Posted by: Helena Smalman-Smith | January 18, 2012

Day 45: Claws 4?

Or maybe that’s Paws 4. Either way, we have 4 hands between us, to hold the blades (and to answer R’s parents query, we have been using both each!).However, as generally happens at this stage in ocean rows, they’re starting to suffer from a bit of wear and tear. R had some incipient fungal infections at the edges of his nails a couple of weeks ago, but these are now nicely under control by dipping fingers in bottle of surgical spirit several times a day, as you do.

However, we’ve both got variants of claw hand. Generally this mostly affects the 3rd finger (piano numbering) – H also has it a bit in the 4th finger. Interestingly, H’s left hand is more affected (she’s right-handed) and R’s right hand is the most complaining of his (he’s left-handed), so it’s probably to do with existing strength rather than having to pull the boat round in a particular direction against the wind. H’s doesn’t bother her when rowing, but when she stops for a while, she finds fingers very stuff to bend (this is not the version when hands claw up and have to be uncurled). R’s is a bit worse and has been bothering him when rowing in difficult conditions, but has felt better today as he’s been using those neoprene paw thing Roger recommended, which increases diameter of blade handle (the usual cause of real claw hand). H has had a minor form of the version she’s got whilst skiffing, so is actually quite relieved that it’s taken this long to kick in!

Right, millions of other things to cover today so stay tuned………

Chris M, you’re a mind reader that I was wondering how TT and JB were doing – could you send a message to John Beeden to congratulate him – and maybe let him know that he is the ONLY rower from our class (of 12) at KTY who will have made an unassisted crossing at the first attempt – a somewhat jinxed class? Also glad to hear it is cold and dank in London (it’s important not to forget this).

Today started badly with the devastating news from Geraint that Boston Marathon, cancelled last September because of weed, has been rescheduled for 1 April (and apparently this is not a joke). PLEASE can people find some critical things that we need to be doing that day so we don’t have to re-enter? Surely R should be on a training camp, and H is probably needed to cox some skiff event?

Baz, a good return of serve with 3 jokes after those 2 squibs – but I don’t know what octopuses wear in cold weather or what one wave said to the other wave. However, it is easy to weigh fish as they come with their own scales!

Liz – Ah, I’m now with you, I was confused about what initiative Hammersmith was your response to (Charleses – we got it without her hint, but it took us pathetically long!). However, I have no clue what is outside houses in Barbados unless it’s Archway?

Great to hear from AMK (wow!) and Sarah O (dog on the SOFA?!) for the first time, and that OARS can be caught at altitude (Lavericks etc plus Lydia in Alps), and that Michael had to borrow his son’s phone to treat his OARS symptoms (incidentally, I’ve seen your normal phone and it’s pretty like our sat phone… though I am one to talk as my normal phone came from ebay and as a result seems to do predictive text in Hungarian…)

Charlotte and gang – lovely to hear from you and MANY thanks for your offer of kind donations to St Mungo’s and the Huntington’s Disease Association – and also for roping your friends in to this too! (got slightly confused by your text which started “2 friends will be giving” as one of the crews that had to retire after a capsize was called “2 friends” and as they’re Swedish, I thought it surprising you knew them! But I got there in the end.

Di Binley, no, definitely not calm enough for dipping yet – see picture! And thanks for msgs Cath and Rachael B (where, relatively, on the Geneva course are we? And I can greatly recommend 3 inches of memory foam to avoid Geneva Bum…)

Great to get your text just now Nick and Toby – we’re clinging on to that thought that land is great! Don’t suppose you fancy coming back out to give us a tow in – meet you at about 600nnm to go?

And finally some poetry – first from R’s parents:

We’re trying to do just as you bade us
SO relieved you have met no tornados
Your blogs are so cheerful
We’ve not yet been tearful
Pull on to the west and Barbados!

And second from Philip (who has a frighteningly good understanding of life at sea…) – to the tune of “The day thou gavest lord is ended)
The day though gavest is causing me problems
I’ve got bad sunburn and crusty hair
A fart in the cabin has me offended
I’ve opened the skylight to let in fresh air!

Coming tomorrow – a brilliant maths puzzle from the Steinitz (one of whom R has taught maths to).

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