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Latest reply: Jul 12, 2014

Messing About in Boats

For some time now I've been trying to get up to speed with paddling a kayak well enough to make a viable entry into the Devizes to Westminster Race. So far I haven't got to the point where I could enter with a reasonable prospect of finishing. This last year has been one of peaks and troughs in training which went quite well during the summer, until real life intervened in a big way in November, when circumstances beyond my control cut any meaningful training to zero for more than two months. On top of that heavy rain since Christmas, through January and up to date has meant that I’ve had no practice on the Thames at all as it's in full spate with red warning boards displayed continuously. The upshot is that I've lost pretty much all of the fitness I'd gained over the last year and consequently have again decided to put the DW on the back burner again.

Last year I was woefully under prepared. I thought then that a years training would be good enough to see me through the race this coming Easter, and although I've done a lot more this year, the continual interruptions to training means that I still haven't much hope of catching up and getting fit for this Easter's race. I've also had to accept that it's just an unfortunate fact of life that this body doesn't respond as well as it once did. Everything takes longer and a lot more effort these days to get fit, and more to the point, keep that fitness, than it used to.

Last year I did have one minor success though, which was that I put in almost 300 miles which has been enough to allow me to claim the British Canoe Union Silver award for touring mileage in a year. So, with that in mind I've now changed tack a bit, and this year I intend to have a go for the BCU Gold award. That will mean paddling 500 miles by Christmas which averages out at (weirdly enough) 42 miles each month. As I have previously done 50 miles in a month, and 42 is 'The Answer', I think that it should be do-able. This January I put in 39 miles despite atrocious weather and flooding on the local rivers, so although I'm already behind by three miles at the moment, I'm sure that can be made up as and when the weather improves.

The good thing is though, that it's all experience, and what is needed more than anything else is a consistent, steady paddling action that can be maintained for some hours. I had it within my grasp a couple of months ago but that’s something which I now need to recoup and improve on. Hopefully that will come with that sort of mileage. So... a minimum of 42 miles a month, and see where that gets me by the end of the year.

Discuss this Journal entry [24]

Latest reply: Feb 9, 2014

Quote of the Week

Eastenders : 29 Nov 2013

Oh! Please don't tell me you came back to Walford to get your hands on my son's kidneys?

Bloody typical

smiley - laugh

Discuss this Journal entry [1]

Latest reply: Nov 29, 2013

A Surfeit of Pumpkins

I seem to have rather overdone it with the Pumpkins.

Earlier this year I thought that I'd try to grow something different in the way of vegetables. One of the choices was the giant Pumpkin. Having never tried that type of veggie before and that I use a lot of rather expensive Pumpkin seeds in breadmaking, it seemed a good choice.

I originally planted ten seeds in individual pots, of which seven germinated. I discarded the two weakest looking ones and in June planted out two in the back garden veggie plot and the other three at the allotment, with the intention of culling the weakest to leave one plant at each location.

In July and August I stood back in amazement as all five plants went ballistic covering yards of ground with giant leaves and tendrils. In the back garden the two plants had soon taken over almost the complete veggie plot. But I didn’t have the heart to choose between them as they both headed for the lawn. Eventually though it was either them or me, so one had to go. I reprieved the one with the largest fruit nearest the root and regretfully upped the other. Back at the allotment all three were heading for the neighbouring plot, so I pulled out the shortest one and trained the other two around in a square. Eventually I had to cut off one after the first fruit but let the other go where it may.

The upshot of all this is that now I have six giant Pumpkins. The largest (from the allotment) weighs in at 34 lbs while four, of various sizes, came from the other allotment plant. The second largest, weighing 31lbs comes from the home patch.

I’ve just hollowed the largest one out for the front doorstep (Trick or Treat night tonight) and have just found that the seeds are also ’giant’ and unusable for breadmaking, so I now need to find some recipes for about 50lbs of Pumpkin flesh.

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Latest reply: Oct 31, 2013

I Suppose that it was Inevitable Really...

...that the BBC will axe 'The Sky at Night' programme just a year after Sir Patrick Moore's death.

The wording ‘Plans for subsequent series are being discussed’ is bringing on a definite bout of deja-vu.
Having experienced the h2g2 debacle I can feel a certain foreboding as to where the ultimate fate of The Sky at Night is heading.

I can accept that Patrick Moore was S@N, and S@N was Patrick Moore, but the new incumbents seem to be making a fair job of keeping the longest running programme of its type going in keeping with its history. But to cancel what I think is the only programme of its type on current astronomical affairs, seems to just ignore amateur astronomers.

It can’t be the savings in costs as the budget must be a miniscule. No doubt it’s a bit too old fashioned for the current beeb, or maybe it doesn’t have a big enough audience, or maybe , it’s a bit too highbrow, or even, perish the thought, it ‘informs and entertains’ a bit too much.

Like many others I was inspired by this programme from way back. It actually got me out into the back garden with binoculars and telescope. I was sorry to see the old guy go and I’ll be sorry to see his programme go as well.

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Latest reply: Oct 8, 2013

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