After roast chicken for Sunday lunch, Malcolm suggests a paper boat race down the stream. Creative, aesthetically pleasing, an excuse to get the kids out of the house... and ultimately a soggy flop.
It's the rapids' fault. One whoosh of water over the bows and an origami masterpiece is doomed. Even the long sticks we are allocated for legitimate boat assistance can't refloat a sodden, dissolving lump of wood pulp.
Almost reluctantly Malcolm reveals the reserve contender in his race armada. The roast chicken's plastic packaging. It has depth, it has a bow and a stern and, crucially, it's waterproof. Meanders? No problem. Rapids? Pretty good. Plunge pools? Nothing a flip with a stick can't solve. Tunnels? Best not to risk them.
The aborted race has now turned into operation Get Chicken Boat Down Stream, with purpose and determination. The kids would gaily carry on until we reach the sea, but luckily we reach a barrier at the end of the sheep field instead, and the chicken boat is retrieved for another idle Sunday.