I was interviewed by two TV channels tonight - stage fright the first time through (although according to kindhearted friends I hid it well) but was getting it sussed by the second time. Having learned from experience that there's no such thing as hair and makeup for the average interviewee, I'd spent the afternoon in New-ID getting groomed (a very unfamiliar state) and arrived looking reasonably presentable, unlike the last time on TV - see photo.
Although at least that time, on Brainteaser I came away £750 richer...
23 Jul 2005, Emsworth
Patrick Pearson specialises in teaching the Alexander Technique to rowers. When I met him at Henley I was deeply sceptical about AT. It seemed to require being deeply in touch with what's happening in your body - and my body and mind seem be on non-speakers. When my osteopath was inflicting unnatural contortions on me and asking, "Can you feel that release?" I'd had to confess that I'd felt diddly-squat.
But now I may have to revise my opinions. Patrick drove from Wales to Emsworth to give me an AT session, and it was a revelation. The basic principle of AT is that the mind and body are one and do not operate independently of one another. It emphasises Primary Control - a desirable, expansive, dynamic relationship between the head, neck and back, which affects all other co-ordinations and movements.
In practical terms, this means it feels damned good. I can see why the expansive relationship between head, neck and back is desirable - it felt akin to a two-hour massage. After a laying-on-of-hands, I felt taller and straighter and poised.
I became aware that most of my adult life I've walked around with my head crunching down towards my torso, like a tortoise. Because of the mind/body link, when my head is up and my neck relaxed but straight, I feel so much better.
Try it - it works!
22 Jul 2005, Evening Standard, London
She hated sport at school and only took up rowing at university so she could eat more without getting fat. Now Roz Savage, 37, is about to row solo across the Atlantic after resigning from her job in the City.
"I wanted a big challenge and I reckon this is as big as they get," said the Oxford law graduate. "I have done the married, salaried, mortgage thing and I am moving off in a new direction. I wanted to find out what I am capable of. This is the ultimate test of self-sufficiency.
"Someone told me if you don't keep expanding your comfort zone it doesn't stay the same, it shrinks. I now think of it as this big bubble around me and I have to keep running around so it doesn't shrink-wrap me."
Roz, who has already run two marathons and joined an archaeology expedition to Peru, is training to compete in the Atlantic Rowing Race and trying to raise £30,000 for the Prince's Trust.
She will set off from the Canary Islands on 27 November for Antigua in the West Indies, almost 3,000 miles away, rowing up to 16 hours a day.
"Luckily, I'm quite self-reliant and quite happy with my own company," she said.
"I have 10,000 songs on my iPod that will help lift me when I have tough days but I think there will be a lot of really nice things about being out there - the peace and quiet, serenity and solitude."
It is a far cry from her career as an international project manager for investment bank UBS.
She said, "When my then husband and I bought a big house in Kew it was meant to be the final piece in the jigsaw puzzle of happiness.
"It looked like everything was happy and secure for the future but at that point I realised I wanted something more out of life.
"I reacted against the whole materialistic culture. Now I don't even own a suit."
21 Jul 2005, Emsworth
This is Tim Gilmore of Dolphin Quay Boatyard, where Solo will live while Tim's men and I get her ready for the ocean. As luck would have it they've worked on an ocean rowing boat before - David Pearce's Petrel - so Solo couldn't be in better hands.
Another Tim - Tim Davies of Simrad - rang this afternoon to say they've got my new marine instruments ready for me, and they're going to get them all wired up on a demo bench so I can see how it all works before tackling the installation myself. These instruments will tell me my position, speed, course, wind direction - figures that will be of all-consuming importance during the race, with the power to cause elation or depression.
Speaking of depression, earlier today I was feeling rather despondent after a particularly negative comment from someone at the yacht club. On hearing about my timescales and how much still needs to be done, he said, 'Crikey, I'd be panicking if I were you.' Not very helpful. 'Well, it's just as well you aren't me, then,' I said, and absented myself before he could further dent my morale. Comments like that we don't need.
Progress isn't linear. I grind away for days and weeks with little evident progress, then in the space of a few hours there's a sudden surge of activity and everything falls into place. Onwards and upwards!