By: Alan Williams

Paddling pantomime " oh no it's not "

Once upon a time in a far off land in the west, our hero Michele heir to all of Esh Whining went for a days paddling. " Oh no he didd'nt "
Oh yes he did, once he arrived in the west he had to avoid the piercing second sight of the River gods from DKC before meeting his friends, wise old Bob the ditch Evans, the beautiful Princess Maria of Spain, Paul effective Steels, Barry Earl of Consett, Graeme magic hat Cranston and He's behind you! Alan Williams.

After watching the sunrise and magically creating not one but two bacon butties from thin air our well organised intrepid crusader set about making plans to complete his quest to paddle down a dry ditch. He gathered his adventurous band around him explaining how possible it was to paddle without rain. Off they set, Michele leading from the rear! After arriving in the mystical kingdom of Stock Ghyll where Ghyll running is banned on fear of death, the merry band set off up the steep track heavenwards. Calls of 'look out - we're behind you! Oh no we're not! Rang from the hillsides as the lunatics marched on. Stopping half way up the track for Michele to do his obligatory pose for the princesses trusty miniaturising, head removing camera, the group caught a glimpse of light in the bottom of a deep gorge, reflecting from a thin sliver of the manna from heaven. Alans bowels began screaming ' I'm free!' bringing a smile to micheles face as he remembered the stars of the previous evening. Reassurances from wise old Bob of "you'll be alright on there" saw the group marching onwards. A friendly old wizard and his wife were met returning from gathering herbs in the forest, they gave advice such as "don't go in there" but Michele suspected they had been sent by the evil no fun spirit so he wished them well and agreed to see them at the bottom before they disappeared into the mist from which they came.

Eventually the group arrived at a likely looking get in and Michele set off to mark the way down for the others. After a little rope work and scrambling all the boats were safely piled alongside the magical water, "Oh no they weren't". Calls from above of "Look out behind you!" drew wry smiles from Michele on the bank side, until he eventually glanced over his shoulder just in time to prevent the river gods stealing his boat and pounding it to pieces in the plunge pool below. As he was now half in the ditch he decided to lead the way through the first section! The rest of the group gathered round to watch as he plunged headlong over the lip to cries of 'he's cocked it up!' After recovering a crash into the rock he calls back, Oh no I didn't. With hindsight perhaps he should have listened? Wise old Bob then launched Alan on a good line, rapidly followed by the rest of the group. Gathering at the bottom of the first drop all smiles and no casualties other than Barry's camera which the evil spirits had conspired to prevent a picture record being kept of the disaster soon to strike our hero. Micheles merry band completed the ditch and emerged unscathed complaining the challenge had not been enough to satisfy their desire.

So our hero assisted in preparing a further challenge, one that the princess could safely participate in. Donning their vehicles, our hero with his pants round his knees?? Led his entourage onward, (again from the rear). Arriving at the Leven for a bandit run our hero was disappointed to find the evil landlords had posted guards and demanded an access fee! After much mumbling, wise old Bob agreed paying the fee was the best option, despite his many years of training with the elite rebel Cossack brigade in the little known territory of Smoggyland. After astounding the troops with his magical ability by producing the fee from thin air again our hero hatched the transport plan and the shuttle was run. A strange magic followed the drivers and they brought back a different car than expected, still if this was the worst the nasty spirits could do, it would be a good trip. Off they set, paddling into the setting sun. Their expertise was soon needed when they met a stranger swimming past them, towing his boat in the water. One rescue and advice about wearing a boat properly later and the journey continued. After a while a small practice spot was found which managed to capture the princess, despite shouts from Alan of "look out behind you" the stopper chewed her up. Alan rushed to the rescue but to no avail, he knew she was a goner from the minute he sent her in there, sadistic b****rd, should have been a teacher.

The worried band realised they were being pursued by the forces of darkness as hordes of boats could be seen on the upriver horizon heading in their direction. Alan suggested hiding in the reeds at the side of the river until they paddled by, but our hero decided an ambush was a bad idea. Wise old Bob agreed as he was on a tight schedule. It was at this point that Michele coughed to locking the car keys in the wrong car and that the only people with an ability to leave the scene couldn't because their dry clothes were in his car as well! Calls of 'he's locked his keys in the car', Oh no he hasn't! echoed across the water, mixed in with peels of laughter. The remainder of the pleasant journey was polished off with our hero being quizzed at every opportunity about how he could be such a F***wit. Especially since this was not the first time he had made such a mistake in judgement.

Arriving at the get out the band sadly left the water behind them and trudged up the field to attack Micheles vehicle. Now he decided to explain about deadlocks and everyone had a good luck inside to see the sparkling treasure of the BMW keys! Then everyone looked into the Princesses BMW to see the alternative treasure of the Mondeo keys!

A plan was hatched and wise old Bob did a magical chant to the RAC gods for their guidance. Not before he contacted the missus to explain why he was late and grovel for forgiveness, only to be told to stop whining, she was still rambling about on the fells looking for herbs and wouldn't be finished for a while. 45 minutes later and the RAC messenger arrived to save the day. 5 minutes after that the boot clicked open, Yeah Mikey, that's a secure deadlock system you have fitted! The band bid farewell and safe journey to each other before carrying this tale back to their own lands. And that's it, how to have an enjoyable day, "Oh no it isn't!"

Alan Williams.