26th September 1984
111 fresh faced 18 – 21 year olds, with a couple of mature students thrown in, arrive at North Riding College (NRC) in Scarborough to enrol on a Batchelor of Education Degree course with Honours.
I was very excited to be moving away from home – it felt sooo grown up. My dad took me to open a bank account and then left me to unpack. I was a tad wary at this point because I was sharing a room with someone – probably unheard of today, sharing a room that is!
To cut along story short my room mate and I got on like a house on fire and are still good friends today. Remember it was the olden days back then so we didn’t have mobile phones or laptops or tablets. We didn’t want to stay in our rooms contacting friends from home and comparing stories – we did this by writing letters!!!!!!! So we had to get out there and make friends.
Elaine (my room mate) and I did this by knocking on all the doors on our corridor as we went down for dinner. Yep fully catered, three meals a day plus morning coffee and afternoon tea!!! Also unheard of today. I’m sure we had the best deal.
So those girls (the halls were not mixed sex!) who joined us became our friends throughout the four years. You could say our team!
On graduating we moved to all corners of the UK and met up for hen do’s, weddings, Christenings, and big birthdays! We couldn’t all make every get together because we might have been giving birth, breast feeding or dealing with another major life event but we tried our best.
Once all these occasions were over we came to a decision – we would meet up every May Day bank holiday ( easy to remember!). We began by staying in hotels in various cities – enjoying the night life and convenience of travel opportunities. It then became apparent that we didn’t want to share the hotel lounge with others or maybe they didn’t want to share it with us hollering and screaming AKA having a good time so we began booking houses. We have this down to a fine art now – when we meet up we spend some time booking our next venue. It’s great everyone is there to agree with the choice.
We’ve all had traumas along the way and been there to support each other throughout the years.
Jump forward thirty four years – yes unbelievable -THIRTY FOUR YEARS!
Last weekend found those nine girls (uh um!) meeting up at Tom’s Barn in Cheltenham for our annual get together.
We arrive individually throughout the afternoon. Suzie arrives with dinner ready made – even down to the jacket potatoes being scrubbed and prepared! Pam arrives with home made cakes and enough eggs (from her chickens) to last a week! I’ve done the big shop with enough food to feed an army! Everyone else arrives with bits and pieces we might just need especially gin!
Our watering holes are all booked in advance – eating features very highly on our list of activities – in fact it’s only beaten by drinking gin. In fact they are the two main activities of the weekend!
And so it begins – one giant therapy session that lasts the whole weekend. You can’t beat it. We laugh and cry together. Our faces ache by the end of the first evening as we regale tales of the past year.
Most of our weekend was spent in the garden as the weather was magnificent. Those lazy days and me parping on about rowing (surprising – I know!) got us all thinking. Well I think it was Paula who started it, or maybe Michelle, or was it Suzie? Anyway someone said they’d quite like to have a go at this rowing malarkey and could I arrange it?
WHAT? ARE YOU MAD? OF COURSE I COULD!
The next hour was spent with me coaching an erg session on the lawn – explaining some rowing terms and technique. When they get home, they’ll be joining a gym and practising the ‘arms, body, legs’ mantra – apparently!!!
It’s not easy to replicate the slide movement while sitting on a blanket on the grass! We gave it a good go! And I can safely say I believe that by the end of May Bank holiday 2019 my athletes will be Tokyo ready.
Later that afternoon we booked a house for next year in Chester – close enough to Warrington for our fast track learn to row course.
I’ve checked it out with the club and got the go ahead so here I am laying down the gauntlet to the class of ’84.
WE ARE GOING TO DO THIS!
Warrington Rowing Club is booked, I’ve already got agreement from members that they will come and help me – only one thing left to do and that is to get a training plan in place.
Let’s go girls!
Each month I’ll send you some ‘homework’ and would greatly appreciate your feedback – in fact i expect nothing less. Comments, photos and videos will be most welcome.
So for June I would like you to go to our Always Oarsome blog and read the blog titled
‘Arms, body, legs, legs, body, arms’.
This will give you an introduction to our chosen activity.
I also think it would be useful to start doing some gentle stretching exercises in preparation for the big weekend.
Just fifteen minutes a day while you’re watching TV, marking books, covering playground duty, revising health and safety papers, cleaning out the chickens, waiting for your child to finish guitar lessons, demonstrating emergency crash landing procedures or demonstrating restraint strategies. I’m sure you can all find an appropriate time slot!
Good Luck and be Oarsome!!!!