To paddle a canoe down the River Thames you need a canoe. When you have two canoes and kayaks here in Jasper, Canada but you need one in England that creates a problem. Many Google searches showed that there were places in England that had canoes that could possibly be available – canoe and kayak clubs, canoe and kayak sales businesses and canoe and kayak rental locations. More internet searches quickly reduced the choice to finding a suitable rental location that had rental units that met my requirements for an expedition canoe. Buying a canoe would be too expensive and the canoe clubs located on or close to the Thames only permitted their club members to take their canoes away on a multi-day trip. I contacted a few rental businesses along the Thames and found they were very helpful until they realised that I intended to paddle the length of the river by myself at which point it became an issue due to their liability insurance. There was one exception. I visited the Wokingham Canoe Club website and there I found that they do not rent out equipment but recommended Marsport in Reading for renting canoes. I contacted Marsport and discussed my needs and what I intended to do and was given lots of really good advice and an assurance that they would rent to a solo paddler. I requested that a quote be emailed to me and waited for a couple of weeks to receive it. When it didn’t come I contacted them again and was again told I would receive an email right away. That was in November and it still hasn’t come. So I was still without a canoe to use. Desperate situations demand desperate measures. If I couldn’t rent a canoe then perhaps I had to reconsider buying one. First I searched on several of the internet sales sites in the UK and I found that second hand canoes were definitely available but few were really suitable and the ones that were were too expensive. My next move was to contact Tony, my brother-in-law, who lives in Kenton to see if he had any ideas. He volunteered to search on the internet to find the right canoe and then to buy it and store it until April when I would need it. I must admit I got a little carried away in the excitement of this and, instead of leaving it to Tony as we had agreed, I went on Ebay and found exactly the canoe I wanted. It was still open for offers for anyone who would pick it up quickly from Welshpool in Wales. After contacting Tony again and smoothing things out about my unwarranted interference he negotiated with the seller and the canoe was purchased. For those of you who don’t live in England you need to realise how amazing this was. Tony had to pay cash for the canoe when he picked it up within a week of agreeing to the purchase at a location that would be the equivalent of driving from Edmonton to Winnipeg. All of this in his wife’s estate (station wagon) without a roof rack. Anyway, I now have a Mad River Expedition 16 TT canoe in Tony’s back garden which got there through his front door, through the kitchen and out of the back door. Thanks for all of your help, Tony.
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