Saturday, October 31, 2009

Book Review: Racundra's First Cruise

What makes an interesting sailing story? That question came to me when reading Arthur Ransome's Radundra's First Cruise because alas this book is boring.

How, I wondered, is that possible? After all we love Arthur Ransome's sailing stories having grown up dreaming of Swallows and Amazons, so we know he can write.

But all too often it's a repetitive tale of leaving some harbour, having too much wind then not enough, of been worried about rocks but not hitting any, something breaking and having to be fixed, and then arriving at some port and going shopping. It didn't help that the edition I bought (second hand) didn't have the pictures that would have given a flavour of sailing in the Baltic in the 1920s.

A cruising book has to be more than a list of places sailed, wind directions and tidal flows. That doesn't mean it has to be a gripping tale like Pete Goss's Close to the Wind - I've been entertained by Eric Hiscock on Wanderer III, the Copeland family on Bagheera and J. Johnston Abraham on Clytemnestra. But all three evoked times and places, and most importantly distil out the dross to leave the tasty bits.

What is most strange is that there is such a good back story we never hear. On board Racundra along with Ransome is someone he simply calls "Cook". She was Evgenia Petrovna Shelepina, and while Ransome was married at the time it wasn't to her.

Evgenia worked as personal secretary to Trotsky, and was at the heart of the Revolution, as was Ransome. He was given by the Estonians a message to pass to the Russians, a message so sensitive it was never written down, only entrusted to Ransome. He then went through the White vs Red Russian civil war lines, twice, to deliver the message that led to Estonia and Russia mutually recognising each other.

Ransome was at least an agent of MI6 if not a double agent, and there were files on him at MI5 and the KGB.

Now that would all make a great story, much better than Racundra!

There were some minor bits of relevance to see how some of the adventures of the Swallows and Amazons were invented. For example the 3rd person on the boat, called the "Ancient Mariner" who had sailed on the Thermopylae is clearly Peter Duck, while the over night voyage that led Ransome to fall asleep on the breakfast table reminded me of We didn't mean to go to sea.

But that's thin going - you can get that plus a presumably a lot more about Ransome the spy by reading the biography that's recently come out.

Mattress in the Wandle

Here for Greg and Kris is a zoom of the previous picture and hopefully the mattress like nature of the "rock" will be clearer.

Escaping up river

It's been a bad week for blogging.

I blame work - at least hope so. When you get a headache that lasts all day for most of the week alas it means one of two things. Firstly, if you do a Google of the symptoms (actually any symptoms, it always ends up the same), you are definitely going to die of something horrid.

Hence I never do this - also because one of the founders of Google have been apparently doing something if not evil then definitely morally wrong.

So guessing it was too many documents and meetings over the last few weeks took Friday off as an experiment involving limiting access to email and keyboards, and instead biked up river to Kingston.

If Google was right the headache would get worse, if I was right it would go away.

And am delighted to say the self medicated solution worked! It certainly helped it was a lovely autumnal day, unseasonally warm with gentle sun in a faintly blue sky. And all along the river the trees were shades of dark green, yellow, red and brown.

Want to be 100% as next week have another business trip so need to clear the sailing blog decks so can post on those sights that hopefully will have time to see.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Down the Wandle

Finally the week ended and it was time for a bit of relaxation. All through those meetings I was looking forward to this, a kayak trip down the river Wandle. And great it was too, down hill all the way and hardly rained at all.

There was depressing amount of rubbish in the river, not just shopping trollies but couple of peddle bikes, one motor scooter, ice cream trolley (yes really), several tables, dozens of footballs, enough tennis balls for a wet Wimbledon, a baby's carry cot (empty thank God), child's mask, plastic boxes, plastic bottles, plastic this, and plastic that. In the otherwise pastoral scene above the rock in the distance is actually a mattress wedged against the inevitable shopping trolley.

