Welcome to my blog

This is it! I've given up work -retired from the rat race and am about to start on a 10 year adventure, doing all those things I've been meaning to do but never had the time to do them. I've offloaded my responsibilities and it is now my time. So follow my adventures and see whether I actually manage anything!



Monday, 31 March 2014

Head of the river race

On Saturday was the 'Head of the river race' on the Thames. The race is rowed annually each March from Mortlake to Putney (this is the opposite direction to the annual Oxford v Cambridge boat race). It is a 4 mile course with over 400 crews of eights taking part.


 Outside the rowing club houses at Putney many of the boats were being prepared and launched to get them to the start.












 This is one of the teams going under Barnes railway Bridge on their way to Mortlake.
 Watching the boats going beneath the bridge I nearly jumped out of my skin when a train thundered over the bridge behind me!







 Just beside the bridge were queues of boat crews waiting to get their boats onto the river.

The boats start one behind the other at 10 second intervals and the winner is the crew with the fastest time. The order is dictated by their time from last year so the previous years winner always starts first.



There was a delay starting the race this year as the tide turned about 20mins late. This is one of the first boats to go under Hammersmith Bridge.





There were crowds of people watching from the bridge.



 All rowing in unison.










You can hardly see the boat here for all the water spray.





There is a cox at the rear of each boat calling out instructions to the crew and urging them on.
 It was quite exciting watching these three boats battling away.











The legs and arms must becoming very painful at this point of the race.




The boats came very close to one another here as we heard  a clash of oars.


 I didn't realise until I got home that the race had been abandoned after about 75 boats had already finished. Although the water conditions were ok, gusting winds made the finishing marshalling  area difficult for rowing and crews were struggling to cope beyond the finish. The decision was therefore taken to abandon the race



 Here are some of the crews removing the boats from the water.

 The water needs to be emptied before they lift it above their heads.




The one thing that struck me was the length of the boats as this was the first time I had  been that close to them.

Sharing with Our World Tuesday Graphic

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Hammersmith Bridge

This is Hammersmith Suspension Bridge over the River Thames. Built in 1887 it has many elaborate ironwork features.







 Standing on the bridge and looking down at the river, I noticed a row of light bulbs which light up the bridge at night.



A close up of the bridge shows a crowd of people. Tomorrow I will post photos of just what they were watching.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Spring flowers

On my walk with the U3A (University of the 3rd Age) group this week, the wild Spring flowers were everywhere.



The wood anemones were out in force. Below you can see them lifting their faces to the sun.











The first bluebell I have seen this year.














Primroses


Violets in amongst the primroses


The branches of this tree were laden with catkins.



 We were walking a short section of the North Downs Way, a National trail from Farnham in Surrey to Dover in Kent via Canterbury.

This is the rather misty view from the top of the North Downs


Friday, 28 March 2014

Seeing round corners

These mirrors hanging from trees are a common sight on UK country roads.

It's always a good idea to be able to see what's coming round the bend.
Sharing with James at Weekend Reflections
and Maria at

 Orange You Glad It's Friday

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Hoxton Street Art

This last weekend I happened to be Hackney which is in the East End of London. I was quite taken aback by the street art I encountered.