Monday, October 15, 2012

Out of Puff

the co-conspirators
As alluded to in yesterday's blog, this was the weekend of the Dragonboat race...                                                   We all had a great time, didn't win, didn't come anywhere close to winning*, apart from in the style stakes.  The programme had clearly stated that there would be a prize for the most creative (or something) costumes, this was interpreted by all the other teams as matching T-shirts (how original), santa hats (in a variety of colours it must be said) or scarves (so very German) the only team that came close to rivalling our creativity were all clad in Roman get ups, but as they were shop bought and didn't stand out to the degree that our fluorescent pinkness did, we discounted them.
Emma, me & Hannah
We had three races in all, with three different 'steuermen'**.  The first and third were both great fun, not feeling embarrassed in the slightest by a boat full of crazy female pinkness, they even obliged by shouting at us in English (helpful for Hannah, as she's no expat & only knows enough German to order beer or wine & even that's debatable) the second steuerman was dour to say the least, most unamused by us, so I made a point of thanking him for his 'help'.

Marissa & I embarrassing her sister
Embarrassing another child

I'm not sure what confused the locals the most:
Pink Girl Power
- the brightness of our outfits?  As a team we all had to be there earlier to register and collect our number, blah blah blah, so our families were all joining us riverside later on, I don't think any of them rang asking "where are you?  I can't see you".  In a sea of black Jack Wolfskin (we've entered the winter practicality clothing zone) our bright pinkness stood out like a huge sore thumb - I think most of us actually had sore thumbs at the end of the day, they get bashed into the side of the boat if you're not too careful.

- the name of the team?  We had to come up with a team name very quickly in order to register to race, speed was of the essence and we (Karen & I) went with "Puff the Magic Dragon".  In the UK and the US Puff is known as a resident of Honalee, here in Germany he is unknown, and der Puff (am guessing that it's der, could be die or das, it's honestly not a word I use frequently, if at all) is the word for a there was a boat of women, expat women, all clad in hot pink with black leggings and tutus and the team name Puff/ it any wonder that our menfolk refused to sport matching logos?

- we weren't taking it seriously, no star jumps or stretching prior to races for us, no personal  special little foam seat thingies either (as Hannah joked, we all had enough rear padding) in fact when told we had to race the third time straight after the second we whined like children who'd had their chocolates stolen by the school bully, we wanted a drink and we didn't want more Ruhr water, we wanted beer.

To be honest it's a miracle we made it to the finish line once let alone three times.  When Karen and I first conspired I emailed all the expat girlies asking if they wanted in, and it looked as though we'd have too many people, we only needed 10 plus a drummer afterall.  But then two couldn't make it due to holiday schedules, another pulled out (quite understandably) with a last chance to visit London before relocating to the other end of the world, another had a business trip unreasonably extended, if someone had called in sick we'd have been sunk, up s**t creek without a paddle.  We had one training session*** that only four of the actual people in Saturday's boat made it to and one of those ended up drumming.
No names, no pack drill...ssshhhh

My son made some comment at the end of the day (he made it down to the riverside for the first race and after permitting**** a photo with his pink clad mother (oh, the mortification) I let him go home) that I'd left my pride in the boat...because we came so far last I guess, but we always knew we couldn't win, I don't think any of us hoped to come 20th, but where's the shame?  We did it for fun, to have a giggle, to spend time together - my personal mantra has been for a long time,  "life is too short to be taken too seriously", yes, there are occasions when you do have to knuckle down and be sensible and earnest but Saturday was so not one of those times, Saturday was all about GIRL POWER!


* in fact we came 20th, in a field of 20, however we were the only boat with a fully female team, on the other hand the boat from the children's home had at least 2 kids in it...but did we run and hide our faces post race and pretend we'd never taken part (as some others did)?  Did we hell!  We crowded around making as much noise as a large group of women will demanding beer from our men folk (see above)
** the steuerman steers the boat and is equipped with an ear piece and mike so that he can shout stroke timings at us, at least I think that's what they shouted.
*** we had planned none, at all, I did say that it was always the taking part that was more important, but reason took over, at least ensuring we knew which end of the boat was the front end (afterall they're both pointy)
**** he's gets very snitty about photos being taken without his knowledge, anyone would think he was worried that I'd abuse his trust and put them on the internet...

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