Trawl the depths of the Lower Thames with the Tideway Slug

Oxford uni make a challenge on IC wash supremacy

Your name e-mail

Guess the Percentage for each Cake (should add up to 100)

Banana................ %
Carrot............... %
Cherry & Sultana.... %
Chocolate.............. %
Mixed Fruit............. %

Is your guess for the women's head or men's head?

This year, as every year, Thames Tradesmen will again be offering all that's best in food and drink to competitors, coaches and groupies visiting them in Castle Greyskull for the Women's and Men's Heads.

As always, a selection of wholesome home-made cakes will be on sale.

The cake flavours are (in alphabetical order): Banana, Carrot, Cherry & Sultana, Chocolate and Mixed Fruit (carrot, coconut & sultana).

Now comes the chance to WIN FREE CAKE!!!!

Yes, faithful reader, Using your skill, judgment and knowledge of rowers' feeding habits, Slug readers are challenged to estimate the relative sales of the 5 flavours of cake at the end of each day (or when one of the flavours runs out and customers no longer have a free choice).

Simply enter the percentage of total cake sales against each flavour (note it should add up to 100), your name and a contact e-mail address, on the form provided and hit submit.

Prizes -a cake of one of the aforementioned flavours (winner to choose & to collect) - will be awarded for:
Best Estimate: Women's Head and Best Estimate: Men's Head.

Competitors should check the Slug over the next few days as a "Hint" will be given to add to the excitement!

03-03-04 PARTY PARTY
The main head races bring with them the usual spate of parties up and down the Tideway, and the women's head this Saturday is no exception, though quite how the late start of the race will affect people's desire to party all evening remains to be seen.

London will be hosting their usual LRC Women's Head of the River party, with all the normal attractions: 3 bars, DJ, food etc -

The party kicks off at 7pm - £5 entry, and the slug has been informed that the Purple singles club will be in full attendance...!! (What girl could resist)

Further down the hard, Thames are planning to look after visiting crews pre and post race, with:

  • Food & drink available throughout the day,
  • a log fire in the main hall and generous central heating (cough cough... ED)
  • Masses of sweets
  • Designated neurotic results checker to print off results at maximum speed
  • Masseurs and therapists available for pre or post race rub-downs (£10 for 15 minutes) and
  • Chill Out music throughout the day

    The club will close brieftly at 6.30 (so they can extract money from you when the) PARTY STARTS AT 7PM...

    £5 on the door...and vodka jelly to the first 100 revellers. Shameless pop & beats at the party at night 2 bars to maximise your drinking time.

    More info HERE

  • .
    03-03-04 LAUNCH LUNACY
    Anyone on the river near Hammersmith Bridge on Sunday afternoon who thinks they may have seen an Auriol Kensington launch, directly under the bridge, circling at full speed with no one in it, will be glad to hear that they weren't imagining it...

    Apparently AK had dropped an engine into the Thames (again), fished it out, and were taking if for a test run.

    The official version is that the driver was in the process of attaching his kill cord when he fell out. He had to swim for shore, luckily avoiding both the propeller and hypothermia as he did so.

    The incident was quickly spotted by AK and Furnivall members who scrambled another two launches and managed to trap and disable the spinning hazard before it did any damage. The AK driver was last seen walking home across Hammersmith Bridge, just as the RNLI arrived, lights flashing and everything.

    Those racing in Hammersmith Women's and Junior's Head on Sunday may have experienced the joys of the traditional AK race timing ritual, as results were revised backwards and forwards during the afternoon by +/-25 seconds or so, until they seemed to be, um,... about right...

    03-03-04 BUMPAEROBICS
    Another lovely picture from last week's annual lent festival of comedy rowing at Fenland Poly has winged its way to the slug.

    Although the 3 seat is traditionally the ejector seat in an eight, the photo shows the moment when Jono Airey, number 7 in the Jesus 2nd VIII, got attacked by a large crustaceon and went for a swim mid-race...

