Sunday, January 12, 2014

London Boat Show 2014: the rest

Captions please! I have absolutely no idea what is going on here between the RYA's mascot and the Royal Marines.

Currently I've got a cough like a sea lion with double pneumonia so simply posting a few photos from last weekend's trip to the boat show.

This sub looks particularly James Bond worthy:
This is the boat show as seen through the window of a gin palace:
Finally Buff Staysail was in good form reminiscing about a Boat Show a few years ago when he arranged to meet three different women at three different bars:
But of course who can believe that.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

London Boat Show 2014: the boats

You can't have a boat show without boats - I'm pretty sure about that. And even though the London Boat Show seems to be shrinking year by year there are still plenty of good boats to check out.

For starts, out on what once were the London Docks was a couple of classic boats. Above is the fire boat the Massey Shaw all powered up and there was no takers in its water fight challenge. The Massey Shaw was build in 1935 and saw service in WW2 at both Dunkirk and also the blitz in London, most likely around these very docks.
Further down the quay was the motor tug Kent:
There was also a Challenge 72 and the Thames barge Melissa (I so want to sail a Thames barge);
Inside was one of those cross-oceans rowing boats, here the Coxless Crew:
Sounds much too much like hard work for me but good luck to all four rowers

If I had a magic wish to go on any boat at the show then my choice would be this Extreme 40:
To quote Jeremy Clarkson "MORE POWER!!"

And it appears I'm not the only one as none other than Sir Ben Ainslie is including sailing Extreme 40s in his busy schedule.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

London Boat Show 2014: the people

The London Boat Show continues to shrink, with ever fewer stands. But still I go as I keep finding reasons to be there.

First up there were the people met, such as Tom Cunliffe (above) giving a talk at the World Cruising Club stand on how you can sail away for less than you might think. We had a very brief chat about Greenland which we both had recently sailed to.

Immediately after him was Will Stirling (below) talking about the expedition to row to the magnetic north pole (among other things). At a previous boat show I met the expedition leader Jock Wishart. Will is currently aiming to sail around the offshore lighthouses of Britain in a dinghy.
Then there was Sam Llewellyn, writer of many a good sailing novel and editor of the Marine Quarterly, a subscription to which I received at Christmas.

And finally there was the chance to catch up with Stokey Woodall who I met last year and who gave a talk on celestial navigation including the star clock. I told him I'd worked out why the answer was 41.5 and promised to email him its derivation (which I did).

Those four chats were an excellent start - but what about the boats....?

Monday, January 06, 2014

London's top four outdoor ice rinks

So after four years study here are four of London's top outdoor ice rinks for those winter months.

1. Somerset House (above). The original and the best. Lovely size and location, often sold out for a good reason.

2. Hampton Court (below). Another great location and less crowded, plus you can visit Henry VIII's palace or go on the river (except when its flooded)
3. Tower of London (below). This is where I had that horrid prang which sort of put me off it but its an unbeatable location though of course a bit touristy:
4. The Natural History Museum (below). Bit small but handy for those in SW London and there are dinosaurs next door and as we know everything is better with a dinosaur:
Any favourite rinks out there that I've missed?

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Twelfth Night at London's Bankside


Yea, verily it be twelfth night, and old London Town has been visited by the GREEN MAN!

He arrived by boat, the Thames Cutter, Trinity Tide (above), which was rowed by honourable men of great strength for the tide did flow most powerfully.

The ancient and legendary GREEN MAN brings fertility, a promise that SPRING will come again.

And he was welcomed by much crowds and the good and the great of SOUTHWARK:
But some were much afeared, as there were the forces of darkness to be overcome, for BEELZEBUB himself was to be cast out:
Stirred to great words were all present and "Wassail" did cry out not once, not twice, not thrice, but uncountable times, in praise of the RIVER and the GLOBE:

The Globe Wassail

Blowe wind, Globe bear well
Spring well in playing
Every lath and timber
Bear the tongues of poets
Next New Year's summer!


And then with great cheer the good folk of London Town went their separate ways, some by foot and some by the mighty River Thames:

The Boat Wassail

Blowe wind boat bear well
Ride well on the tide
Every beam and every sail
Bear the crew bravely home
Each sailing day!


More from the Lions part here.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Ice Skating at Hampton Court

London is spoilt for choice when it comes to Christmas ice rinks, many at spectacular locations, and over the last few years I've been trying them out.

I only go once or at most twice a year and each year there's a lot of wobbling before even more wobbling and hesitant steps. Ice skating isn't really my thing.

But back in 2012 when skating at the Tower I had this bad fall and damaged the ligaments around my lung, which I really don't recommend, and I was determined not to let it put me off.

So I went down to the highly impressive Hampton Court which was Henry VIII's pad and you could see why he'd want to invite his many girlfriends back to it:
It's on the non-tidal part of the Thames in London and the recent storms meant the river was high and rushing, flooding the banks:
Even though these three photos show a clear sky it did actually rain during the skating session, but only for a short time.

But I didn't mind that: any skate you don't end up in A&E I'd call a good one.

Friday, January 03, 2014

What makes a good year?

It's the time of the review's of 2013 and usually blogging is no exception - except this year we seem to be lacking posts on that subject.

There is a certain degree of the "what I did with my summer holidays" assignment that might people off, but there can be positives.

Sometimes its just the pleasure of going through a year, remembering the good times and places visited.

Sometimes there is real case for celebration, such as the amazing summer of 2012.

But there are also benefits: to spot trends and to help answer that key question for the New Year: what makes a good year?

I think that 2013 was a good year for me because of the travel. Lots of interesting places visited including Vienna, Australia, China, Iceland, Greenland (above) and Geneva.

There was also a lot of good books read during 2013, from the voyages of Mingming, Vikings, Robin Knox-Johnston and Tristan Jones all about sailing to Greenland and the north.

Another theme during the year was photography, with lessons from Rick Tomlinson and a reviews of three cameras.

Of course there was Buff, Sassi and their adventures in show-biz and the America's Cup.

The plans for 2014 are still foggy, but if last year is a guide I should try to include some good travel, sailing to interesting places, good books and a spot of fiction writing too.

What do you think?

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Thought for the New Year

While catching up on the back-log of 2013 photos I realised I hadn't properly organised the stack of pics from Helsinki back in June 2012.

I must have been distracted by a certain major event soon after.

Anyhow I found this image as thought for the New Year.

More humbling than uplifting - and if its the latter you want head over to Windtraveller here.