mixed mind salad

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A new experience

Last Friday was spent in a meeting with my team of colleagues which is  a monthly occurrence, the prospect of which usually fills me with dread.

However, this one was slightly different. On Monday my boss announced via an email that instead of the usual format we’d combine it with a day out as she felt that we all needed a break from the pressure of work. Her suggestion was that we’d hire a narrow boat for the day and sail up and down the river.

My initial reaction was…well.. the word joy wasn’t part of it!

We were all allocated things to bring to the event; Some of us were in charge of food and some in charge of drinks, which to me meant more stuff to think about and deal with. I know I can get into a very negative spiral sometimes.

I spent the majority of the week trying to come up with a good enough excuse for not going and the only one I could think of was phoning in sick Friday morning before the meeting which was far too obvious, so this morning I went off to the meeting point with the level of eager similar to a trip to the dentist.

I have never been in control of a narrow boat before and I made the assumption (yes I know!!!) that because I am one of three males in our team it would be down to us to control it…I should have known better not to assume and was proven very wrong in my assumption!

I was picked up by a colleague and on the way there we talked about how we’d both prefer to be at work instead of having to waste a day pissing about on a river. He’d been in charge of some of the food and based on the size of the bag there was enough food in it to keep us on the river for a week or two and based on the quality of it I would have happily stayed! (I did take some home

The rest of the team arrived and we headed off with enough food and drink to cater for a small wedding or similar.

We were allocated our boat and were then presented with a demonstration on how to control it as well as various safety precautions. He then proceeded to tell us that on our journey we’d have to navigate through a weigh bridge and two locks, at which point I was ready to call it a day and go back to the car! It all just seemed too daunting and overwhelming for me and in my mind a big step outside my comfort zone.

We set off and luckily one of my colleagues took control at which point I realised how wrong my earlier assumption had been!!! In fact had it not been for her expertise in steering the boat I am inclined to think we’d still be out on the river.

About 15 minutes into the journey we approached the first weigh bridge and myself and a colleague had been nominated to deal with that particular obstacle at which point I am beginning to feel rather anxious and my mind is presenting me with images of how badly wrong this could all go!! It didn’t though! We both managed to get off the boat, lift the bridge and then get back on the boat as if we’d done it hundreds of times before.

After that, anxiety just vanished and I started to really enjoy being on the river, surrounded by nature and just loving the slow pace at which we were moving.

A few other people had a go at the steering part, resulting, on one occasion, in gathering enough bits of a tree branch to start a fire and on another getting stuck!

After this we left the steering to Jackie, who then became known as Captain Jack Sparrow! And what a Captain!

None of the things I had feared in my mind happened. I didn’t fall in the water nor did anyone else. We didn’t have any accidents other than the branch cutting affair, during which I had to duck on the floor, and we navigated all the locks with flying colours!

In fact it was a very very enjoyable day and a great experience. An experience I would have lost out on had I come up with a good enough excuse not to go.

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5 responses to “A new experience

  1. Viv August 25, 2010 at 8:34 am

    I think I might well have bottled this one too. I have had to do a lot of things I didn’t really want to do, for work and also for other things, and as I get older, I have less capacity for other people’s stupidity.
    Our work BBQ has been cancelled, to be rearranged another time….probably never!
    Glad it was a good day for you and for everyone.

  2. Viv August 28, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    I do indeed refer to the pool adventure. It was not what I imagined at all and proved to be one of the most challenging and scary experiences for this adrenaline-phobe…..

  3. shiona September 2, 2010 at 11:15 am

    I often find myself to be a rather rigid person when it comes to such experiences. My initial reaction is strongly negative and I try to resist as much as possible. But then very often, after the event is over, I realize there is always something useful, some new knowledge has been gained about others and myself.

  4. J September 5, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    You have described perfectly how I felt about this experience before it happened and how I felt afterwards!

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