    Though on the plus side, he did get a lovely view from the river of his crew being bumped by Queens' II before they'd even reached the first corner...

    oh dear.

    Ebay never fails to amaze with the odd things it throws up from time to time...

    This one seems to have made its way to Australia.

    Fingers crossed, it won't be stormy for the women's head next weekend, but with the late start (15.30hrs) and sunset being at 17.50hrs, it is quite likely to be dark by the time the last crews have made their way back to their host clubs after the race.

    Therefore it's probably a good time for a reminder that crews are required to carry 2 static white lights (one fore amd one aft) for the return to their boathouses, so make sure you have amply charged batteries for the row home.

    Oh, and don't assume because you have a high start number that you won't need them - sh*t happens, and sometimes late crews or those who have had equipment failure on the way to the start, are started at the end of a later division, and it's better to be safe than get an unnecessary time penalty...

    Of course, as the men's head is scheduled to start at 15:45hrs, two weeks later, and the full 420 places have been filled (as opposed to the 280 or so crews in the women's head) this is highly likely to be the case for that event too...

    Don't say you weren't warned.

    Women's Head draw is available here

    Mens Head draw is available here

    01-03-04READING HEAD
    What can I say?

    It was cold but calm, the Oxford blue boat contenders were out in force (with a large entourage) and it was on the way to Bicester Village, so I er... didn't stay long..

    Apparently there was a bit of a pile-up at the top of Division 2, When during the race Leander hit a crew still on its way up to the start, injuring at least one rower in the bows of the Leander VIII. Isis then tried to move around the pile up and both crews ended up across the river, closely missed by Molesey...

    The Isis boys threw their handbags out of the boat and stomped their feet until they were allowed to rerow.


    A few pics from the 1st division (click on thumbnails to see in new window)

    Isis 1

    Isis 1


    Black Death

    Upper Thames



    Upper Thames
    And lots more you can buy on the Photo row site.

    Full results available at

    27-02-04LENT CRUNCH
    Whilst it's not uncommon for boats to get damaged during bumps races, the slug suspects that Downing III's attempts to hole their boat are possibly unique, in that they managed to do the damage while rowing down to the start of lent bumps (a practice bump on a concrete post by the looks of the photo)

    To their credit, they still managed to race, bumping Girton by the railway bridge, even though their bow pair were spotted bailing water out of the boat before the cannon went off!

    For those who have a fondness for rowing snuff videos - there's a link to footage of the damage on the cucbc message boards (note it's encoded with XVID)

    (video clip courtesy of Emmanuel Moll, Peterhouse Boat Club)

    Sad news to report, Scotland lost one of its rowing sons at 7pm on wednesday feb 25th, when John Haining, father of Peter Haining passed away.

    The funeral is at 11am on Monday 1st March, in Alexandria, Dumbarton, then 11:30am at the Vale of Leven cemetery

    In the meantime, anyone wishing to send the family a message, please e-mail me at and I will pass them on to Peter.

    26-02-04HEADS UP
    A timely reminder for Tideway rowers that Hammersmith Women’s and Juniors Head takes place this Sunday, starting at 10:30am

    The course is from Chiswick Bridge to Hammersmith Bridge and, as there is no river closure for the event, it would help if non-racing coaches and crews could take extra care while the event is on.

    More details, including the draw, on the ever so lovely AK website.

    26-02-04A FROG IN THE THAMES?
    This last Tuesday morning, a very very cold morning indeed, a lone sculler was spotted holding on for dear life, to one of the barges just before Hammersmith Pier.

    On investigation it turned put that this was none other than Mr A. LeJeune, a French rower from London Rowing Club. Luckly, one of the LRC coaches was nearby and rescued the stranded sculler from freezing to death.

    At this time, it is not known exactly what caused the sculler to capsise, but the possibilities are:

    a) the wakes from the several IC coach boats in the water that morning;
    b) the sculler's bad steering causing him to crash into one of the big yellow buoys;
    c) a frog caught his blade.

