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As members of the Tower Hamlets Canoe Club we regularly take part in the club’s Christmas paddle. A crazy affair when up to 50 boats (can’t have more, said the Harbour master) long and short are paddled by all, skilled or beginners, towards Tower Bridge. There everyone gets out on the beach, has mulled wine, mince pies and tries as best as they can to sing Christmas carols.

We have taken part in this for the last three years. Fun.

But being foreigners in this country gives us the great opportunity to celebrate Christmas differently to the norm. And so Czech Christmas being done and over with by the midnight of the 24th of December it leaves us with a day with nothing to do, no duties, no family obligations  and no public transport.

This year we did not go anywhere for Christmas and could spend Christmas day doing the true Christmas paddle. The tides run favourably and we set off from Isle of Dogs at noon. We had a very leisure paddle up the river towards Westminster and the MI5 beach, where we shared some mulled wide and yummy biscuits. Then we had a very pleasant paddle back to East London, with the setting sun reflecting in London’s best sights.

The river wasn’t quiet, it was flowing fast and bouncy with wind over tide, but there was no traffic. Bliss.

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