It's pretty easy going apart from a couple of weirs, well really the only tricky one was at the end when it meets the Thames. But made a mess of another as was drifting along looking at the skies and generally unwinding not thinking when realised all the others were at the other end of this concrete channel:

No problem, and paddled the Dagger as fast as could to the end where had a choice of two routes. Hmmm thinks I, lets go right. "Wah wah way" says the group leader, pointing at the right. Cool..... until the wahs become "do not go right!" but alas it was too late and had rather an exciting little drop.

There was another exciting bit when the river goes underneath the local shopping centre and it was decided somehow that it would be more "interesting" to do it without lights, which indeed it was. It really did get pitch black!

As we joined the Thames the sun was setting, yellow against gold trees, white clouds rushed across a blue sky, and I was achy, damp, but very pleased.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Navionics iPhone Chart V3.2

What's this? Is it an update to the Navionics iPhone Charting App?

Yes it is! Oh no - I hope it doesn't include loads of new features that will take ages to blog.

Lets have a look..... hmmm... no, looks like will be ok this month. The only new feature spotted is it now shows the distance and heading from one purple pin to the other in the top toolbar.

Ok, that's that done, time to put feet up and finish a book, and if it's any good will blog on it another day.

An Apology

Alas despite raising Tillerman's hopes of a 2nd more interesting post on "Less is more" it is unlikely to see light of day this week. For once this is not because can't remember it, as it is clear as could be.

Blame that four letter word work which has been rather relentless the last few weeks with no sign of relaxing in the near future. So there could well be the odd gap between posts especially when one client wants an on-site meeting in a city that even Expedia doesn't seem to fly to.


Surely its time for a holiday (vacation)!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Natural navigation in the autumn

I posted the picture above of an avenue in London earlier this year during the spring and in a natural navigation puzzle posed the question which way is it facing, and why?

It is actually facing west, that can be deduced from the fact that the leaves on the trees on the left have come out more than those on the trees to right. Hence those trees on the left must receive more sun and be southerly compared to the right which is more northerly and therefore shaded.

And now it is autumn the same technques can be used again in the picture below of the same avenue.

It can be seen that the trees on the left (i.e. south) are browner than the ones to the right (i.e. north). You can therefore use the relative time in which the leaves of trees go brown as an indicator of north / south direction.

This signal is only available at certain times of year, which means its not the greatest source of navigational information. And of course now we can get iPhones that have not just GPS but also a compass built in (alas my contract means I can't upgrade to it this year).

But putting it the other way round, because we know navigational information we can learn something about trees, such as that being south doesn't make the tree's summer much longer if at all (as it would have been if the first tree to show its leaves was also last to shed them) but roughly the same length as those trees to the north.

To our ancestors no doubt this would be a duh! moment, where they can't believe we need to have this pointed out. But for the urban dwelling technology user a lot of connection to these cycles of nature have been lost.

And yet we are human, and appreciate, value and to a degree need nature around us. London would certainly be the poorer if we didn't have the many green spaces to relax in.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Less is more (more or less)

I haven't forgotten Tillerman's Less is more blog writing challenge, just been a bit stumped as to what to add to this particular bun fight.

To be honest it sounded like the first item in a list of Blog subjects for which the answer is "The Laser", and there are clearly specialists out there on this topic.

So what else to say? Well some random thoughts:
  • I don't like drifting so more wind is more fun than less
  • ... unless you are in a force 10, in which case more wind is less fun
  • More boat heel means less speed
  • Less boat weight means more speed
  • .... and most people want to more speed than less (how often do you hear "yes I know I came first but would much rather have come lower down in the rankings")
  • There seems to be boat inflation in which a medium sized cruiser used to be 35 feet and is now 40 feet (or is that the waistline in inches?)
  • Less instruments makes the sailor better at reading the wind
  • Less expensive boats mean more entries (e.g. Volvo vs Open 40s)
  • Less complex boats means ditto (Star vs Laser)
  • For an infrequent sailor its more cost effective to own less and charter more
  • A shorter blog post is more readable than a long one, so that's the list for now!
There is one Laser idea that's been on the list on my iPhone for a few months so this might be a good time dust it off and see if its any good (& whether if can get it done by the deadline).