    "The estimated survival time in the river Thames at this time of the year is approximately 20 minutes. After that you get hypothermia and die. London River Policy"

    sometimes it's better to stay in bed...

    The interesting article by Kate Hoey in Monday's telegraph, goes someway to highlighting the crisis faced by the Docklands regatta centre as the new regime at Sport England try to squirm out of the funding agreement set up with the Sports council.

    The Docks have been on a knife-edge of funding all along, but things had been looking better over a two or three year period, as the restaurant takes off and the developments on the dockside come on stream.

    Ironically, the whole project would not have had these funding problems if the requirements placed on them from day one were not so demanding. As in order to guarantee the saving of the water for sport, they first had to meet the old LDDC's demands for the building. A lease on the land was given only on condition that the building, which was the first on the dock, would set the architectural standard for the rest of the docks.

    This was done in the knowledge that it would take several years to develop the rest of the dock and therefore the centre would need gurantees of support during this period. The old Sports Council regarded the project as so important that they have always been very understanding. However, the dock development has taken much longer than was first thought, and the original business plan was damaged by this delay.

    The new regime are not as sympathetic and supportive as the old sports council and, as a result ,are putting the whole lot in jeorpardy, including both the largest project oarsome setup and the largest adaptive rowing project in the country.

    Add to this their attitude to the watersports centre at Nottingham and the slug wonders exactly just what Sport England are trying to achieve... but then again as the new Sport England are alleged to have spent more on redundancy payments this financial year than on the programme of support for excellence in athletes, that's hardly surprising...

    24-02-04BYE BYE BBC
    News from the organisers of the boat race today, that ITV have won exclusive rights to televise the Oxford v Cambridge University Boat Race from 2005 to 2009.

    The deal promises ITV showcasing the Boat Race in an extended live programme presented by Gabby Logan and James Cracknell, as well as capturing the build up to the big day in a special documentary -- but no detail yet on if they plan to include footage of the other oxford / cambridge races, or indeed show more coverage of the Goldie / Isis race - something that's been dropped from the BBC coverage over the last few years in favour of pre race family interviews, celebrity coxing features and the the like.

    Back to this year's event (scheduled at, a somewhat spectator unfriendly, 6pm on a Sunday evening) and readers who fancy watching a spot of comedy celebrity rowing, may wish to be in the vicinty of Putney embankment on Wednesday afternoon, when the two crews taking part in the "alternative" boatrace will be thrashing their way to the mile post while the BBC cameras roll.

    Rather than forcing totally novice crews to row a mile after only 6 weeks of training, the crews consist of 4 experienced rowers and 4 slebs, a slightly less cruel solution (for the slebs anyway).

    May the crabs be little and the waves be small...

    Available for perusal and purchase at

    23-02-04CLUNK AND SUNK
    Sunday morning and the Thames at Henley was doing a good impersonation of the North Sea, so things didn't bode too well for the Boustead cup, due to be run at 2:30pm from Putney to Chiswick (on an inward tide for the first time).

    As the time to race approached the wind kept gusting, Thames winning the toss, chose Surrey for both races, leaving London, with the more sheltered Middlesex station.

    The crews came together off the start, clashing blades most of the way down the embankment. Thames were warned more often than London, but paid the price after the crews had moved apart, when a stretch of rough water resulted in the bottom corner of two's blade breaking loose, it then proceeded to flap around for quite a while before finally falling off.

    Clashing, broken equipment and some boat stopping rough water, all prevented the Thames crew from settling into their rhythm and London were able to capitalise, by moving into sheltered water close to the bank and taking a strong lead well before Hammersmith.

    Thames got it together again in the better water over the second half of the course but London continued to increase their lead, winning by over a minute in a time of 22min 30sec (which is quite possibly the slowest recorded winning time for the event)

    The second crews race was even more bizzare, as wash from a cruiser added to the already rough conditions meant both boats started taking on water. Thames, again on the Surrey side, tucked closely into the bank after IC to avoid the waves but London took on more and more water, stopping around Barnes Elms to head for the bank as their Empacher sank under the waves...

