as a team minibus, meaning we turned up to events covered in straw and smelling of manure? Or was it the the citroen Diane (called Freddy) who's rear seat came out and handily doubled up as a spectators bench?
When my parents decided that they were coming to Duisberg to watch me race I was delighted. Then a wave of apprehension swept over me as I relived these embarrassing moments usually, but not exclusively involving named motorised vehicles.
My parents have really been struggling to sort logistics as mum has mobility issues. They wanted to find disabled friendly hotels and parking near to the regatta lake and this email from Mum I think was was meant to reassure me....
"Many thanks for giving me some useful internet addresses.
We were told that it would be difficult to find accommodation as all the hotel rooms would be booked nearby and that we might have more luck in a private house. Dad worked it out that one such house was just 3.5 Kilometres from the Regattabahn!! He phoned the owner and in his best German immediately struck up a friendship with him. Right we were a good step forward.
Next step was to find out if Perky" (mums motorised wheelchair) "could meet the challenge of getting me the 3.5 km to the regatta without conking out. We haven't been able to work out if there is disabled parking at the lake for Stumpy" (their latest named car which actually looks more like a breadvan) "yet so yesterday we had an exciting time taking Perky to the local national trust forest and driving him up and down the drive. Perky showed us he could cope, and I am sure he appreciated being an important part of our plans!! However, to be reassured, we have booked him in for a full MOT at the local Perky Hospital.
I cannot tell you how excited that we have been able to crack all obstacles and are now up and almost ready to be able to cheer you on at Duisburg. We will be there waving our Union Jacks.
I jokingly asked Simon if you still have Grans Swiss Cow Bell. You may not hear us shouting, but boy, you sure would hear the loud clang of that Cow Bell. Its OK, we would not want to embarrass you!!!"
Thanks Mum, I'll remind you of that ;-)
And if you find yourself at Duisberg, watch out for an English couple with a mobility scooter and a large cow bell... Please go over and introduce yourselves, and don't forget to say Hi to Perky...