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sail the seas of Titan

I love the idea that has been put forward recently to send a mission to Saturn's moon Titan to undertake the "first nautical exploration of an extraterrestrial sea".

Titan has lakes and sea, but unlike Earth they are not made of water but rather hydrocarbons. However they are by all accounts liquid, which means there can be ships and there are winds so there could be sails.

Though alas the current plan is to less to sail - as in controlled motion - but rather have a camera tower that allows the Titan Mare Explorer (TiME) to be drifted by the wind. From what I understand there is another plan called Titan Saturn System Mission (TSSM) that also includes a lake lander but it's batteries would only work for 3 hours. TiME however would have a thermonuclear power source to give it the range for some decent exploration.

Count me and my inner space cadet well and truly behind this voyage.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Book Review: Close to the Wind

Do you ever wonder about doing something amazing, something like the Vendee Globe?

For most of us it's a dream, an imaginary voyage which would mostly involve the good bits - like Sam Davies here describing the magic of dawn at sea, dolphins playing around the bow, surfing down monster waves at edge of disaster speeds.

But the reality must be that it is a tough, draining, battle against a hostile universe, and that is just to get to the start line. To finish the race when things are going right is an achievement, to do it when the world seems against all the way, and to save a man's life as well, is nothing but heroic.

And that is the story of Pete Goss's Vendee Globe which he described in Close to the wind and a cracking read it is.

It takes a lot of dedication to put together an entry - and a lot of money, which he didn't have. When travelling the UK fund raising his wallet couldn't stretch to a B&B so Pete had to sleep on railway station platforms. For two days all he ate were a few biscuits.

Then there's the Vendee itself, when in the midst of the sort of storm where knock-downs happen couple of times an hour he got the distress call from fellow competitor Raphael Dinelli. Pete had to battle upwind through the maelstrom to find the life raft and its occupant, the close to death Raphael.

Pete Goss is ex Royal Marines and so his style is straight forward with clean and to the point writing. So when he describes the rescue as "a very bad experience" you know that's not just a few easy words.

For me the worst bit was later on when he had to operate on his own elbow. I find that hard to imagine as my response would have been ok, that's it, enough of this, I'm going to the nearest doc. But Pete even managed to take a couple of photos of the procedure (er, thanks I guess).

A truly gripping sailing yarn, definitely worth getting and reading.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Voyage of Plastiki

There seems to be a big media push for the Plastiki expedition, as yesterday there was an article in the Observer magazine and today an interview on Channel 4 News.

All very worthy stuff as there is no doubt that plastic is naughty, bad, wrong, yucky etc and we need to be better people and save the planet, so if you haven't read the article or seen the video well worth checking out.

The boat is somewhere in Pier 31 in San Francisco, so no doubt there will be some blogger who wanders in and asks when it comes to plastic bottles, is the 12,000 used to build Plastiki really a case of less and not more?

The answer is a definite yes, as the Observer article quotes there being 5.8 million pieces of marine debris going into the sea every day.

While not entirely sure where that statistic came from, the amount of gunk in the waters is clearly a case of way too much.

Less please!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Seascapes of Turner and the Masters

While the pop art was a bit disappointing the Tate Britain's exhibition "Turner and the Masters" was simply great.

It focuses on Turner's ambition and at the same time his insecurity. He wanted to show that he too was a master and his ambition was to take the subject and form of some of the greatest works of art and produce something that is stylistically his own that matches if not surpasses the reference.

He had to be bolder, stronger, more exciting, more attention grabbing - and so it is not surprising that some have compared him to YBA's such as Damien Hirst.