    With the crew nearly up to their waists in water while STANDING in the boat, there was no option but to ditch, though thankfully they were close to the shore by this time and everyone got out OK. Not really the weather to go swimming though.

    Thames 1, London 1, and London 2 bailing out back at the clubhouse (click to enlarge)

    23-02-04SEALED UP
    The Tideway Seal was spotted on tour to Richmond last Friday, lounging around on the sandbank by Richmond Bridge.

    click on photos to see full size.

    20-02-04A BIT FISHY?
    Reasons to wear wellies #9 (and you think I'm joking...)

    19-02-04CASH IN THE ATTIC
    The slug was amused to spot a small article about Hereford Rowing Club in Tuesday's edition of Metro, the free London paper. (click on thumbnail to see enlarged)

    Looks like furniture can be even more lucrative than mobile phone masts...

    Having packed in rowing last summer, and keen to avoid the onset of post-lightweight lardiness, Martin Harris has taken to cycling every Sunday with sigma sport in Kingston - about a 2hr ride.

    There are two London boys who do this, and they tend to wear their LRC cycling kit - just for old times' sake y'know.

    This Sunday, there were three bods who showed up who didn't quite fit in - old kit, knackered bikes and one appeared to be wearing hill walking boots...

    During the ride this rather scruffy bloke in aging kit came up for a chat, and the conversation went something like -

    "So you do rowing then?"
    "Sort of..."
    "Do you know Peter Haining ? I did some training with him a while back"
    "Oh really? That's nice"
    "Tell Peter that Graeme from Ayrshire is asking after him"
    "Graeme who ?"


    Never underestimate the old bloke in dodgy kit.

    19-02-04JUST PULL IT
    A little more info on the Teddy Hall coach who went for a little swim at the weekend (see "swimming lessons" below) has found its way to the mud at the bottom of the river....

    It would appear that, on dragging himself back to the Cherry Wood and Carpets Soft lighting and Piped Music, heated lockers in the changing rooms (to dry out kit)- state of the art Trusthouse Forte IC boathouse (who's launch he'd borrowed) saying that the killcord hadn't worked and that his lifejacket hadn't inflated the IC boys were undertandably more than a little concerned and started to investigate...

    Upon further inspection, it soon became apparent that the reason the lifejacket hadn't inflated was probably because HE HADN'T JERKED THE CORD helpfully marked "JERK TO INFLATE" - all the workings on the cylinder were still intact...

    On top of which the slug has it on good authority that the killcord on the engine has always worked before and indeed, is working perfectly now, so given the lifejacket "failure" we have our suspicions....


    A female member of Thames Trademen, who also happens to run at West 4 Harriers (who are based down the road at Quintin BC) is apparently suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, after Graham "118" Lloyd walked in on her, while she was getting changed in the women's changing rooms earlier this week.

    Quite why the mustachioed one was in the women's changing room, is anyone's guess (looking for women?..ED) but as the poor girl reports that this was the SECOND time he's done it, we again have our suspicions...

    Early last Saturday morning the Boys in blue loaded their trailer with boats and blades and headed out west for a row at Dorney lake.

    Just one slight problem -- as one of the eights forgot to load all its blades onto the trailer... and had to wait for a very selfless coxswain to drive all the 60 miles back to the club and get them...

    Saturday morning dizziness (it was early indeed); eagerness to get on the water; or just straight forward dumbness... You be the judge.

    Now we all know the Tideway can be a hazardous place, but rumour has it that ex-Brookes rower John Robinson had more than his favour share of bad luck while coaching Teddy Hall on the Tideway last weekend...

    Apparently, while in the middle of the river, about 4-5 boat lengths from Teddy Halls Ladies 1sts he somehow managed to um..., fall out of his tin fish coaching launch. On top of which (as if swimming in Thames water wasn't bad enough), the kill cord for the engine hadn't worked so the tin fish was merrily going round and round, leaving the now soggy coach, to work out how to catch and get back into his moving boat.

