Last night Mum and I were digging through old family photos because the YTV team wanted to include them in the documentary. We came across some achingly bad poems I wrote when I was about seven. I reproduce one below for your excruciation. Note totally random reference to a cow in the last line. I don't know, so don't ask.
And by the way, it's my birthday today. I'm 39, so I guess this is the last birthday I will ever own up to. I will now be 39 forever.
I'm doing Christmas shopping,
My bags nearly popping.
Theres so many things to choose,
It really gets me quite confused.
I think I'll get some learning letters
No a farm set would be better.
I think I'll go and see the lights,
They really will be a delight.
I've got all the presents now,
So I think I'll go home, to feed the cow!
15 solo rowboats started out across the Atlantic on 19th November, racing from Saint Louis, Senegal to Saint Laurent, French Guyana in the Rames-Guyane Race 2006. Five have already retired from the race, but what really caught my eye is that the rower in second place, with just 775 miles to go, is a woman - Sophie Mace, aged 46.
Dammit - there go all my excuses about women being slower rowers. Only kidding. Fantastic effort, Sophie - go for it girl!!
Today was spent performing for the cameras, on the water and off. YTV are making a documentary about my Atlantic row as part of their successful series 'Is It Worth It?'. Today we recorded action shots and interviews to supplement the footage I shot on the ocean.
This morning I was out on the water in a foggy Roundhay Park. We were greeted by Richard from the recently-formed Leeds Rowing Club, who offered me the choice of a beginner's boat or a racing shell. I'm now used to boats that are 6 feet wide and uncapsizeable so the beginner's boat looked reassuringly stable, but hey, I'm brave enough to row an ocean - bring on the racing shell!
The boat is about 8 inches wide and relies on the oars for stability. If I 'caught a crab' with one oar I'd be in the water and swimming. I wobbled off nervously, reckoning that if I was going to fall in I may as well do it on camera and immortalise my embarrassment.
But I stayed dry and actually rather enjoyed it. In no time I was skimming around the lake while Tony the cameraman worked up a sweat keeping up with me with his huge camera.
Then it was back to Mum's house so Mum and I could be interviewed on whether we thought my Atlantic row 'was worth it'. My answer? You'll have to wait for the show to go out in February to find out.
Apologies for long radio silence - I had been posting my blogs via my mobile phone, but for some reason I lost my Gmail capability a few days ago. And I could probably have fixed it, but I was busy having fun and/or travelling. So there you go!
Today I arrived in foggy, frosty, England. The bottom half of the country was foggy - when we touched down at Gatwick Airport I thought we were still up in the clouds when suddenly we were on the runway, barely able to see as far as the wingtips in the thick fog. The top half of the country was frosty and sunny and beautiful in a very un-Mexican way.
It was an epic journey, involving 9 different stages and taking 42 hours. That's what happens when you book flights from an airport in the hope that your sailing trip will get you there in time - it always goes wrong. Still, nothing an 11-hour overnight bus ride can't put right.
And no matter how many planes, trains and automobiles were involved, it was important to get home to spend Christmas with my mother. This time last year I was bobbing around on the Atlantic, so I owed her one.
[Photo: me in Zihuatanejo bus station, 4:45am. Note sleeping Mexican in the background.]