Krista and I have been planning our big paddling adventure, Falling Down the Thames, for a year-and-a-half. After great strides forward, and a few minor steps backward, we are now poised to begin our voyage along England’s River Thames. We will start paddling next Tuesday.
The first official FDtT activity was this morning. I travelled to William G. Miller Public School in Toronto to make presentations about our journey. Krista was engaged in surgery today, and so I had to make the presentations alone. The first address was to the school’s youngest students, followed by a session with the older students.
The experience was, for me, particularly noteworthy because I attended William G. Miller between 1963 and 1967. Unlike my time there, the student body is now gloriously diverse. I spoke with many students who had recently immigrated to Canada, and with others whose parents were immigrants, as mine were. At the end of the second presentation, several students brought forward one of their classmates who was particularly interested in meeting me. She had recently moved to Toronto from Ethiopia, and I was told that she was now learning the tongue of her adopted country. She seemed pleased that I had shown a photograph of my adventures in her native country.
The school students that I met today were polite and engaged, and the teachers and staff are to be commended for encouraging such enthusiasm and delight. I was asked how much it costs to have a paddling adventure like the one of Krista and I. A few thousand dollars. Was it dangerous to have adventures like these? Sometimes, but the risk is not so high as to keep us from doing it. Had I ever been to Japan? Yes, I have – in search of microscopic soil animals. Do I have a favourite type of bird? Well, there are 12,000 species, and I like them all, but I have a special fondness for Australia’s Pale-headed Rosella. Have I ever met the Queen of England? No, but I have exchanged letters with her husband, Prince Philip.
If Krista and I have more experiences like the one I had today, we are going to have a great time.
photo credit: William G. Miller Public School logo – www.scarboroughhoopers.com; Pale-headed Rosellas - © Geoff Walker, bushpea.com (used with permission)