    18-02-04CAN YOU HELP?
    Lost on Friday night / Saturday morning in the vicinity of Holland Park... eight to ten hours of memory and a bottle of vodka.

    The owner says: "All I know is that I remember arriving with a bottle of vodka and a bag of ice and James Cracknell opened the door. And I must have got home about 8:30am as think I remember seeing rowers..."

    Please help a young woman regain this valuable lost portion of her life - photgraphic evidence in a brown paper envelope to the usual address...

    17-02-04BOUSTEAD CUP
    The annual Thames vs London race that is the Boustead cup is happening this Sunday (22nd December) at 2:30pm, so it shouldn't interfere with normal weekend outings for other Tideway rowing clubs -- not sure I can say the same about the sailing dinghies from London Corinthians though...


    17-02-04TAX RELIEF
    A reminder for UK sports clubs to consider registering as Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) to get tax benefits from the inland revenue. Clubs registered as CASCs in England and Wales will receive mandatory rates relief of 80% with effect from April 2004 and local councils can increase this relief to 100% at their own discretion.

    Although there are a few rowing clubs who are already registered, there must be many more which could benefit from the scheme without making any changes to the way they operate or are structured. Some clubs may find that changes are needed to their constitution before they can successfully register, as clubs must be able to answer yes to the following questions:

    1. Is membership of the club open to the whole community?
    2. Are all the club’s facilities available to members without discrimination?
    3. Does the club’s constitution prevent profits of the club being distributed amongst its members (i.e. any profits must go back into the club)?
    4. Does the club provide facilities for & encourage participation in eligible sports?
    5. Does the club's constitution provide that on dissolution of the club, any net assets are to be applied for approved sporting or charitable purposes?

    More info and application forms are available on the Inland revenue site

    Money for old boat?

    11-02-04A HOLEY MESS?
    Putney based rowers are advised that the long awaited resurfacing of the area in front of the London Rowing Club boat house is finally due to take place next week.

    As part of the works, the road in front of the club will also be re-surfaced so that the lake that forms in front of the bay doors every time it rains, will no longer be a feature of the embankment, but more importantly, any cars parked in the vicinity which are deemed to obstruct the works are likely to be towed away by the council - and ya wouldn't want that now would you.

    You have been warned.

    The slug was amused to recieve a copy of the following begging letter sent to those nice people at Ben and Jerry's, purveyors of fine, fattening, and by no-means, ever, a diet food (even as part of a calorie controled diet...)
    "To Whom it may concern,

    This will most likely, without a shadow of a doubt, be the strangest request that you have probably ever had.

    Here is my story:

    I am a young lightweight rower based in Cambridge.

    As I am not the normal build which is attributed to a rower (over 6ft and built like a sturdy kitchen appliance), I am classed as a lightweight, which means I cannot weigh more than 70kg.

    However, I have a penchant, along with millions of others, for Ben & Jerry's ice cream. Sadly this doesn¹t bode well for my dieting strategy, but the occasional tub makes all the difference to my sanity.

    Therefore, I was wondering if you could provide me with a steady flow of vouchers to satisfy an occasional break from the torture of dieting. In return, I will proudly have Ben & Jerry's advertising on my boat, and kit.

    Kind Regards,

    James Silk

    You gotta wonder...

    10-02-04ONE CAREFUL OWNER?
    Xeno does Ebay...

    And it even comes signed with the message of your choice - ooooooh!(US buyers only)

    10-02-04LOVE IS IN THE AIR
    As the days start to get noticeably longer, and the birds and animals start to get a bit frisky, a young oarsman's thoughts naturally turn to the, um, head of the river race.

    Anyway, to take your mind off the inevitable selection trauma of the next couple of weeks, why not allow yourself to be distracted by attempting to find lurve at the Vesta Valentines party on Saturday evening.

