Tumbling Bay Barbecue

Somebody told me that 2009 was going to see the hottest summer for a decade. In preparation for what is going to be a very busy season of paddling and socialising, a few committee members decided to go barbecue shopping! Now, we are well known at Isis CC for our paddles and barbecues, although we haven't quite mastered the art of barbecuing while paddling yet, but we know what to look for and what to avoid. We decided to put our skills to the test and do some careful research into what we needed for the perfect barbecue.

We set out on our first barbecue of the season on Easter Monday, making the most of the bank holiday weather with a gentle paddle up the Cherwell past Magdalen College in some open canoes. The second was a simpler affair at the Scout Hut, but by the third we had completely perfected our craft.

On Sunday 19th April Simon, Gwylim, Seb and I paddled up the Thames, turning left at Osney Lock, and went on a mystery tour to find Tumbling Bay. We took a wrong turn and some families enjoying the afternoon sun in their gardens repeatedly told us we'd have to turn back, but little did they know how determined Isis CC members can be when there is the prospect of adventure and food! Eventually, via a series of shallow sections that we had to line, and a couple of pipes we had to see-saw the canoes over, we reached our goal as we came to the small drop at the bottom of Tumbling Bay.

After securing our boats, we set up our chairs next to the weir and Gwylim got to work stoking the fire. After a short time we had a selection of burgers, sausages, minted lamb skewers, barbecue ribs and finally marshmallows all sizzling over the coals. We even managed to heat up some water and make some peppermint tea making it a very civilised affair. After a couple of hours we watched the sun dip in the sky and decided we should start the homeward journey because it was getting chilly (and we had run out of things to burn, despite cleaning up some of the litter that other people had left behind). As we were packing up a heron decided to swoop up into the sky and head for home too.

Our conclusions for the perfect barbecue include:

We have now purchased some Isis CC barbecues and some cooking implements which should make our future social paddles much easier. I hope I'll see you on a barbecue paddle at some point over the coming months!

- Jen