Reading Johnny Magory along the banks of the Grand Canal

Spring Adventure Day at the Grand Canal

Some wise person once said “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing”… We certainly tested this theory at our first Johnny Magory Adventure Day of 2019 on Saturday 2nd March at Lowtown Marina, Robertstown, Co. Kildare!

EJ Leeson reading Johnny Magory at the Aqueduct in Lowtown
Reading Johnny Magory and the Wild Water Race at the Aqueduct in Lowtown

20 Types of Irish Rain

After enjoying an unseasonably beautiful week of weather at the end of February (t-shirt and shorts weather for those who didn’t witness it!); Saturday’s faith was not to be the same and we experienced, as Lorna Sixsmith says; nearly 20 types of Irish rain in one day!

Click here  for a full link to Lorna’s description but I think it’s an accurate reflection for all those brave Explorers who attended; to summarise and say that on Saturday 2nd March 2019 at Lowtown Marina, Roberstown, Co. Kildare we experienced the following: soft rain, mist, drizzle, cloudbursts, a few squibs, driving rain, lashing rain, spitting rain, pelting rain, torrential rain, pouring rain, heaven’s opening rain, downpours, thunder showers, shocking rain and finally rain that included cats and dogs!

Reading in the rain at the 52M Canal Barge in Lowtown
Reading in the rain at the 52M Canal Barge in Lowtown

Sounds awful doesn’t it? BUT I’m confident in saying that we still had a BRILLIANT day!

Part and Parcel of Being Irish… Love the Rain!

I think ‘bad weather’ and rain are part and parcel of the package when your Irish. I also think that the sun shining as soon as the event is over is also part and parcel; or else what is commonly known as “Murphy’s or Sod’s Law”.

reparing in the rain for the Spring Johnny Magory Adventure Day
Preparing in the rain for the Spring Johnny Magory Adventure Day

When I woke on Saturday morning I was between two minds about what to do with the event and being honest one of my biggest flaws (if you can call it that!) is my eternal optimism. I hung onto the shimmer of hope that “It might clear up!”… It didn’t but sure look it, you can’t win them all!

The Show Must Go On!

We drove to the canal in convoy with the 2 jeeps and Tizzy the Bus packed to capacity.

We had no choice but to abandon our plans to pitch the marquee (it would have done a ‘Dorothy’s house in Kansas’ on it wind-wise if we had of!) so we scaled back operations. I received one or two Facebook messages and emails from people enquiring if it was still on (I believe there was talk of a weather warning at this stage!) but I confidently replied (not really!) that it was going ahead… Hail, rain or snow (literally)!

Welcoming all the Little Explorers to the Johnny Magory Adventure Day
Welcoming all the Little Explorers to the Johnny Magory Adventure Day

Panic Stations

I won’t lie, I started panicking at around 10 to 2 and doubting my decision to continue but then I saw a little pair of welly’s emerge from around Tizzy the Bus and my heart lit up!

People came, lots of people came and braved the weather in very appropriate clothing (some were sporting the coolest wellies I’ve ever seen!).

Fishing Demonstration with John at the Spring Adventure Day in Lowtown
Fishing Demonstration with John at the Spring Adventure Day in Lowtown

Exploring Gear at the Ready

Each Little (and big!) Explorer was given a map, a pencil, an Outdoor Explorer Guide and an Official Johnny Magory Explorer Certificate along with some delicious fresh fruit and popcorn before we set off on our merry ways.

Smiling through the rain at the Johnny Magory Spring Adventure Day
Smiling through the rain at the Johnny Magory Spring Adventure Day

Outdoor Fun Had Begun!

The weather meant we had to tweak the itinerary a little. We didn’t get to do the Lock Demo and never made it to the Boat Yard but we did manage to visit the 52M, have a fishing demo and make it to the infamous aqueduct; frog hopping, flossing, starjumping, backwards walking, giant and baby stepping, running, jogging, twirling and ‘taking the L’-ing along the way!

I’m sure it was quite a sight for any innocent bystanders, but it was necessary to keep the blood flowing!

Reading Johnny Magory at the Canal in Lowtown
Reading Johnny Magory at the Canal in Lowtown

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You

There are a few major “thank you’s” again to be dished out as always as I genuinely couldn’t do these events without the amazing, wonderful, brilliant people I have in my life helping me and backing me all the way. The easiest way to approach this is in alphabetical order.

Roll Credits

  • Angela aka Mammy – the legend that she is, as always did everything and anything to help. 
  • Apache Pizza, Allenwood – sponsored a delicious pizza meal for our CMRF raffle.
  • Becky – the most organised and helpful soon-to-be sister-in-law a girl could ask for, again did everything and anything to help.
  • Carly Smarly – the curly sue 5 year old helper.
  • Charleigh – 1/6 of the dream team in charge of not letting anybody go swimming!
  • Cookes of Caragh – sponsored a delicious meal for two for our CMRF raffle.
  • Croi Laighean Credit Union – sponsored €100 for the event which went towards all the healthy snacks and the printing of the Explorer Certificates and Maps.
  • Dave – the best husband out there, again did everything and anything to help.
  • Eibhean – 1/6 of the dream team in charge of not letting anybody go swimming!
  • Ellie – 1/6 of the dream team in charge of not letting anybody go swimming!
  • Jamie – 1/6 of the dream team in charge of not letting anybody go swimming!
  • Katelyn – 1/6 of the dream team in charge of not letting anybody go swimming!
  • Layla – my beautiful assistant and shadow!
  • Lily – 1/6 of the dream team in charge of not letting anybody go swimming!
  • Lorna – the queen of brilliant ideas
  • Jim – 1/3 of the dream team in charge with parking and traffic flow!
  • John – the fabulous fisherman.
  • Neilie – 1/3 of the dream team in charge with parking and traffic flow!
  • Pádraig – 1/3 of the dream team in charge with parking and traffic flow!
  • Sabrina – braving the cold and helping things run as smooth as possible. 
  • The Bridge Side Cafe – sponsored a delicious meal for 2 in their gorgeous cafe for our CMRF raffle
  • Val aka Daddy – the fabulous fisherman’s fabulous assistant on the day!
Reading Johnny Magory along the banks of the Grand Canal
Reading Johnny Magory along the banks of the Grand Canal

Supporting CMRF Crumlin Children’s Hospital

It never ceases to amaze me just how generous people are. Despite the lashing rain, people dug deep on the day and when ordering the tickets. Today I rounded up and donated another €100 to CMRF. Thank you to everybody who donated, you are amazing. Click here to find out more about the amazing lifesaving work they do. 

Umbrellas at the ready at the Johnny Magory Spring Adventure Day!
Umbrellas at the ready at the Johnny Magory Spring Adventure Day!

What’s Next?

Well I’ve a brilliantly busy few weeks and months ahead with lots of school visits and events. Below are two local events if you can make it. 

  • 16th March 2019 – Clane Festival Family Fun Day, SuperValu, Clane, Co. Kildare. Click here for more information
  • 23rd March 2019 – Maynooth Bookshop Reading, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Click here for more information

Keep an eye for me at the Irish Craft Festival Dublin, the Listowel Writer’s Week Kerry, The Happy Pear Playstival Dublin and Laya City Spectaculars Dublin & Cork to name but a few events I’ll be at with my amazing team of merry men! 

Summer Johnny Magory Outdoor Adventure Day

This has been provisionally scheduled for Saturday 22nd June 2019 and will be in the bog… So please pencil it in the diary and starting praying for sunshine now!

 

Until next week, sin é.

Get outside!

EJ

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