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The story so far....

 
 
 

Well....I promise I didn't take the bath out of the house. The neighbour was re-furbishing his bathroom. He wasn't sure what to say when I said could I borrow your bath for some early design work. Got me thinking though as to what exactly we were doing and quite how this was going to get us 140 miles down the Thames.
 
 
And then there was the reality check provided at the beautiful backdrop of Warwick Boat Club. Jealously we looked at a real rowing boat and boy our first rowing experience was a shock. In fairness Scott wasn't bad, he rowed relatively straight. Ian managed to hit the bank several times and complete a few 180's. I guessed we'd under estimated what it would take just to row the bath in a straight line. Zig zagging our way down the Thames could increase our mileage massively. 
 
Scott made us laugh - he wants the next challenge to have a change of scenery. Staring at the wall on a rowing machine isn't great. So he's got a point.
 
Training - so far we've been on average rowing 4/5 times a week since January on rowing machines progressively increasing the distance. By the time we get to the challenge, we reckon we will have covered over 1,600 miles. As of May we are doing something like 40 miles a week. Scary when you consider we've got to do nearly 30 miles a day.
 
Warwick boat club - 3rd July. Out on the river again. Mike's patience as coach is impressive and he's very polite when he laughs. Sweep oars, feathering and wrist cocking. We are now full of jargon, not quite full of technique. Quite nice for both of us really as Scott sat at the sharp end, which means I didn't have to look at him and he didn't have to face me. It meant we could both swear under our breath without the other noticing. There were moments when it actually felt quite good. We've decided we are going to have wing mirrors on the bath to help us steer - look it's not an Oxford and Cambridge boat we're talking about here, so we think it will be ok. Definitely more time required on the water (not in the water).
 
Warwick boat club - 24th July. I have to say there were times when to a layman that it might have looked quite good. Don't be fooled we still managed to start with the oars upside down on the wrong side of the boat ! 3 lengths of the river today and already concern on how soft our hands are. 
 
Warwick boat club - 14th August. Rowing straight is quite hard as we found out when Mike wasn't steering us. Lots of grunting from Scott today, when we turned to look where were going everything else went to pot. We are thinking about taking a small person who can sit in the back and steer. Volunteers take one step forward. We are getting quite close now and we are a little excited. Two oars or one oar - lots of decisions to be made. Scott also modelled his new waterproof Seal Skin hat and socks. No water proof pants yet though ! Send your captions for this to us ! We've elongated the picture to make Scott look taller.
 
 
Fund raising day 20th Aug - Scott organised a great fun raising day at his work place. We had loads of guys and girls doing the quickest time over 300 metres. 49 secs for the best guy, which we are pretty sure we couldn't match ourselves and 282 quid raised. Well done npower and all involved who supported.
 
26th August - Storm Cats. Amongst the hub bub of a really busy production schedule of first class boats, the amazing Storm Cat team are on the case and testing their skills against a very different project. This may be their first and last 'bath tub' who knows or just may be, there will be follow on requests ! You should see the real things they build.
 
This the first picture of our bath in production. What an incredible job they are doing.
 
 
More rowing at Warwick (26th) in the rain on a very swollen River Avon. Going upstream, when we stopped rowing, the current was so strong, we started going backwards. Glad we are going downstream on the Thames. Our streeing was marginally better. Mike said we should take a klaxon to warn other people.
 
27th August - Can you believe this the first sea trials and she floats ! The plug was in, The very brave boys at Storm Cats took to the water today (with lifejackets you will note). 

 
£1,686 raised to date. Yippee and thank you to all !!
 
                               
  
 2nd Sept - Only 23 days to go. We are looking forward to not sitting on a rowing machine any more. Ian's racked up nearly 10 hours in the last 10 days and now feeling a wee bit tired. Scott confident of his training is now on holiday for two weeks with not a rowing machine in sight. We are looking forward to picking up the bath at the weekend. We still cannot find the words to express our thanks to Storm Cats.

4th Sept - 680 miles later and a 14.5 hour round trip, the tub is in Rugby. We met Ash at Budget Vehicle hire at 9.00 and set off for Glasgow. Some hours later we arrived in Glasgow to meet Adrian and Jan from Storm Cats who did a similar big journey from Islay to Glasgow for us. Thank you to them. What an amazing sight she was, perched on top of Adrian's van. The taps were already in place along with the plug hole of course. Some man handling between the vans and we had 4 inches spare room left. Phew ! Back in Rugby for 10.45 pm. Had to get Steve my neighbour off his sofa at 11.00 at night to come and help off load her. The tub nestles in the garage. Big big thanks to Brian for his companionship on the journey. His amazing skills will now help us with the final fitting out.
 
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9th Sept - Brian and Doreen have had a busy day in Southampton for us. The tub now has a rudder and an anchor and a few other bits and pieces (Brian's experience is coming in very handy). There is a kind of reminder here for next time when one of us has a thought about doing a challenge that you nothing about.........find someone who does.


In addition the seats and gates for the oars are on the way. Most importantly we are in possession of a 18" rubber duck, like any good bath should have of course. It's very likely we won't actually get to practice in the tub before the day ! A bit of a scary thought. 16 days to go and  the thought of not having to sit on a rowing machine to train is becoming very appealing. 


107.1 RugbyFM will be talking to the boys everyday as they progress down the Thames on Jason Moss's breakfast show. Hearing about all our blisters, sore bottoms and various near misses on the River Thames should keep the listeners entertained. 


10 Sept - The sliding seats arrived with the rowing gates and Brian came over to get the first measure up for the riggers. Much to do.

