By Kerry Evans
It was with no small amount of nerves that I arrived at Vauxhall station to take part in this year’s Parliamentary Boat Race (against Thames!) on the 10th of July.
After rigging Tommy our next challenge was to attempt to look glam in the matching t-shirts and caps we were to wear! Once we had made it across the very busy Vauxhall cross hauling an eight, we had to boat on some of the roughest water I had ever seen (up to that point in the day!) whilst dodging very grumpy Duck tour drivers!
So the adventure began! We spent about half an hour warming up, laughing, dodging waves and fruity remarks from a lively Molesey men’s eight!
We lined up with Thames and we were off! We were with them for a while at the start but it wasn’t long before they had the best of us – our secret weapon of a ‘tenth man’ (our 3 girl is 14 weeks pregnant at the time of the race!) was not enough to conquer the water or Thames on the day.
Race over – it was time for an amazing couple of hours rubbing shoulders with Lords, Ladies, MP’s and rowing types on the House of Lords riverside terrace! There was an amazing view of the Eye, champagne, tea, delicious mini sandwiches and cakes (I think food always tastes slightly better when it’s mini!) and as much strawberries and cream as you could eat!
The event was to not only raise awareness of rowing, but to raise money for charity. Once cheques had been handed out, an unexpected treat was a competitor’s medal presented by Lord Carey so apart from the blue blueness of the free kit, we will always have a memento of our day.
I think had we known what was to come next; we may have decided to leave a little earlier. The tide had turned and I think the row back was the closest I’ve ever come to ocean rowing (I had the theme to Captain Pugwash going round my head for a couple of hours after we got back!!). We took on so much water we had to ask some chaps to help us lift Tommy out of the Thames! More Duck Tour dodging and another trip across the road and it was all over bar the de-rigging of our noble steed!
All in all a great day with the girls and a fun thing to do on a Wednesday afternoon, thanks for the invitation Vesta!