Posted by: Helena Smalman-Smith | December 24, 2011

Day 20: Are you all ready for Christmas?

Isn’t that just one of the stupidest things that people say at this time of year? It’s definitely along side “How are you?”, “Did you have a nice weekend?” and “Did you have a nice birthday?” for questions that those asking are not interested in the answer to, and those answering are unlikely to reply to either accurately or fully.

Anyway, round here, we can tell you that Poseidon is most definitely NOT ready for Christmas. I mean, honestly, the place is a complete mess – there are waves all over the place, literally from left, right and centre, his choice of festive colour scheme (grey skies, grey seas) leaves a lot to be desired in the jollity department, his attempts at spraying fake snow around look more like an explosion in a cotton wool factory than any kind of organised imitation at quaint snowdrifts with yule logs atop, and as for his method of “delivering” Christmas greetings, well splutter and puff.

So, it’s been another rough old day on the ocean, though at least with us being blown in the right direction whilst we try to get our blades in the water. The forecast is for things to quieten a little over the next 3 days – yes please! As a result of all this, the cabin’s a bit on the clammy side, and we haven’t actually got round to digging out the Christmas decorations (let’s not exaggerate, we’re talking about a single piece of tinsel here), but hope to be able to do so whilst also extracting from under the cabin floor the Christmas dinner ‘s mum has provided.

MANY thanks to so many of you from taking time out on this fun day to get in touch – it SO makes a difference to us. PLEASE do tell us what pressies you get tomorrow, what you’re eating, and what you’re doing.

There’s been a serious development with the OARS outbreak in Sheffield – a new strain called E4B1 (erg 4 boat 1) has afflicted 4 sufferers who spent yesterday morning in the gym desperately trying to match the miles we’re making, but without a screaming tailwind, of course. Not sure if they were wearing crocs on bare, damp feet for authenticity?

Sheena – you are also obviously seriously infected with OARS – can’t believe you’ve bought the Cracknell & Fogle “The Crossing” DVD to find out more about what we’re up to! Did you ever teach Crackers at school?

Mel reports that one of the other blogs mentions crew members eating 10k cals a day – this is interesting as we moderately recently learned (and other rowers were discussing this before the start) that the human body can actually only process about 7-8,000 a day. You can BURN 10k, but you can’t ingest that many.

Great to hear that Mary and Viv Lavis are blog watching and wearing their Tiger T-shirts every day ( so are we, but we hope you’re washing your more often than we can ours!) and to hear from the KGS Senior girls that our Atlantic Antics are putting their 23k day’s outings into perspective (quality miles makes champions – ours aren’t quality, but we hope yours are).

Mel – you’re doing a grand job with the numerical encouragement – we do love that!

Lisa, thanks for useful info too. Have crews at the front of the fleet been suffering adverse winds – they don’t seem to have moved away from us as much as usual, but the mid fleet have. Are Patience on a similar latitude to us or further N or S? Is there the faintest chance they might pass us close when they eventually catch us?

Great to hear from Isobel & Keith Martin too! And the Barnards!

Thanks to Mandy for one of H’s choc bars today – from cow to chocolate in 3 easy steps!

Finally, Rog – your anagram has stumped me, I’m afraid! Does it have the words speed, enjoy, ocean or happy in it?


  1. happy Christmas from the Honeys! We are watching you each day and want to send you heaps of encouragement as a pressie. Don’t think we officially told you that Peter also has HD and so we were thrilled when we saw Helena’s choice of charity. Robert managed an 11 mile swim (half the English Channel) in aid of the Research Lab at the National Hospital. He organised it himself and really wanted to do the whole way, but we decided he couldn’t quite squeeze it into his half term. You could look him up on the UCL’s website when you get a chance!!! anyway I’m glad he did not choose to swim the width of the Atlantic!

  2. Yes – we are all wrapped up and ready to go. I’m afraid OARS has reached stage 2 here – Rachel has got a copy of the Crackers book in her stocking too! (By the time you read this it will be opened and probably half viewed) When I ordered from Amazon initially they were out of stock – such is the spread of the disease! We will be in Kent tomorrow and then off to Edinburgh for 4 days on Tuesday – so the Scots will be infected (Jon’s sister and brother-in-law). I won’t be able to wait 4 days without at least 20 website visits.
    Hope you enjoy Christmas dinner from a tin. Have you got sprouts too?
    You are over 25% of the way now by my reckoning. Keep going! You’re doing BRILLIANTLY!
    Lots of love to you both on Christmas Day,
    Helen, Jon, Rachel and Laura.

    PS I’ll make sure you have some corny cracker jokes on Boxing Day!

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