Friday, July 18, 2008

The Verb 'To Paddle'

From talking to people in Croatia nobody outside of Britain and Ireland seems to know what 'to have a paddle' means so I am going to explain!

Unlike the rest of the world people in Ireland (and the UK) do not have lovely warm water to swim in so instead of bathing when the water approaches bearable temperatures they have a paddle. Here are the usual steps:

1. Find a sandy beach or body of water with a gently slopping incline into it.

2. Take your shoes and socks off. In some places in Ireland it is advisable to place your socks in your shoes and tie your laces together in order to hang them round your neck. This is so noone can nick them while you are paddling!

3. Roll up your trousers tightly to just past the knee. This ensures your trousers stay up and your circulation is cut off to your toes.

4. Walk into the water followed quickly by running out of the water screaming "Jesus that's freezing". Repeat this action for 5 minutes until your feet are sufficiently numb.

5. Continue to walk deeper into the water while crying things like 'Oh that's cold' and 'brrrrr'.

6. Finally after 10 minutes you have gotten to the point where the water is just below your knees and you can relax. At this point usually one of three things happen(in order of wetness) a. Your trousers fall down into the water soaking your jeans for the rest of the day. b. A large wave which has been lurking out to sea suddenly pounces and soaks you up to your waist or c. your paddling friend decides it would be a great hoot to push you into the water.

7. Once sufficiently wet you can clamber back out of the water, put your shoes on (never the socks because you forgot to bring a towel and your feet are still soaking) and squelch to the nearest pub thinking "well that's that for another year".

One other thing about paddling. Because its such a great pastime they actually have things called paddling pools. These are places where children can enjoy paddling safely away from tides and waves. Off course they are made of concrete, are as slippy as hell and have large jutting sides just right for splitting your head open on.

Here is a typical paddling pool. Note the bridge for increased running / slipping / falling.

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