A Nod To Little Gidding

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Today I scanned the final photographs of the Henley – Newark row/walk of July 2003. The last leg, from Nottingham to Newark was 25 miles in length.

Sam set off without James, and I trailed in his wake. It is hard to believe that I managed to keep within sight of him as he rowed along the River Trent, but these photographs would seem to prove it. Perhaps the cattle would bear witness.

As the rower moved into Farndon, James, Louisa, and Gemma set out to greet him and to follow him towards

Newark Castle station 7.03

Newark Castle, first passing the railway station;

to be greeted by his reception committee as he docked. Louisa, as requested, handed me two pints of beer – all for me.

Perhaps this was a lap of honour alongside the castle ruins. This 13th century castle was originally built for the Bishop of Lincoln. A Royalist stronghold during the English Civil War, ‘in 1646 the garrison surrendered, but only after a direct command from Charles I. Parliament ordered the castle destroyed so it could never be held against them again, but fate took a hand; plague broke out in Newark town, and the destruction of the castle was halted.’ This quotation is taken from  http://www.britainexpress.com/attractions.htm?attraction=93 which contains a more complete history in very readable form.

So, what has all this to do with T.S. Eliot’s ‘Little Gidding’? From this, the last of the poet’s Four Quartets, I have borrowed

‘What we call the beginning is often the end

And to make an end is to make a beginning.

The end is where we start from………….

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time’.

The reason is that I do not have the negatives of the last of my photographs as they are prints, which must have been produced by our friend Alison, or her sister, Rosemary, both of whom were there to send us on our way.

Sam took delivery of his boat at Henley where he and James set about preparing and stocking it for the journey. Note the black bin behind my son,

which I strapped on with the rather optimistic intention of collecting sponsorship money.

Pacific Pete left the mooring,

and we were under way. This was to be the last sound footpath I trod for the next eleven days.

This evening we dined on Thai inspired fish cakes from Tesco served on Jackie’s succulent bed of sautéed onions, peppers, leeks, mushrooms and manges touts; noodles; prawn toasts and spring rolls. The Culinary Queen drank her customary Hoegaarden and I drank more of the madiran.

P.S. See Mike’s bitaboutbritain comment below for a much fuller illustrated history of Newark Castle

 

 

Port St Charles

Jessica, Louisa, Sam, Ken Crutchlow & Derrick

Following the recent death of Ken Crutchlow, charismatic founder of The Ocean Rowing Society, Sam asked me to send him this photograph that first featured on 29th August last year. Alongside Jessica and Louisa, Ken stands between Sam, who has just disembarked after 59 days at sea, and me.

This took me back to the task of scanning the colour slides made in March 2004.

Police sign

Wandering around outside Port St Charles, I speculated about why this Police station sign  displayed a mirror image. I swear it has not been reproduced the wrong way round.

Port St Charles 1Port St Charles 2Port St Charles 3 Port St Charles 4Port St Charles 6

These are views of the luxurious development, that is the holiday resort where the race was completed, that can be seen by those poorer folk outside.

Frangipani

Frangipani is one of the colourful shrubs that surround the walls.

Port St Charles dock 1

Overlooked by luxury apartments, the rowing boats lie among others in the docking area.

Port St Charles dock 2

Pavel Rezvoy, who came second in the solo race, in the black T-shirt, stands beside Tatiana, the blue-clad wife of Ken. Sam’s boat, Pacific Pete, is on the right. Workers on the roofs in the distance demonstrate that building continues.

Sam and Dixie

Here, Sam is interviewed by Dixie Dean for the official film of the race.

Wader 1Wader 2

I cannot identify these waders on the shore.

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s fish and chips, with cornichons and pickled onions from jars, followed by profiteroles. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I didn’t.

The Official Welcome

It is clear that William Shakespeare was an Englishman if only because of his song, ‘When That I Was And a Little Tiny Boy’ from ‘Twelfth Night’, the refrain of which is: ‘For the rain it raineth every day’. He knew our weather.

Becky and Ian returned home this afternoon, managing safely to negotiate the still disrupted A27.

Afterwards I scanned more slides from Barbados, March 2004.

Sam docking 5.04136Sam docking5.04140

Sam successfully brings his boat into dock.

Sam in dock 5.04137

He sits aboard for a while, preparing himself for his first touch of land for two months.

Sam, Dixie, Ken Crutchlow, Louisa5.04138

Then comes the official welcome of Ken Crutchlow, Secretary of the Ocean Rowing Society, filmed by Dixie,

Before doing anything else Sam was required to report to border control. This involved walking along a narrow quayside to present his passport to a man in a little office. As he was rather wobbly, he needed my assistance to reach this point. It was, of course, a great privilege to be selected to provide such support.

Jessica, Louisa, Sam, Ken Crutchlow and Derrick 5.04146 After this we lined up for group photographs. Here Jessica, Louisa, and I join Sam and Ken.

Jessica, Sam and Louisa5.04151

Before repairing to the bar, Sam caught up with me, his mother and his sister.

Sam 5.04152

Here he is in the beach bar.

Each evening for the rest of our stay, we began with potent rum punches in the main dining area upstairs. After a few of these, Ken would always cry: ‘Samson Knight. Who named that boy?’

This evening there was plenty of last night’s Spice of India takeaway left over to feed Jackie and me. I finished the cabernet sauvignon, and Jackie abstained.