    The fun starts at 7:30pm

    Alternatively, if the talent on offer at Vesta doesn't appeal, or you merely want to widen your catchment area, then at 9pm you can always pop next door to the Thames RC valentines party to "Put some sparkle into your lustlife"! I'm also reliably informed that TRC have a late license...

    click on the thumbnails to see posters full size.

    09-02-04HENLEY 4's HEAD PICS
    Nice slide show available here...

    09-02-04TUT TUT...
    Eyebrows were raised at AK's recent Trivial Head of the River, when the host asked the question
    'Name the five founding Remenham Clubs'

    When it was pointed out to the question setter that there were in fact seven founding clubs he replied

    'I don't count Staines and Twickenham as Rowing Clubs...'

    (watch out Bedford i know where you live....)

    The slug can reveal that an intermediate crew from a certain Putney based club, were recently spotted being accompanied home from an outing, by the RNLI.

    The reason for the interest from the men in orange being that the eight was rowing back in sixes, with the remaining two members of the crew bailing out the boat with their wellies....


    The Hammersmith clubs would like to thank the other Tideway clubs for their kind cooperation during the race. Results follow.

    Overall winner of the Dewar Shield - Auriol Kensington RC
    Fastest women's crew - Furnivall SC
    Fastest men's crew - Auriol Kensington RC

    1 Furnivall I 12.071. AK I 11.05
    2 AK I 12.082. Sons I 11.11
    3 AK II 12.123. Sons II 11.12
    4 Sons I 12.294. Furnivall I 11.16
    5 Furnivall II 12.305. AK II 11.25
    6 Sons II 12.33
    7 Furnivall III 13.32
    8 AK III 13.35

    A hard fought battle last Thursday at the Trivial Head saw Black Prince hold off London and Vesta to secure the pennant.

    Black Prince put in a push early and enjoyed a commanding lead until London countered in the middle of the course. In the back third, (conspicuously the ‘Rowing’ section) London faltered and Vesta put in their own push at the Black Buoy. Both teams crossed the line in a dead heat; Black Prince carried the trophy by knowing who was taller – Ant or Dec.

    It should be noted that Vesta’s performance was all the more heroic as they were playing as a 2- versus Black Prince’s 4+. Thanks to all who attended; as AK raised £500 for the Rebuilding Project. Full results on AK website (

    Overall Winners: Black Prince
    Winners S1: Vesta
    Winners S2: AK (Hartwell)
    Novice: Australia

    23-01-042004 LAUNCH POLL
    2004 Launch Poll
    Who's been washing you down...
    Imperial College
    Dulwich college
    Putney Town
    Oxford uni
    Cambridge uni

    Current Results
    A new year, and a new chance to vote... or should that be vent...

    Same rules as last year, and the year before etc etc... When you get washed down on the Tideway by a coach following a rowing crew, please click on the club responsible. Try to make sure you get the guilty party right as there are a lot of new coaches out there...

    You can vote for more than one club at a time, but can't vote more than once a day ( don't complain, it's for your own good, as waging personal vendettas by sitting clicking all day long really isn't healthy).

    we've had a suggestion that we should run another separate poll, specifically for massive wake produced by flotillas of eights followed by numerous launches, so let me know what you think... current nominations for this award are London, Thames and IC...

    Oh, and a note to readers from Imperial College -- if you can't count on the IC coaches to do their stuff and have to keep voting for own club just to make sure you win, then what is the world coming to??? tut tut ...


    More tales of woe from Thames where it appears that in their haste to accept wonga from Hutchinson-Whompoa, the members of the TRC committee neglected to focus on item of small print concerning their spiffing new flag pole cum microwave transmitter.

    Apparently any flag hoisted up the new mast cannot be larger than 6 ft by 3ft, now while this may sound quite large to those not familiar with the world of flags, the current flag is reported to be a rather massive 17 ft across.

    Could this mean that the TRC flag will soon appear rather like a postage stamp in the sky?

    how the mighty have fallen.....