While there were a range of subjects and styles not surprisingly I tended to focus on the seascapes. Just at the entrance there were two, starting with the work "Dutch shipping offshore in a rising gale" (below) by Willem van de Velde the Younger and next to it the Tuner equivalent "Dutch boats in a gale" (top).

The similarities between the pictures are obvious: it is the same fishing boat - exactly - and the same scene with storm coming and larger ships in the background. And Turner has make the scene more dramatic: the storm front is a threatening dark brooding menace to the left, so dark the sea and sky become one, with a physical three dimensional sea foaming and bursting with energy. He has also done one of those clever look at me touches in showing the boat from the other side and put in a threatening collision to make you wonder what happens next.

There is a tendency with Turner in Britain to always assume he come off best in such a comparison, but when presented with both pictures (almost identical in size) the Willem van de Velde the Younger's work is very impressive. There is a wonderful depth of detail of the boat from the rigging to the sailors that made me feel he knew boats intimately.

I was also left wondering two questions: firstly what sort of rig is that? The boom points in the air holding a sail with shape similar to a gaff rigger. The other end is not fixed and a sailor can be seen trying to tie it down. My other question of course is how on earth would their hats stay on?

Similar thoughts came into the next two pictures, again Dutch boats sailing in a storm and a Turner equivalent.

Apologies for the differences in reproduction: the Turner is below in faded yellow.

The blurb was all about how the Turner had made the beacon bend in the wind and there can just be seen a blur of a sea gull failing to land.

But actually the Jacob van Ruisdael picture "Rough Sea at a Jetty" is from a sailing point more threatening. In it there is a lee shore and the boat seems speeding towards it out of control, with the spar horizontal (that really does not look right). However Turner's the wind seems parallel to the coast, a much less dangerous situation.

There can be several reasons for these differences, one of which must be that Turner's prime objective was to impress the Royal Academy of Arts, not known for their sailing skills, while the Dutch Master's was to sell pictures to a knowledgeable group of merchants who earned their living from the sea.

And there are other examples where Turner comes in second best. The two largest canvases are of great sea battles, Turner's Trafalgar vs. Philip James de Loutherbourg's "Lord Howe's action, or the Glorious First of June" (below).

I'm not even going to post the Turner as it comes a poor second to what is one of the classic pictures of naval battles.

But while Turner started by wanting to emulate the greats of the past, in the end he headed in a different direction. None of them could have come up with "Snow Storm: Steam-Boat off a Harbour's Mouth":

You can quibble with this picture - if the wind is strong enough to bend the mast surely it would also drive the smoke horizontal - but Turner was aiming for something else.

He once said "Atmosphere is my style" and that sums up what he was trying to achieve. No longer aping what came before he was using his drive for effect to create a new vision for art - one that would lead to a range of movements from impressionism to even the futurists.

In the end he certainly achieved one of his goals: his paintings were worthy company to those of the Masters he was so keen to emulate. Not necessarily better, but certainly different, and in an amazing way that would open doors to new ways of creating and looking at pictures.

A thought provoking exhibition, about art, the artist and development of ideas, it's on until the end of January and well worth catching.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Turner Prize and Pop Life

One of the top tips for Londoners is to become a member of the Tate, which not only gives you access to their member's rooms but also unlimited free entry to their exhibitions. This is a good thing as you can wander into exhibitions you're not sure about without wondering whether it will be worth it.

Which was just as well as the Turner Prize exhibition was mighty disappointing - and couldn't work out why it was in the Tate Britain not Tate Modern.

In the Tate Modern there is currently the Pop Life exhibition which focuses on how in the last 40 odd years art and commerce have become increasing intertwined. Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst may be decades apart but both have used their name to make a lot of money.

And there is a near twin focus, with 1960s New York and 1990s London and the boom's in art around those two artists and times.

At this point feel ought to repeat the warning in the publicity blurb: when it talks about challenging nature of some galleries they are not kidding. It's not often one can say this but it really was a relief to get to Damien Hirst's calf pickled in formaldehyde!

