It is easy to do something if you want to. The problem is, it is often easier not to.

We are all good at making excuses for not doing things. I am not talking procrastination here (which I am an expert at), which implies you will eventually do whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. I’m talking about things you would like to do, not have to. The things that you would like to do, but seem beyond your reach. Dreams and ambitions. And for those we make excuses; longs lists of reasons why we haven’t done it yet. Not enough time or money are usually the biggest reasons.

I had been complaining to a friend that I haven’t really used my packraft in England, which is ridiculous as I live in Norfolk and there are the Broads – a myriad of waterways waiting to be explored, on my doorstep. I no longer had any excuse. I had time and I didn’t need money. I had the gear too.

Packraft and Rubbish - Rafting on the River Waveney
Packraft and Rubbish - Rafting on the River Waveney

Chatting about how easy it is to have an adventure, she decided to join me. She had time and it didn’t need money. One problem… she didn’t have a packraft. But the one thing I like about Catherine is that she doesn’t let the little things get in the way. I suggested she could buy a lilo, positive you could pick one up for a few quid, and then float downriver on it or I could pull her in my packraft. She had another idea…

Why buy something that you will probably throw away at the end? There are plenty of things that people throw away when they are still useful. (It’s one of many things I notice, having spent time in Africa where everything has a use and a re-use and nothing is every completely discarded as trash). So why not use other people’s rubbish… within a week Catherine had raided friends’ bins and scrap heaps and collected a car load of items that would float.

A carload of rubbish - ready for conversion
A carload of rubbish - ready for conversion
The rubbish raft - It floats!
The rubbish raft - It floats!

We spent the morning constructing a raft out of wood, polystyrene foam and plastic bottles. Then we drove along the river Waveney until we found a place we could park the car and launch from… and off we went; Catherine on her Rubbish Raft and me in my packraft.

One onlooker commented, ‘So you can paddle this section of river then? There aren’t too many reeds’- We’ve no idea.

‘How far are you going?’ – We’ve no idea.

‘How long will it take to get to Bungay?’ – We’ve no idea.

We didn’t even know if the raft would sink when Catherine sat on it. We’d only just discovered that it actually floated. Up until then, I had been very skeptical. Catherine had more faith though and was right.

Lovely day in Norfolk - river Waveney
Lovely day in Norfolk - river Waveney
Stuck? Use a pool cue...
Stuck? Use a pool cue...

We took a rucksack strapped on my packraft with camping gear and food, in case we decided to stay out longer. But it was very slow floating because there was little current. So when the sun was setting and the raft got stuck in reeds, we decided to call it quits. I rescued Catherine from the raft and then the raft from the reeds. And then we packed up our stuff and walked back to the car. The raft we returned to collect and shoved it, stinking of river water into the back of the car to dispose of later. It was quite trashed.

Great free fun from the doorstep.

Piece in the Bucks Advertiser: Woman makes raft out of rubbish