White Water Rafting – Northampton

This was James’ Christmas present. I never know what to get him so he told me that he liked it when I bought an experience day before. So the only suprise was the activity.

White Water Rafting…in the UK.

Somewhere in my memory bank white water rafting was floating around – it was part of a conversation with James. Had he done it or not? I started to believe he had but it was the best activity I could afford so I went for it anyway. He had done it. In a natural environment during his month in Australia. How would a man-made river in Northampton compare to that?

James liked the idea all the same but we both put off booking the day. No reason for it. Just had other things going on. We weren’t going to go until Summer so what was the issue?

Summer all booked up. Avaliable dates? March. MARCH. Who goes to watersports in March??

I started to freak out realising we only had two weeks before the day. The website stated you needed to be fit enough to pull yourself back into the boat and confident in water. Now I’m not a large person, though I have my fair share of flabby parts. But I hadn’t trained for this. I was planning onworking out, getting myself back into a healthy body before this. And here it was. Two weeks.

Booked two days off work. I pulled out the old Davina McCall workout DVD and sat in wait for my family to leave. Then it was training time. Two mornings of high speedballs and punch, punch, uppercut, uppercut, squat and up, and I was as fit as I could have been. Ready to take on the water.

I didn’t get in once. I clung to that dingy with all that new found strength I’d worked on. However James…

We still debate whether it was 2 or 3 times he fell in. He was unlucky. The instructor set up the raft so we would be pushing against a current at the side James was sat on. The raft was at a steep angle, to the point where James was holding my leg to stay in. Then he went. Still holding the oar he went clean under the raft and out the other side. He was okay though. He got straight back in.

And straight back out. The exact same thing happened. (Would’ve thought the instructor would cut him some slack, but James had boasted about his time in Australia and how the instructors there would try get people to fall out.) This time when he went I gave a little ‘Noooo’ as he fell. Again he was okay.

We went around the course four times, swapping between front and back with the other couple who booked the same time slot. They had won the activity in a competition. We were lucky with the company we had, was quite nervous about joining a stag do or a House of Fraser team building exercise. They were nice people, even forwarded us the photos of the day. The only downside to Nene Water Centre is the extortionate price for a cd of photos. James and I did not have £25 spare for that. However we did give the couple £6 and they offered to email them across, which is exactly what they did. Really lovely of them.

Watersport isn’t on the top of my list of things I really, really want to do. I’m not great in water and the thought of not putting my feet down does scare me. But together we did it. Hopefully James enjoyed his present (I paid for my part of the day seperatly, don’t go thinking I just bought him a present which I get something out of. And if he didn’t want to go water rafting he could have exchanged it.) although I know nothing will compare to the day he finally gets to steer a jet ski. JET SKI JET SKI JET SKI. That will be a blog one day… a long way off one day.

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Please, please, please consider donating blood

One of the things from my original Look Wider list that I completed was to donate blood. Fact is, it is so simple to book yourself in for an appointment and once you’ve booked it you can’t really unbook without feeling like a selfish biddy.

So I researched the process and the website has a great virtual tour where you follow a woman through each stage on giving blood. I strongly suggest having a look at it if you’re nervous about going. I booked myself in for an appointment on a Sunday afternoon in August and asked James if he could drive me. You are allowed to drive yourself home, you’re given a drink and snacks after your donation and told you must rest before leaving, but I was nervous and needed the moral support.

So on my first visit I had James following me around like a shadow but if you do bring someone for moral support expect that they will be constantly asked to give blood as well. James has his reasons for not doing it, but he says that one day he will. I am a nervous person so having James with me was a great help but on my second visit he stayed in the waiting area.

After reading the information leaflet and drinking a cup of water I was taken into a screened area to speak to a nurse about my situation. If you’ve had this, that and the other you can’t donate for this much time. Check the website to be sure you can donate. Once everything was clear a drop of blood is taken from your fingertip to check the haemoglobin level. It’s like a pinch, so doesn’t really hurt.

Then you wait to one side for your moment, secretly hoping that the lady next to you gets called first.

But then you will be called. You lie on a bed and the nurse goes through the details, then they take the blood. It takes about 10 minutes and you can watch the progess of how much is taken as a light rises to the top of a bar. Although on my second visit the light seemed to drop at one moment, which doesn’t usually happen but doesn’t hurt  or damage anything either, I’m just weird.

After it’s over you told to sit at the table and drink tea or squash and eat biscuits and crisps. Any reason to snack really.

I decided to do it as it seemed like an easy way to give back to people. And it really is simple. It only takes an hour out of your week, and if you can find someone else who wants to donate then it becomes a social occasion! Please consider it, one day it could be you who needs it. Oh, and I found out my blood group is A+, always good to know!