It's a shame as modern art can be great. In the Tate Britain there was a lovely sculpture called Cold Corners (below) made of aluminium box tubing that picks its way along the grand central halls like an exotic creature from Doctor Who.

It's a temporary commission, only installed until the 29th November, but if it was up to me it's artist Eva Rothschild would get the Turner Prize.

Taking the Tate Boat

The Tate Boat is a great way to get between the Tate Modern and Tate Britain.

It's one of the many clipper cats that are used to travel up and down the Thames and those with Oyster cards can get a discount. The blurb on the Tate web site here (that includes the timetable) says something about the interior being designed by Damien Hirst, though couldn't see it myself.

On the way it passes a lot of the top 50 things mentioned on my ultimate walk by the Thames but starts a bit further upriver near Vauxhall Bridge. The Tate Britain pier is almost exactly equally spaced between the two British spy centres - James Bond's MI6 in Vauxhall Cross (above) and in the other direction Spooks's MI5 in Thames House.

So behave!

Friday, October 09, 2009

A day off

Tillerman recently raised the subject of whether more is less or vice versa for your sailing blogger, but there seems to be another problem.

How can you be a sailing / kayaking blogger if you don't go out on the water? This year there's been a rather a lot of land based activity and much of that in offices which are mostly very boring and nothing at all like The Office (US version, not UK).

But today worked out there were no meetings or backlog of documents to write so switched off the alarm and woke at the same time wondering when it was going to go off.

And yet didn't go out on the water. Ok, partly because its gone all Autumnal with grey clouds and rain in the afternoon, partly as use club boats rather than buying my own, and partly 'cos the rain earlier this week that O'Docker warned about no doubt led to another sewage overflow event. Not only was the bubbler out again (above) but the EU is actually going to take legal action - enough is enough!

Instead did a day in the London Tate's catching two exhibitions in the Tate Britain and one in the Tate Modern, and took the excellent shuttle boat between the two.

Hey - how about that! Did get out on the water after all!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Blog Code of the Woosters

In addition to yesterday's guest writer, A. R. Port, we were lucky to get on the ouija board the legendary P. G. Wodehouse who came up with this interpretation of the missing blog post:

It's all very well Jeeves appearing without sound or warning but it's a dash disconcerting to be woken by a cough at one's bed side, however reserved and polite it might be.

"Good afternoon sir, I have brought you a refreshing cup of tea".

I should explain that the previous night the Drones had had the sending off party for O Docker, and quite a pippin it turned out to be. Turned out the cove was a writer of something called a blog but even though he explained it to me several times it still made as little sense as a one of those frightful plays Honoria Glossop once dragged me to.

But for an American he was a solid chap and no doubt now he would on the deck of the latest super liner heading west, his head a lot clearer and throbbing a lot less than mine due to the influence of all that bracing sea air.

The tea having its required refreshing effect I ventured to open communications "Thank you Jeeves".

"And what should I do with these pictures sir?" he asked.


"These, sir" he said, and then I saw the bedroom was packed with these canvases, all of boats with sails set, looking they were racing or something. Made me quite sea sick just to look at them.

"Very tastful sir, but a significant change from the rest of your collection".

By now the little cogs were beginning to get moving. "By jove Jeeves, it's coming back to me: O Docker sold them to me last night".

"Indeed". There was a hint of frost in his voice that made me think that Jeeves did not approve of our writer from across the pond. "And what are we to do with them? They would not be right for your apartment, sir".

For a moment I wondered if it was worth putting my foot down. After all I employ him, dash it, but then I saw a way out.

"We can give them to JP, he's into this sailing lark". I should explain that JP was this frightful blighter who had asked me to do a spot of yachting with him but had forgotten a crew or drinks mixer and kept asking me to pull some rope or other. Don't think he'd been to either Eton or Oxford.

