Monday, 23 July 2012

Messing Around in Boats...


Corporate team building events always elicit a collective groan but the company I work for tries to do it differently and generally that is appreciated by all of us. In the time I’ve been there we’ve had a Wild West themed sports day, a garden party and a summer ball. This year we had a boat trip along the River Severn.

Before the event I wasn’t really sure what to expect but had imagined this wonderful picture of boating in summer thinking it would be rather lovely to spend the day watching the scenery go by in the sunshine and chatting to colleagues in an informal and unusual setting. Three things slightly distorted that innocent picture on the day.

First, another groan, the weather. In actuality we all know the British summer has let us down in true style this year. Torrential rain and a very high river almost cancelled the trip completely, but managed to hold off just enough to enable us to spend the day floating through rain and driftwood admiring the greenery that had managed to rise high enough to avoid drowning in the rising river. We did even get some actually sun in the afternoon so it worked out ok in the end.

Second was the general concept. This country is perhaps known for alcohol being a staple part of any event. At 10.30am when we boarded the boat the bar was open and believe it or not people were starting off the day with pints of Guinness and glasses of wine. I went for a soft drink option until much later in the day. Alcohol coupled with a heavy meal at lunchtime never really does me any good, just makes me tired, so I played the sensible ‘this is a work do’ card for this one and paced myself. But it struck me as a very strange concept to put a large number of people onto a relatively small boat (although I am told that in its heyday the boat was the height of cruise liner luxury in the area!) drive it along a river that floods frequently and ply them all with alcohol all day long. Health and safety gone downstream!

Anyway the alcohol factor leads me onto number three, which wasn’t a bad thing but merely illustrated to me how much popular culture really does seep its way into our minds. Even before we arrived my colleagues were talking about Titanic and made several references to James Cameron’s film. On board, the minute I got to the bow my colleagues leapt into action and had us re-enacting ‘the pose’ in a slightly less elegant and somewhat more inebriated fashion. Proof that we really are influenced by if not inspired by the things around us.

Anyway, cheesy disco music and rain aside, the day actually turned out to be a lot of fun and gave me an experience that I probably never would have had if it weren’t for this event. We had shenanigans, discussions of pirates (which is always an entertaining topic for me), laughter, games, a magician and beautiful scenery to admire. Not bad at all, although I’m not sure I will be signing up for a themed party boat evening quite yet; I doubt the ‘Pirates of the River Severn’ are ready for me.

Thanks to Papermagnet for the photos.

Elloise Hopkins.

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