Sometimes an idea for an activity pops into my head and I don't realise how much fun it is going to be until it evolves organically.
And this one definitely evolved organically!
Several months ago I read on Coombe Mill about the Easter raft race that some of the guests had organised. Knowing that we had a break coming up in August, I filed the idea somewhere in the depths of my mind, and it was jolted out when I bought a book about sticks a few weeks back. All of a sudden, the one activity that we had to do when we arrived was build a small wooden raft.
I packed lolly sticks and natural string just in case, ever prepared for all eventualities!
At 5pm, we tootled over to have a ride on the train and I was joined by Fiona to watch her little boy drive my little one around the lawn. We chatted about our day and I explained that at some point I wanted to make a raft to sail on the river. A few minutes later and distracted by a climbing child who wanted to go in the castle, I found myself joined by the lady herself who wanted to have a go at making a raft. Bang went the theory of using string, as Fiona suggested we use grass reeds to join the sticks. This is the raft that I made.
However, we were also joined by Mr. TBaM who was determined to make one as well. His first raft was smothered in mud and he was instructed by The Boy to leave it in the sun to dry. As it had rained for two days, that was never going to happen, so he ditched that raft and they joined forces, deserting me!
Then once we'd made our rafts, we went back to the lodge to change; swimshorts and beach shoes for the boys as they were going to wade in to release the rafts. The river had been rather swollen so The Boy stood on the side holding my hand while Mr. TBaM valiantly ventured into the murky, freezing depths to release the rapid-riders!
Much hilarity ensued as we competed for the best raft. Despite mine being the most beautiful and well put together, his actually sailed the best down the river. We climbed back up the banks, running alongside it to see how well they were both doing, where we were rejoined by Fiona and Clio who wanted to see our rafts in action, and another couple of guests who were curious as to what was going on. Needless to say, my beautiful raft became caught in the overhanging growth, while Mr. TBaM's sailed merrily under the bridge, once he'd set it straight again.
And because my darling husband loves me, he waded back up the river to find my raft and saved it from overhanging branches not once, but twice, sending it on its way to join its companion over the rapids of the River Camel!