12 Jun 2005, Emsworth
1967 December 23rd
Was when the first dulcet tones of Rosalind were heard
Her parents grinned like Cheshire cats but little did they know
That she was born to run and climb and row and row and row.
Her parents were both Methodists, they preached the Wesley way
That is partly why she is the lass she is today.
Perhaps their fishy sermons drove their pretty little daughter
To believe she had the strength to almost walk on water
At school she wasn't sporty but that changed quite a bit
At Oxford when she said that it was time that she got fit
A bank tub by the boat house was where this girl with pluck
First discovered that her motions weren't just strokes of luck
With two half blues behind her she took part in a trip
Around the Aegean in a Greek style battleship
It obviously was primitive, with 170 crew,
I'd like to know what happens when you're desperate for the loo.
Not content with boats and blades or sailing in the wind
There was something more in store for racy Rosalind
In two important marathons Roz could not go wrong
Even though her feet became as corny as this song.
Just to ease the boredom in the year 2003
She enlisted in the Royal Geographical Society
While other girls her age were fast becoming social drinkers
She was scouring rain forests in search of long lost Incas.
Then, as normal people do when they have nought to do,
She spent three months on her own trekking round Peru
Three Peaks in Peru became the title of her book
'Three peeks?' I am sure she must have had a longer look
Her adventures kicked off at the age of 34
She had worked in offices and knew that there was more
Roz's thirst for knowledge will have many passages
She may even learn her ancestors were savages
In the Atlantic boat race she'll be on her own
Roz says that she's doing it to grow her comfort zone
We admire your courage; we think that you're so brave
Just to make you feel at home here's a great big wave.
(at which point everybody put their arms in the air and gave a big double-handed wave...)
Song composed by John Preston, and performed by him at the charity breakfast presentation that took place in the City on 7th June.
07 Jun 2005, London EC3
Things are moving - fast! Gave a breakfast presentation in the City to an audience of insurance executives. Lord Butler very kindly added an entertaining rallying cry to urge generosity towards my charities and my expedition. Charlotte Young of the Princes Trust added a few words about how they will use the funds raised by my row.
Then it was off to a meeting at the Lloyds Building - brokers Besso introduced me to their marine underwriters, Catlin, who have offered to cover my precious, beautiful boat against total loss. They can get this sorted before I go to Devon on Friday to collect the Solo from the boatbuilder who has been fitting her hatches and rudder.
Six months to go, and the momentum is building. Exciting times ahead - watch this space!
31 May 2005, The Isis, Oxford
I am back in Oxford, on the bank of the Isis, watching the Summer Eights bumps races. The last time I was here I was taking part, and it was 18 years ago. Argh! How old does THAT make me feel?!
Some things change - the old Univ boathouse burned down 6 years ago, blades are now cleavers rather than macons, and all the rowers are clad in lycra - still considered very modern and rather risque in 1989.
But other things don't change - the surge of adrenaline I still get when the starter's gun fires; the determined grimaces on the rowers' faces; coaches whizzing along the towpath on bicycles with scant regard for their own or anybody else's safety.
This is where I started my rowing career, long before I dreamed of rowing an ocean.
The objective of bumps racing is to catch up with and then hit the boat in front. Once contact is made both crews stop rowing, and the next day they swap places in the starting order.
A good crew with a fast start might only have to row fewer than 100 strokes in the whole 4 days of racing... compared with the million strokes or so it will take me to get across the Atlantic.
27 May 2005, Emsworth, Hampshire
I've been skulking.
It may have appeared from my website that I've been on board Steamy Windows all this time, but in fact I got back 10 days ago. I'm now living in a rented cottage in Emsworth, Hampshire, and have been keeping a low profile while I got myself sorted out and settled in.
This is going to be the perfect base for the summer - I'll be keeping my boat on the Thorney Island army base, just a few minutes' bike ride away, and also using the gym there.
Next month the guys there are giving me one-to-one tuition for my mandatory First Aid At Sea course, skipping over things I won't need (bit hard to do mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on myself...) and focusing on more useful things, like how to stitch up my own wounds, pull a tooth, and deal with blisters and saltwater boils.
A friend has negotiated on my behalf to get a substantial discount at the Emsworth Chandlery for all my boat supplies. Within 5 minutes of my front door I've got butcher, baker, greengrocer, library, train station... and a dangerous number of good pubs.
Emsworth is a gorgeous little coastal village (see photo) and I already feel very at home here. If it wasn't for the exciting prospect of the Atlantic Rowing Race (START DATE 6 MONTHS TODAY!!!) there'd be a serious danger of me getting much too comfortably ensconced here to ever leave.