‘This has been a wonderful day!’ said the Mole, as the Rat shoved off and took to the sculls again. ‘Do you know, I’ve never been in a boat before in all my life.’
‘What?’ cried the Rat, open-mouthed: ‘Never been in a—you never—well I—what have you been doing, then?’
‘Is it so nice as all that?’ asked the Mole shyly, though he was quite prepared to believe it as he leant back in his seat and surveyed the cushions, the oars, the rowlocks, and all the fascinating fittings, and felt the boat sway lightly under him.
‘Nice? It’s the only thing,’ said the Water Rat solemnly, as he leant forward for his stroke. ‘Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing—absolute nothing—half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing,’ he went on dreamily: ‘messing—about—in—boats; messing—’
—The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
Last weekend we nearly settled for a day walk in the countryside. Country walks are better than sitting indoors, but we were rather regretting not having planned a camping trip or something more exciting.
Luckily, just in the nick of time Saha came up with an inspired idea. We took a train out of London, hired a canoe for a day and rowed nine miles down the River Nene in Northamptonshire.
It must be noted, however, that while Saha’s enthusiasm may be infectious, not all his weekend plans are equally appealing. From a recent conversation:
Saha: Man, we ought to learn surfing.
Me: Hm, I’m not all that interested in surfing. And I don’t think I’ll be good at it.
Saha: Just think about it! You on a beach, surfboard in hand, floral bermudas, bleached hair.
Saha (trying a different tack): Look, you know how to swim, right? What’s the next logical step? Surfing!
Me: Saha, that is not among the next one hundred logical steps.