"I will attend to it immediately sir".

Monday, October 05, 2009

The lost blog post

Following the previous post about the cryptic note that might or might not describe an interesting blog post, we had a reply from that well known thriller writer Mr A.R.Port. He not just writes airport novels but also writes then in airports, which alas means that the bulk of the manuscript (which I imagine has in some way a sailing element) is now somewhere in Heathrow Terminal 3 apart from this:

At 9.23 pm, within the 144 year old wood framed house in Georgetown, Washington DC, that was his office, Dexter Langley was examining the parchment that had reached him through his agents within the Templar Scribes.

He frowned and with his customary decisiveness picked up the phone. "Get in here, Pennyweather!" he barked and replaced the handset, turning back to the green beige of his desk on which lay the jumble of words on a scrap of paper that had so far baffled him.

Could this be the missing link to the ancient order that had prophesied the internet back in the pre-Christian Caucasus? Were the Numerologists just a legend?

Dexter remembered his last quest, as expedition librarian to the Bulgarian monasteries where an old monk had recited stories of myths that had been forgotten before time began.

There was a knock on the door and then a young woman entered, with long dark hair and luscious brown eyes. Patricia Pennyweather was on assignment from the British Museum and he suspected her frowns were a sign she looked down her nose at his more physical approach to book archival.

"Come here Patricia - this is going to knock your socks off" he called without looking round.

She sniffed: how could he not notice that she was wearing stockings under the figure hugging Versace dress she had purchased by scraping and saving, making her own pack lunches rather than eating in the two star Michelin restaurant hidden in the secret annex of the British Library reserved for the exclusive use by the Queen's own librarians?

"What have you found?" she asked then gasped as she spotted what lay under the light of Dexter's desk lamp, which had once been owned by Ted Kennedy and given to Dexter for his work in avoiding armageddon by recovering the Chappaquiddick codex.

"Yes, this could be it, the big one. If this were known half the secret societies in the world would be heading for this room, and for all we know they probably are"

She looked closely and read the faded words in archaic Babylonian. "'Blog writer o docker & tasteful pics' - but what does it mean?"

"I'm not sure, but there's something hidden here that is revealed under strong UV light - two letters that look like 'JP'".

"JP....JP" she repeated, her full red lips pouting with each syllable.

Suddenly Dexter banged his fist on the table that shuddered under such a mighty blow powered by the strength that comes from much dedication in the gym and a life on the trail of the world's most hidden texts.

"It's not JP at all - its IP!"

Patricia gasped - "As in TCP/IP, the corner stone of the internet! The Numerologists!!"

Dexter's eyes met Patricia's, both aflame with excitement. "TCP!" they cried as one.

"Yes" said Dexter "I think its time to make a visit to TCP, otherwise known as the Honourable Order of Garglers!"

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Ellen MacArthur retires on Desert Island Discs

The morning Ellen MacArthur announced her retirement on that long standing British institution, Desert Island Discs.

The Vendee Globe sailor and round the world record breaker is to switch her attention from competitive sailing to protecting the environment. It was on a visit to South Georgia as part of the campaign to protect the albatross that she had one of those life changing moments, when she began to get scared.

A woman who was fearless in the southern oceans became, like me in this post, increasingly scared about our future - that our planet that seemed so huge when she was just a 4 years old is finite and increasingly struggling under the load of billions of humans.

And so a new life begins as a campaigner for planet Earth.

It was also interesting to hear on Desert Island Discs what her 8 choices were, namely:
  • OutKast - Hey Ya!
  • Don Henley - The Boys of Summer (Ellen's fav)
  • Phil Collins - I wish it would rain down
  • Manu Chao - Me Gustas Tu
  • Thomas Newman - Any other name
  • Dido - Here with me
  • Spandau Ballet - Through the Barricades
  • Coldplay - Fix you
One of the strengths of the program is that the music is chosen not just for its own sake but also its associations, which then helps explain part of the guest's life. So for example the Manu Chao was for a time when she was training with Foncia in France.

