We all know the stereotypical view of English weather: cold, grey, and rainy. To be fair, that’s not actually too far off. There were some moments in the winter when I had to think very hard about the last time I’d actually seen the sun, and it rains, A LOT. Many people have told me that the amount of rain we get in Exeter is actually more than they are used to.
That being said, when the sun does finally decided to show up in the South West, it’s incredible. We were lucky enough to have 4 days in a row last week of pure sunshine, with barely a cloud in the sky. So, what do in England when the sun comes out? Get outside, OF COURSE!
There’s a great little shop on the Quay, Saddles & Paddles, that rents out canoes, kayaks, and bikes so you can explore the Quay and beyond. For a pretty reasonable price (£35/canoe for 3 hours) we rented two canoes and set out to paddle down the water to the Double Locks pub for a relaxed lunch. For as long as I can remember, my Dad has had a canoe, and summer cottage trips always involved a lot of canoeing on the lake. Turns out, remembering how to steer a canoe isn’t quite like riding a bike, as Becky and I found out after running into the bushes on the bank multiple times.
Attempting to get going again after lunch was somewhat delayed, mainly due to the fact that they had shut the locks and our canoes were trapped. We were told it would be a while before they filled it up and opened the locks again, so our only option to get back within our 3 hour time limit was to hoist the canoes out of the water, onto the dock, and carry them up and around out of the lock gates. Easier said than done. Eventually we got them pulled out, but canoes are heavy and (shockingly) four hysterically laughing 20-something girls weren’t the greatest at carrying canoes up hills.
After some struggles, we got them back in the water and set off. The trip back was a bit easier, giving us more of a chance to take in just how beautiful of a trip it really was! The water was quiet, and the views were amazing. We created our own ambiance by serenading each other with “Just Around the Riverbend” from Pocahontas and “Row, row, row your boat” (sung in 4 part canon, of course) – because what else would you expect from us musical theatre types?
After finishing our degrees, a day in the sun was exactly what we needed!