Wednesday, 1 September 2010

83. On Rowing and Life

1st September 2010. We went for a ride up the Nive again this morning. We caught the river on the turn and there was no discernible current. Another 20kms..

I'd always remembered an old French entry in the Eurovision Song Contest (without knowing what it was called) that sounded as if it had an Arabic influence. It's a song that, to me, should have done better. I had to do a trawl through France's Eurovision entries on YouTube for the last 25 years or so before I found it. It came from the 1991 Eurovision (don't say we're not up to date here!) and it finished 2nd - so maybe not all that bad after all. So, today's Song du Jour is: Amina (& here in English) and "Le dernier qui a parlé" (The last one who spoke):
An interesting clip here on the techniques used to select the "best" eight oarsmen for a racing VIII. The strongest or fittest aren't necessarily the ones that combine best to make the fastest boat. More here.

There's read-across into the business model too. Here's a taster:

"There is an interesting parallel to this in corporate life. When asking managers to choose between the most competent and the most likeable candidate for a job, they often opt for the most competent. They’d be thought as unprofessional if they didn’t. However, in practice, they do very much the opposite, provided of course the likeable individual is sufficiently competent."
A thought-provoking comment from the clip: Pick your best VIII, not your eight best..

We took Chibby for a run along the grassy open spaces at Anglet beach this evening. At 7.45pm, it was still 31C.. and the sea was flat calm with the hills behind St Jean de Luz and on into Spain showing blue in the evening light..

Don't mention it to Madame but this has caught my eye..!

2nd September 2010. Aah, that's better - life is back to normal.. The July/August mass of holidaymakers have returned home and school has re-started for all 12 million schoolkids today.

I forgot to mention that we had another interesting visitor moored at the bottom of the avenue a couple of weeks ago..
This was the three masted barque Belem (Eng trans) which offers experience under sail to all-comers. She was in transit from Lorient, stopping at Bayonne before heading further south to St Jean de Luz. She reminded me of one of the greatest accounts of life under sail ever written - "The Last Grain Race" by Eric Newby.

In this, Eric Newby's first book, he captured brilliantly all the salty tang of the dialogue of the largely Scandinavian crew on a deep sea voyage in Moshulu, a Finnish registered 4 masted steel barque en route from Belfast to Port Lincoln in Australia in 1939 and the return voyage via Cape Horn, laden with innumerable sacks of wheat. He was just 18 years old. An unforgettable and highly recommended read.

Very nice sortie in an VIII this evening.. 15km.. (Running total 122km)

The late Miriam Makeba exploded onto the scene in 1967 with this memorable record - Pata Pata:

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