The slug was chewing on a tasty bit of hedge on the embankment on Tuesday lunchtime, when who should turn up in his Gibbs Aquada amphibious car, but the smiling jumper himself, Richard Branson.

crossing the channel - bit wider than the ThamesAll accompanied by lots of camera action, helicopters overhead and a Chas Newens crew following upstream. Apparently all part of a programme for Fox TV called The Billionaire.

And happliy, no rowing casualties to report...

Of course, of slightly more concern than this one-off stunt is Virgin Atlantic's on-going insistance that they want to use these Amphibious cars to transport business class passengers down the tideway, to and from Heathrow / Central London. Their June 2004 press release stating:

"...Virgin Atlantic plans to introduce the service later in the summer.

Just as with our existing limos, those passengers traveling by Gibbs Aquada will be met off their flights by a chauffeur who will drive them to their home, hotel or office.

But unlike our other limos, when the Gibbs Aquada hits traffic on its way to or from central London the driver simply heads for the nearest slipway and takes to the Thames before rejoining the roads on the final leg of the passenger's journey

More recent enquiries on the status of this accident waiting to happen, were met with the response that things were still "under negotiation", we can only hope the PLA has seen sense and told them to keep off the river upstream of Wandsworth...

With excellent overall results for the GB women's squad and their coaches in Athens and a hard earned gold for the coxless four or as the press insist on referring to them, " Matthew Pinsent and the rowers" (sounds like a 1960 popular young-person's music combo), you can expect more press coverage for our sport than you can shake a stick at, in the next few months.

Pinsent's uncharacteristic Gazza impersonation may even help him in the run for the ubiquitous "BBC sports personality of the year" (after all, the British public like a good show of emotion) and he has an autobiography lined up for publication in the near future (note - he wrote it all by himself -- quite a feat for someone who went to Oxford - ahem)

No doubt Matthew's insights will be featuring on many rowers christmas wish lists, as the book promises to include diary pieces from the pre Athebs build and an extended Athens diary.

The slug can reveal that the London Pride advert, featuring rowers from London Rowing club, will be appearing on your small screens from the 5th September.

Attached (click on thumbnail to the left) is the accompanying poster which will be used in fuller's pubs. Incase you're wondering, the 'featured' rower is Stuart Masterson who was in this year's Thames Cup winning VIII.

Next stop Hollywood..?

Now, we know they haven’t had long to train together, and The slug would really like to think that the boys are just keeping cartons of ribena in the boat, incase they get thirsty, but do Britain’s four best rowers really need to resort to the school boy favourite of straws to sort their hand heights out during the semi-finals??

That must really scare the Canadians………

snippet in the Times:
"No wonder James Cracknell, the rower going for gold agian in the olympics, is so disciplined. He hypnotised his wife, Beverly, through childbirth and was so effective that she felt no pain through her 17-hour labour. "I didn't need any drugs at all," Beverly, 30, a TV pressenter, told Closer magazine. Perhaps Cracknell could now hypnotise his opponents"
Hmmmm....makes you see those straws in a whole different light, doesn't it?

Spotted in the Glasgow Herald recently...
""FIVE times Olympic champion Sir Steve Redgrave has lost his gold. The champion rower, who will be in Glasgow for a major charity event next month, was spotted with a British Airways Silver Card. It seems he had a BA Gold Card, which gives frequent flyers certain privileges, but it was replaced with the silver one because he was not flying enough miles to justify it. With commendable understatement, Sir Steve remarked: "I'm not used to getting silver."

Still, he should clock up some more miles coming to Glasgow for an attempt to set a world record for the greatest number of people taking part in an athletics event with a 24-hour charity relay race for the Evening Times' Yorkhill Hospital Appeal. Further details at www.worldrecordrelay.com"

With another 50,000 tons of raw sewage having just gone into the river Thames this week, you may be wondering what exactly Thames Water think they're doing... well, it looks like you'll have a chance to find out.

Thames Water will be appearing before the London Assembly's Health and Public Services Committee on 14 September to answer questions on the sewage release incident. Some of the key questions to be asked are:

  • Were there any alternatives to flushing 600,000 tonnes of raw sewage into the Thames?
  • How long will it take for the pollution to be washed out of the Thames?
  • What steps need to be taken to prevent such an incident happening again?
  • Was Thames Water aware of the impact on wildlife and potential threat to human health when it released the sewage into the river?
  • What improvements will be made with proposed increase in water charges?

    The session might produce some useful background information, and can be watched on the day by accessing the GLA webcast link - www.london.gov.uk/assembly/webcasts.jsp

    The attached article was published in Nature, and should be interest to those of you think nothing of training 12 times a week... and those coaches who think more is always better...

    The medals and the damage done (PDF file)

    10-08-04 BOYS IN BLUE GO PINK
    The slug was left rubbing its feelers in amazment last weekend...

    Was that really two LRC boys cycling along the Hammersmith towpath past Sons, in their birthday suits on Saturday?

    The slug suspects that this may well have something to do with the contents of an e-mail sent to half the world by one Mr A Fothergill, a couple of weeks ago.

    "I've been asked to spread the word about the annual cycling pub crawl, which I hear will be held on saturday 7th August, leaving the Putney Embankment at midday. The course is to Kew on the Surrey bank, and back to Putney on the Middlesex bank. An enormous day of fun and idiocy, it's not for the faint hearted."
    In a possibly related incident, another London member was also spotted cross dressing in the Dukes Head on Saturday night (so nothing new there then)..

    09-08-04 DIRTY PROTEST?
    Following the depositing of enough sewage to fill thirteen Titanics into the river Thames last week, the river is starting to return to normal upstream of Richmond lock, but the dead fish and sewage continue to make it pretty unpalatable from Kew through to Putney and beyond.

    Land based Hammersmith rowers have even reporting seeing lots of dead rats in the river, however it's amazing just how many members of the general public were allowing their children and dogs to play in the river over the weekend... One rower, who tried to point out to a father (who was letting his toddler have a paddle) that it wasn't a good idea, was told to mind her own "f*cking business".

    Luckily his child appeared to have more sense, and on hearing that the river was full of sewage, shot out of the water, shrieking, as quickly as possible.

    You may think that 600 000 tons is a lot of sewage, but the Environment Agency recently revealed that a total of 20 million tons of untreated waste is routinely pumped into the river each year.

    If you think something needs to be done to improve the quality of recreational water, check out the Surfers against Sewage site at http://www.sas.org.uk/, which includes a short Online Medical Response Form to help them gather basic information on people who have experienced health problems that may have been caused by exposure to polluted waters.