The blog will now be devoted not to boat building but to my 82-year-old Vertue, Sally II, now undergoing a well needed refit at Johnson & Loftus in Ullapool (and gliding...)

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Winter is Icumen In (Loud Sing What on Earth Do We do to Amuse Ourselves...?)

The Flying Fifteens have all gone to their winter quarters, and the keelboats are chocked up against the storms that will soon batter our shoreline, so what does one do in the winter? I have been toying with the idea of going rowing, something I only ever thought useful for getting from A to B (ship to shore; yacht to pub, etc) and now I see that folk in Ullapool positively relish setting off in their skiff of an afternoon just for the hell of it (and presumably the exercise).

I have it on excellent authority that skiff rowing is addictive. "I get these withdrawal symptoms," one friend told me "if I don't get out on the water at least once a week."  And it is not, definitely not the menfolk of the village who feel the need to brave the autumnal weather; but the women, who seem to have taken to skiffing like, well you tell me? Ducks to water sounds a bit sexist. Nevertheless, it is a phenomenon. Defies analysis. Is it the desire to keep fit? Escape household drudgery? The children? Husbands? Develop biceps big enough to wallop them with impunity when they stagger home from the pub?

Photo copyright Chris Perkins
I strongly suspect a bit of all that, but mostly a way of getting afloat without being shouted at, the curse of so many water-borne relationships. Five women in a boat and you have a crew. Add a man and more often than not he'll just start yelling and telling everyone how it should be done (although this is absolutely not true of our A team whose cox is the acme of calm and quiet authority) and arguments inevitably ensue.

I have it in mind to study this phenomenon more closely over the winter with a view to publishing a paper in the Journal of the Institute of Human Behaviour under the title "The Ladies Who Launch [OK, not an original title] or Why Women Prefer Rowing to Rowing.

And I might even go rowing myself... Alone.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ade,

    We loved this piece, and have posted it to our Facebook page!