    Last week's high tides claimed at least one innocent victim -- a Mercedes E-class, parked on Putney embankment.

    To add insult to injury, Metro published some lovely before and after photos, of said swimming car, in Friday's paper, though alas they didn't manage to get one of it being 'resuced' from floating off by numerous firemen.

    While it's understandable that the tides may occasionally catch out the odd person who's not familiar with the daily ebb and flow of the river, we can hardly offer the same excuse to a Veteran member of London Rowing Club who happens to live on the embankment now, can we? (cough cough)

    (click attached image to see fullsize)

    14-01-04BIG FOR THEIR AGE...
    We can only assume they've been using Thames mud to enhance their youthful complexions, but pictured on Tiffin School's web site, along with Molesey's girlies, are those well known J14s from the Black death, Magnus Burbanks and Graham Minor??????!

    By the slug's reckoning this means Mssrs Burbanks and Graham have been pairing together since they were 2 yrs old, no mean feat i'm sure you'll agree.

    Apparently Magnus and Runner lost narrowly to Jennings and Darbishire in the final.

    Pictures available on

    Putney residents take note..

    14-01-04RIVER ROAD TAX?
    Scullers who train on UK rivers under the control of the Environment agency (i.e. from Teddington lock upstream on the Thames) can now print of the forms needed for their registration on-line at the environment agency website .

    Please note that registration is required for all rowing boats using environment agency waters - private and club - and even if you're just visiting for a regatta. While the main point of checking is at locks, the slug has heard that some EA officials have recently been spotted checking boats for licenses around Henley.

    If your club regularly trains on EA rivers, it may be eligable for a discount for "training craft", so it's worth while phoning up to see what you're eligible for, before sending off. If you normally row on the Tideway or Twickenham reach but fancy popping up above Teddington lock for a change of scenary Visitor licenses are also available at most locks or in advance.

    The slug was chewing the hedge down at London Rowing club on Tuesday afternoon, where a notable group of D-list celebrities (make that Vet D-list - ED) dressing in assorted dark and light blue hooded tops, were having their induction into our glorious sport, before starting on a five week comedy rowing odessey.

    Incase you missed the articles in the press before Christmas, this intensive novice course for ex-oxbridge graduates, is actually part of the BBC's boatrace coverage - and is being promoted as "the other boat race".

    National rowing antiques Martin Cross and Sir Steve Redgrave (who i must say is looking pretty slim and trim for a rowing antique, having lost a lot of his rowing muscle bulk, but not put it on as lard)were on hand to lull the new recruits into a false sense of security; show them what a boat looks like; and do interviews for the BBC on the LRC balcony.

    As far as I know, training will be initially be taking place in "the vicinity of Barnes" as they need a rowing tank, and it's less "public" than Putney. So anyone out on the river during the day over the next five weeks, should watch out for very novice crews, being excessively coached from several launches, containing very big video cameras... (lets face it -- if you can manage to ram / sink one of them, you're pretty much guaranteed to get on TV.)

    As for who exactly is in the crews, well I've heard mention of Rick Stein and Clive Anderson taking part, but didn't spot them around, infact I must admit that I didn't recognise any of the slebs, wandering in and out of the club (time to cancel my Popbitch membership I'm afraid - sigh...)

    Watch this space.

    13-01-04HALF MAST
    gone but not forgottenAnyone walking along Putney embankment towards the end of last week might have been curious as to why the club in red, white and black were flying their flag at half mast...

    Well it wasn't a comment on the current state of Thames RC, or even a passing salute to Beaujolais' rotting hull resting below. No, rather it was to mark the passing of the flagpole itself.

    The old TRC flagpole bit the dust on Tuesday morning, all in the name of progress - well in the name of a mobile phone mast to be exact, though the slug suspects that TRC are less concerned with members ability to pick up text messages (or even background radiation), than with the fat cheque that undoubtably comes with it (rumoured to be 5k a year...)

