To London yesterday with Langstone Adventure Rowing to help train crews from a major corporation taking part in the Great River Race on Saturday week.
They should have been coxing themselves but a couple of no-shows meant I was yelling at them again, in a brutally supportive way.
We launched at the Surrey Docks Watersports Centre on Greenland Dock, just behind and to the right of the tailfin of this aircraft:
I kept a wary eye on the sky but he didn't seem to be around.
Today the dock is very charming, lined with homes rather than wharves.
Getting on to the river was a bit challenging. First there is a narrow, low swing bridge, then a narrow, deep and alarming lock. Lots of shortening oars and trying to get hold of the cables so we didn't drift out into the middle. I made a complete Horlicks of it going out. The boat was behaving very oddly and didn't seem to respond to the oars in the usual way at all, possibly due to the combination of a light breeze and a gentle current. Anyway, we finally got attached and the lock gates opened revealing troubled water outside. My heart sank. Happily, Mike Gilbert in the other boat went first.
One of the cox's necessary skills is to look totally confident at all times so we struck out, oars shortened, and were rewarded with a lovely autumn evening on the river with views of Canary Wharf, Greenwich and, towards the City, the Shard, the Walkie-talkie, the Cheesegrater and the Gherkin.
Thanks to Mike for the pictures.