Graham and I had earlier foregathered on the hard at Swanwick and wondered when the rain would stop. Eventually we decided it was easing off a bit and it was time to make a start. So I went to park the car, failing to notice that Snarleyow had been floated on the incoming tide and was gently drifting off in the direction of the Isle of Wight.
But all was well! Graham had his kayak on his car, and he went off to fetch it. And came back a moment later, looking a bit sheepish. He had left the paddle at his sailing club. We simultaneously made the same remark about what creek we might be up.
Happily, at this point Snarleyow drifted into Swanwick Marina's pontoons and was secured by one of their chaps, who is a hero and has my eternal thanks. I got in and headed upstream, Graham getting in his car and going off for his paddle.
Despite the occasional drizzle the row up the river was lovely, the trees showing all their autumn colours. I got to the pub just as Graham arrived.
I had expected the Horse and Jockey to be pretty much empty, it being a wet wintry weekend, but a friendly gaggle of canoeists arrived just as we did, and soon after three steam traction engines pulled up outside. It was turning into a very English event, everyone cold, wet but cheerful.
Back down was more or less the same. Got out, had bizarre conversation with yottie on the foreshore about people we knew who look like animal biker drink-sodden hooligans but are actually world-famous scientists, and went home.
Many, many thanks to everyone who sponsored me. The Stroke Association does a lot of good work and I hope the money will help them help others like they helped Mum after her stroke. Anyone who suddenly feels the urge to make a last minute donation can still do so at www.justgiving.com/chrismpartridge.