    As for the old flagpole, rumour has it destined for a retirement home at the river and rowing musesum in Henley, though just how they're going to get it there, without sawing it in half, remains to be seen.

    Of course, on the bright side, it does mean that Thames will have to get some nice new, non-tatty flags made up... the old ones don't fit anymore...

    13-01-04RESCUE ME
    The weather took it's toll at the weekend, with several rescue missions being spotted along the Tideway.

    An IC launch was seen ferrying a pair (boat and shivering rowers) back to the IC boathouse from somewhere upriver, which was later followed by the lifeboat bringing back a sculler to the same end of the Putney hard, with lights flashing and everything!

    The men in orange even slowed down to pass a CULRC pair that was in the middle of the river going the wrong way... maybe they are learning.

    spotted on Chiswick AitAt 7am on Sunday morning the Tideway Seal, believed by many to be a mythical creature of Hammersmith (rather like the loch ness monster... but with a less scary reputation... and not in Scotland) was seen resting up on the gravel just outside Vesta. He/she was there for quite some time before deciding to return to the water rather than be photographed on one of the London coxes' mobile phones...

    Observers report that the seal is looking "large and healthy", so we can only assume it has moved downstream having eaten all the available dead fish, kebabs and traffic cones in the river at Hammersmith.

    17-12-03BUT HOW?
    After losing their fin during the fours head earlier this year, London RC's one and only "Dirty Four" decided to do it all again in the Tideway small boats head on Sunday.

    In a strange case of deja-vu, the crew lost their fin just as they started to go off, and -- getting up to speed -- nearly ploughed into Chiswick Bridge, then ran into their opposition who were paddling up late for the start.

    The boat was pulling around massively to stroke side, which meant that Bullet and Little Master were rowing like dogs to keep it straight, while Fothers and Dirty Dom (aka the Brigadeer aka the tiger)were rowing quarter slides, no-pressure on bowside. By the time they crossed the finish line, bowside hadn't even broken a sweat. It was, you might think, a complete disaster...

    So imagine the boys in blue's surprise when they found out they'd won!

    The ladies of Furnivall Sculling Club as seen in 1902, were out on the Tideway a few weeks ago, following a morning with the BBC wig department.

    Eight Furnivall girls were transported back to Edwardian days to star in a BBC1 documentary in the "Imagine" series, hosted by Alan Yentob - which will be shown on this Thursday at 10.35pm (18th December). In the days before women rowers wore trousers, let alone shorts or lycra, the Furnivall girls sculled in a uniform consisting of long skirts and club scarves ( wouldn't want any errant ankles showing after all...).

    The basis of the programme is the book "The Meaning of Everything: the Story of the Oxford English Dictionary", by Simon Winchester, which charts the characters involved over the 70 years needed to create the Oxford English Dictionary.

    Dr Furnivall, a socialist, scholar and founder of what became Furnivall Sculling Club (started as Hammersmith Sculling club for Girls), played a dominant role in the formation of the Dictionary. The good Doctor was played on land by actor Bill Homewood and on the river by club member Hugh Bantin. The club is grateful to St Paul's School BC for the loan of the boat.

    Click on the thumbnails to see full size

    15-12-03MANY A TRUE WORD...
    While sliming around the internet last week, the slug stopped for a little chew on the pages of the Sons of the Thames on-line noticeboard. As with any clubs, the number of posts on a particluar subject is always a good barometer of interest level and this gives us a good idea of what is going on at Sons....

    Subject Number of posts
    Rowing 1
    Rigging 0
    Sculling 28
    Injuries 23
    Training & Outings (Men) 7
    Training & Outings (Women) 0
    Kit 62 (last post from “bumshover”)

    (Not much rowing then. So what is going on?)

    General Chat, including “things that don’t fit into any other area” 70
    “Hot Goss” including “scandal” and “admissions of guilt” 103

    (and the best for last)

    “Memorable things said on water” 0

    Gotta love Sons.

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