art2Dear all,

Welcome back to our newsletter, I suppose it seems like we’ve never left your inbox. Anyway, I hope this first edition finds you refreshed after the summer break. Did you all manage to get away from the metropolis of Tokyo or whatever other metropolis you managed to get away from?. I managed to get away to Hakone for a few days with my family, unfortunately not everybody’s favourite place at the moment because of the impending eruption of Mount. Owakudani.

It was very quiet, whilst there I chatted with several local business people and they were saying that they were really feeling the pinch, that was how we actually managed to find some accommodation. Some family or other had cancelled their trip because of the current fear of Mt. Owakudani spitting and spewing its rather hot contents into the atmosphere and down its side, so I stayed in a wooden cabin that ordinarily would be impossible to book at such short notice – usually families that stay at the camp site I stayed at automatically rebook for the following year. The cabin we stayed in was self-contained so we could do a bit of cooking which was very convenient. The only problem was we couldn’t buy any decent food, we should have bought food in Tokyo before going out there because supermarkets are not exactly in abundance out where the cabins are situated – we found one with the name ”Max Save” which just about said it all, the smell of the place was off putting for one and it was way too cold for comfort, on top of that the food was surprisingly very low quality – I’ll know next time!

All in all through it was enjoyable, my two children got up to some mischief as usual, harmless I might add, and I managed to get into a rowing boat which is what I was hoping to do. However, after taking my daughter out in the rowing boat with me she has vowed never to do so again, it’s a long story, but I ended up poking her in the eye with an oar and wetting her dress, I on the other hand, ended up with a bit of a bruised ego and . If you are interested in checking out where I went to, please see the following website link – Until next week, I will leave you with a poem I’m going to attempt to write about my recent rowing exploits – here goes ……..

Father and daughter out rowing on a lake
Walking down the jetty with my daughter to hire something to row.
Feeling a bit unsure as I’m walking, but looking the opposite as I go.
My daughter ahead of me seemingly knowing what to expect.
Filled with some anxiety and an ounce or two of fear the time for her to jump in feet first was getting very near.

We both jumped into the boat, me at aft and my daughter at fore.
Sitting there looking at each other wondering who most wanted to pick up the first oar.
Silently flashing each other like car lights do in the night as we passed each other by.
I was now fore and my daughter was aft, it was I who clearly wanted it more.

Rowing off in a boat is never a piece of cake.
Row, row, row a boat haphazardly on the lake,
“Hey! Hey! you’re splashing me daddy, be careful for goodness sake.”
Row, row, row, a boat I’m beginning to get the knack.
“No, no, no you’re not, turn it round and row me back”.

Row, row, row a boat, it’s too late, the oars are in the water.
Row, row, row a boat, but they’re not moving through it like they ought to.
“Hey! Hey! Pass them to me” stood up and said a rather worried daughter.
Who would have fallen overboard if I hadn’t of steadied the boat for her.

Row, row, row a boat with a sightseeing ship docked and at the stern.
With two men standing on its deck shouting at the top of their voices for me to do an about turn.
I acknowledge and row, row, row my boat to make sure we’re out of harm’s way as the ship starts to depart.
In the process of manouvering the boat around I catch my daughter in her left eye with an oar by accident.

Oh, oh, now I know I’m in for a tough time as tears begin to stream down her face.
So I pick up my oars and row, row, row my boat towards shore at a devil’s pace.
I ask my daughter if she feels better, she tells me No, and complains my rowing is making her wetter.
Her eye is swollen and redder than a red setter by the time the boat is in position next to the jetty.

I may not be the world’s best rower, which I happily proclaim, but at least I got you back on land safe and sound and that’s the main.
I was then hit with deadly silence and a deadly stare that I know only too well.
At that very moment, a pin could have been heard had someone dropped one on the ground.
Why did you hit me in the eye with an oar?
I didn’t do it on purpose, I said, in a concerned and disappointed tone.
I don’t care, she said, I’m not going rowing with you anymore.

A poem by Stephen Austwick.