It all seemed to be going so well. After yesterday's last-minute decision to go to the Maui Writers' Conference in Hawaii, Team Roz really pulled out all the stops to help me get there fully prepared.
I didn't want to turn up empty-handed. The objective of the exercise is to schmooze the attendant literary agents and/or publishers. I needed a seriously impressive book proposal to hand out.
But my book proposal was still far from ready. Ellen Hawkes, my advisor in all matters literary, had made a lot of suggestions for improvement that needed to be implemented.
Impossible deadlines have a marvellous ability to focus the mind, and in 3 hours of intense mental activity and much typing, I had a proposal that met with Ellen's approval.
I also decided I wanted 10 copies of my Atlantic rowing videos on DVD to include in the package, as the videos seem to provoke a definite reaction in all who see them (varying from 'you must be mad' to 'wow').
Luckily Lex at Riekes Center for Human Enhancement was able to help out.
Then there were labels to print out - for the folder and for the DVD's, so it was off to the Palo Alto Apple Store to buy Disc Cover, and to Staples to buy labels, folders and printer paper.
With a lot of expenditure and a bit of difficulty (WHY won't Hawaiian Airlines accept British credit cards?) I managed to sort the logistics - flights, hotel, and conference badge.
So I was looking all shipshape and ready to go. Then I found that there was a problem with the sound on the DVD's, my laptop (with all my logistical info) wouldn't sync to my palmtop... and then to top it all I pulled a muscle in my lower back.
A case of more haste, less speed, maybe.
My calendar is now available online, so everybody (including me) can keep up with where I am. To view it, go to the option on the menu bar called 'Roz:Live', and select 'Calendar'. Et voila!
Thanks to my webmaster, Tim of WebExpeditions for setting this up, and for dealing with the mountain of spam that hit my email account yesterday, temporarily rendering it unusable. Normal service has now been resumed.
When Roz was rowing across the Atlantic, she occasionally allowed Monty the teddy bear to write a dispatch. It seems that I am being granted the same privilege. The picture shows Roz on an early expedition of exploration, with her first set of wheels Attempting to sample a dahlia bud she managed to tip the thing over into the flower border. Fortunately she survived, or she would not have been rowing the Atlantic earlier this year.
She still keeps me busy collecting press cuttings, helping to get her boat shipped to the USA, dealing with mail and loads of other things. The latest media coverage was in the Daily Telegraph this week, in the Sports section. You can see a copy of it in her Gallery available by clicking on Gallery (naturally) on her home page. Then look for UK articles.
I will in due course be adding more pictures to her gallery, once we have sorted out a couple of teething problems with the technology. It makes me feel a bit of a dummy. Sorry for the puns, I must have babies on my mind! Only in pictures, of course.
Many people ask me, or tell me, about being very proud of what Roz has achieved. Yes, indeed I do, but in many ways we were so closely involved in the whole project that I feel a bit guilty about admitting to pride. Many a time, though, when she was struggling with her epic row across the ocean, I could not help but think: "Whatever gave you the idea that you could do this?" A lot of other people had the same thoughts and are still amazed that she did it. It remains a remarkable feat. I enjoy talking to people about the row, and showing the DVD that she made for me of her talk here in Leeds last June. It is fascinating to see their reaction when they see the video clip of her crawling over the fore-cabin to cut the line to the sea anchor. They almost climb out of their seats to want to help her! Do look at the video clips also available on her website Gallery.
Today I went to meet the folks of the South End Rowing Club. These guys and gals are hardcore. They row and swim in the waters of the harbour. I was introduced to someone who had just swum the English Channel. I felt like a right wimp in comparison.
I was given a tour of their historic boathouse, right next to Fisherman's Wharf, a mere dolphin's spit away from the Golden Gate Bridge.
After a slap-up breakfast at a local Irish pub, I wandered down to the waterfront to contemplate the bridge. The fog was hanging low over the top of the pylons, and a strong onshore wind was stopping a skein of birds in their tracks. But the chill I felt wasn't just from the weather.
This time next year, this is where it will all start from. Knowing what I now know about how tough it can be out there, it's a daunting prospect. And it will be all the harder because of the great friends I will be leaving behind.