These associations can be very personal, and not always obvious. For example the Dido Here with Me reminds her of the Vendee Globe, but not because she listened to it on the way round. Rather it was the sound track of a documentary made about her voyage, in particular for the home coming.

So its a retrospective memory association - a bit like how our memories of a holiday become over time more and more based upon the photos and videos we took there and look at afterwards.

Strangely enough having seen that documentary I have exactly the same association and when ever hear that song of Dido I think of Ellen finishing the Vendee too.

If you have a chance, it's well worth listening to the program on the BBC iPlayer.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Cracking the code

O Docker has recently written about the dangers of the blogging in the twilight hours, when shadows become monsters and fancies spill into type to be posted to a waking world.

My main thought at 2 am (if any) is when oh when will I be able to get to sleep like sensible folk, but there is another problem that does makes me wonder the next day what I could have been thinking of.

Every now and then an idea for a blog post comes into my head, and its not usually when at laptop with Chrome (my browser of choice) up and running, but rather while I am up and running, for example jogging along the Thames path.

And to try to keep those ideas for posterity I'll make a rough note on my iPhone, jotting a few words that summarise the concept.

Many of these post ideas remain sadly on the list for a long, long time, like the unread book left on the shelf, always second place to the more interesting more exciting latest thing.

But one idea was pure gold, humorous yet meaningful, and I was looking forward to expanding it into a full post. Except I had forgotten what it was and the iPhone note meant nothing to me and remains cryptic to this day.

Hence I must throw this problem to the wider community - can you help and suggest what I would have said if I hadn't forgotten it.

The iPhone note that is our only clue is as follows: "Blog writer o docker & tasteful pics"

You can see it must have been a good one, probably involving San Francisco sailors / writers and mermaids.

Feel free to reply in any style or format that you feel is appropriate whether fictional or non-fictional.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Congratulations Rio!

Many congratulations to Rio de Janerio for winning the race to host the 2016 Olympics.

Seeing the official video (above) made me go slightly glassy eyed and nostalgic, remembering my trips to that fabulous city and dig up old photos.

A city that has the spectacular scenery of Sydney, the energy of New York, and music of Chicago all wrapped up into one deserved to win.

Of course the city has its problems - in the conference that brought me there first time there were 6 muggings between the 120ish delegates.

But I wasn't one of them, and had instead a fantastic time.

So maybe I should find a way to get involved in the 2012 games & help bring London and Rio closer together!

Blown Away at the gallery@oxo

Another day, another meeting, but this time with a twist - no one had any sailing connections.

But fortunately the office was just round the corner from the gallery@oxo where there was the "Blown Away" exhibition.

This showed the work of top photographer Robert Wilson who was commissioned to capture Britain's top Olympic sailors at the 2012 Weymouth and Portland sailing centre.

A good day to talk about the Olympics, and well worth dropping in for a viewing on the South Bank between now and Sunday.

For those for whom central London isn't convenient this weekend worry not - you can see it all on-line by clicking here.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Drifting is not sailing

The weather in London town over the last few weeks has been a wonderful combination of warm sun and blue skies, which has made going for those jogs along the river a lot more welcoming than in the usual autumnal showers.

But it has had its downside, particularly last weekend when was going to go for a sail but there wasn't enough wind to worry a nervous candle.

So I'm not quite sure how these boats managed to get down to Putney embankment - I suspect there was a lot of tiller waggling and maybe even safety boat nudges as they drifted with the tide and current.

Maybe that's what I want to believe, as could have been one of them but in the end my comfy chair was too comfy, particularly with coffee in one hand and Sunday papers in the other. It may be a bad excuse but work has been a bit intense recently, even with the discovery that half of my meetings have involved Laser or America's Cup sailors.

So instead went for a cycle down the Thames path instead.....