Maintenance Day 2009

I arrived at the Scout Hut at 9.30am with a bag of tea, milk and biscuits in preparation for some hard drinking (between the various jobs that we needed to complete). Maintenance Day is an essential part of the Isis CC calendar. It is a chance for all members to come and show their support (either for a couple of hours or the whole day) in helping to keep the boats and kit in good order for everyone. I had planned out the work carefully this year and had even made a list of jobs and a shopping list which could be added to throughout the day as we found things that needed replacing or mending.

I began by clearing out the boats and kit from both ends of the Watershed and was joined by Niamh who stopped me from lugging all the kayaks on my own, so I was massively grateful. This was quite tiring so we had a cup of tea to relax, by which time Sheena had arrived so we finished our tea and got to work checking the buoyancy aids, helmets and spray decks for any defects and ensured they all had Isis CC written on them.

Gwyl arrived soon after and we all looked at the shelving in the Watershed to work out what to do about the slightly crooked and rather wonky fixings in the wall. After a full season of courses the shed had taken a good bashing over the Summer and was looking a bit worse for wear. Serendipitously, Sean arrived to pick up his spare car key and mentioned we should use joist supports, and then he disappeared again. That one chance comment paved the way for the rest of our afternoon. Gwyl and Niamh scooted off to B&Q with a shopping list which included joist supports, and Sheena and I started brushing out the Watershed - you'll be surprised just how much dust and dirt there was in there.

Becks arrived soon after with the power tools and Gwyl started removing the beams until the Watershed was just an empty husk. In the meantime, Naomi and her family, Rob and Freya, had arrived, along with the rain which started pouring down on us as we mended paddles, completed our inventory and consumed more tea and coffee.

Rich and the Combat Stress paddling crew arrived at lunch time for bacon butties and some warm tea. They had paddled from Cricklade to Oxford and had another 12 miles to go before they could rest for the day at Clifton Hampden. After refuelling with some cake, they stepped back into their boats and paddled off into the sunshine, which had finally broken through the cloud.

In the afternoon Gwyl completed the shelving and Niamh, Becks and I checked all the boats for airbags, bungs and other fixings. We cleaned large amounts of mud and sand out of the sea kayaks and disposed of lots of bottles and food containers that people had either left in the boats or dumped in the Watershed.

My Gestapo-like approach to ensuring this year's tasks were all completed eventually paid off and at 6.30pm we realised that we had finished all the work we had set out to complete, with a shopping list of kit that we need for the future and a had found some repair jobs that would need a little more skill than we could muster between us which would need to be completed another day.

Every single club member owes a massive debt of gratitude to the people who tuned up and spent up to nine hours sorting out the Watershed and the kit which you will probably be using in the coming months. It was unusual to have so few people around to help out, but thanks to a lot of hard work and some very good sandwiches, we ploughed through all our tasks.

Thank you to: - Jen

Photos by Jen