 

12 Sept - Brian (Scott's uncle) has been busy working on the rudder. I've been making our shower head and wing mirror. It's really going to look the business our bath. If there was any doubt it's a real bath, I found a 3 inch long spider in it today ! Excited to think there is only 7 more days to train before an enforced rest period before the actual row.

 

15 Sept - Brian's been working hard on the riggers. Hope to fit all the kit this weekend. Radio interview with RugbyFM today which goes out live this Friday !

 

16 Sept - Nine days away from D Day ! Good news - a portaloo has been found and no it isn't for the bath. It's just for the overnight stops. Weeing and pooing is one of those problems that has to be managed though. I'm sure you didn't log onto to read about our toilet challenges !


18 Sept - A pivotal day. An early start and all three of us Brian, Scott and Ian get to work on the fitting out. Brian's hard work this week on the rudder and the riggers means we get cracking straight away. Daisy (the dog) came and helped to. The seats go in first. Having not had the tub in the water ourselves, we can't be exactly sure about all the final positioning and heights. Oars are collected and we try and line it all up. We will find out on the 25th September. 




Much like Ian did 2 weeks earlier when the bath was picked up in Glasgow, Scott also admitted how really mad this all was. Too late for that now though.



We had plenty of raised eyebrows from the passing neighbours.






So how about this. Complete with rudder and then the steering mechanism using a foot board.


Finished off with the red ensign as all good rowing baths should be !


All though he is not rowing Brian is as much part of this challenge as Scott and Ian. With out his expertise all of this would not be possible. Also glad he will be with us on the week of the row.


22 Sept - Necessary alterations to the seats. If there was any doubt we are novice rowers, we managed to fit the seats around the wrong way. So now it's both oars upside down and seats back to front. Any luck no one will notice. 

 

24 Sept - D-1. After all this time, a year in preparation, seeing the countdown on the front of this site at 1 day to go was quite freaky. And - its raining here ! Fingers crossed, legs crossed, all crossed.  













25 Sept - Beautiful first day. Fantastic sunshine. Nearly 20 miles covered but didn't quite make the lock we wanted to as it began to get dark. The bath rowed a treat, even better than expected. We had a few problems with the steering and hit the bank countless times. The Thames was very narrow in places and with the width of the tub, with it's oars, it was a struggle at times. Our first experience of using a lock meant we forgot to shut the sluices and started to flood the lock! We did laugh. Good job the lock keeper wasn't around! Scott's signal to put more pressure on one or other oar was 'hard on'. We are working on another signal to use!  Early start planned tomorrow. We aim to leave Northmoor Lock at 8am. Big thanks to all those that came to see us off.



26 Sept - We were up at 6.30 from our tent, cooked breakfast on the stove. 2 very stodgy bowls of porridge and raisins and then into the boat and off by 8.30. Better rowing today - we didn't hit the bank once! Came through Oxford and saw how it should be done properly. Stopped at Radley so still short of our target postiton but everything else is going to plan. Storm cats really did a fantastic job building the tub. BBC Radio Oxford are coming to see us tomorrow. We've both got a few bits that are sore!


27 Sept - Highlights today, slept in a nice warm bed and didn't camp. Got up and forced down a big brekkie and did a live radio interview with BBC Radio Oxford before setting off and doing a wapping 27 miles. Drizzle most of the day didn't make it very nice though. We decided to reach one last lock but our details said it was 1.07 miles. Oh no it wasn't! 4.07 miles later!!! The last 45 mins was in pitch black darkness. The fuel tank was well and truly empty at the end. We reckon we are about half way now. Brian has been a trojan again all day.



28 Sept - Whitchurch to Marlow today, which leaves us 37 miles to the finish. It was

 dark again when we stopped but it was worth it to reach Marlow. Good dry weather made for good progress. Plenty of people stopped and asked what it was all about and there were almost as many that didn't bat an eyelid! As if you see a bath on the Thames everyday! Love to all especially those at home. x


29 Sept - Day 5. Finished at Penton lock with only 14 miles to go. Just a little damp in the afternoon though. Wet through! We stopped at 7pm only to have major problems with the hotel and finally arrived at 10.30. Trying to dry our kit now.






30 Sept - Sorry about the short update yesterday. The phone died through all the rain. We woke to a glorious day and faced the last stretch with renewed vigour. Getting through to the last 10 miles seemed to make a difference and we knocked off the rest of the distance pretty well. Reaching Moseley lock for a pot noodle lunch again, 4.81 miles lay ahead. We arrived at Teddington at 3.05pm. An estimated 68,640 strokes on the oars. We've both got arms like Popeye now. The next challenge will not be a rowing one, that's for sure. Almost a year to the day, this challenge was born and just shows that all things are possible.


A huge thank you to 'Saint' Brian as he became known. His figure standing on the edge of each lock as we 



approached was a much welcome sight. His encouragement was really welcomed and his incredible skills in helping us and keeping us afloat was amazing.


1st Oct - Both really hungry this morning, the after effects of the week. We are not missing rowing today especially as its pouring with rain. A huge thank you to all those that have supported us in so many ways. We are very proud to say that so far we have raised £3,500. 


This trip will be remembered by us for a few things of which some will need explaining when we meet:- 

  • Disabled dogs

  • Sausages

  • Trees that stick out too far

  • Hard on's 

  • Pot noodles

  • Cut down milk cartons

  • Sat navs

  • Taxi's

  • Travel Lodge

  • Storm Cats

  • Families and their support


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