400 schoolboys and 70 staff made up my largest audience to date when I gave a presentation at Woodberry Forest School on Monday night.
If it had been 400 boys from an inner city school this might have been a rather scary prospect, this might have been scary. But Woodberry is as far removed from inner city as... an ocean rower is from shore.
At dinner the boy sitting next to me called me "Ma'am", which made me feel about 80 years old, or like the Queen (which come to think of it is the same thing), but apparently I am now in the South and it is quite normal to call any woman "Ma'am" if she's older than your sister. Once I stopped taking the Ma'am-ing as any reflection on my age, I rather got to like it as a bit of good old-fashioned Southern courtesy.
My presentation after dinner seemed to be very well received. I was very flattered to hear it described as "awesome" by the first of the gaggle of teenagers that appeared onstage afterwards to ask me more questions.
Huge thanks to all the boys and staff at Woodberry Forest School for their warm welcome - with special thanks to Matt Boesen, Deb Caughran and Abigail James for setting up the arrangements.
[photo: Quackers outside my elegant guest house at Woodberry Forest School]
Last week in DC, I met up with Margo Pellegrino, who in just a couple of months will set off to row an outrigger canoe from Miami to Maine - to bring attention to one of the most critical problems the entire world faces - the future of our oceans.
In many ways, we have much in common - both women, both 5 ft 5in (ish), both 39 years old, both keen to raise awareness of environmental issues, and both paddling - one forwards, one backwards, one east coast from town to town, one west coast - straight out! And both keen to support each other.
Margo is an amazing woman - buzzing with energy, and passionate about her environmental cause. She has hooked up with an incredible array of environmental charities, trains like a maniac, looks as lean and fit as a greyhound - and all this while also being a good wife and mother to two young children. Yay - I have it easy!
She sets out on May 5th this year, just 2 days before her 40th birthday. Check out her website, and give her your support!
Last night I was in Michigan, giving a presentation on behalf of the Headwaters Trail, now I am back in Washington DC, and tomorrow I shall be in Virginia. I am loving this, but am also starting to feel a bit like "Today is Sunday, so I must be in ....". But that's my life - have truck, will travel!
[Photo: in Fenton, MI, with Chuck and Sue Julian]
23 Mar 2007, Leeds, UK
This was the title used by Yorkshire TV for a half-hour documentary they presented about Roz and her row across the Atlantic. It was the second part of their series entitled "Is it worth it?" It was first shown on British TV, channel 3 on 12th of March. It seems likely that it will be shown again on Thursday March 29th in the Yorkshire
area at 11.30pm. Viewers in that area are advised to check the listings.
Many people have made comments to me about the documentary, and expressed their amazement at how she coped with the adventure. Although Roz says that it was the hardest thing that she had ever done, the message comes over clearly that it was indeed worth it
In preparation for the film, Roz and I were filmed in Roundhay Park in Leeds and the picture shows the lakeside cafeteria in the background and a little bit of frozen snow on the path. A week or two later the cafeteria was badly damaged by fire. Nothing has been said about the boathouse, which is located beneath the cafeteria. I trust that it has survived. It was in a boat belonging to the Rowing Club based there that Roz was seen rowing in part of the film.