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London Plans + Sculling Memories

Now that I've got the overall itinerary nailed down, my mind has more room for thinking about other things, like what specific things I'd like to do and see in the different places I'll be visiting.

London has been something of a puzzle for me. I know there are oodles of museums, but I get burned out on museums after ~1-2 hours, and I have mixed feelings about the colonial legacy and misappropriated artifacts. That leaves me with contemporary art options as a safe bet, but then again, I just don't know if a museum environment is the best way to go. I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

Then it hit me this morning, while riding to work. The thing I most want to see and experience is the Thames River. I don't know exactly how this is going to work out, but the Thames is central for me in many different ways. There are the rowing connections, of course. Then there's Virginia Woolf's suicide, and a hundred other literary associations. Maybe, somehow, through some form of black magic I can find a place that will let me go rowing.

Somewhat related, in nostalgic way: on Social Media Site Brand F, I'm subscribed to a group of Pocock handmade wooden rowing shell fanciers. I love seeing the craftsmanship that has gone into the old wooden boats. Yesterday, someone posted a photo of a familiar one, the Daisy. It used to be paired with a second Pocock single, the Rhino, and the pair used to belong to three of my longtime Seattle rowing friends, R, D, and Z K. Z was my freshman novice rowing coach, and R and D are her parents. After my freshman year, there was a brief hiatus, and then Z returned to coaching for my high school my junior year. That summer, she invited me and a handful of others to come and row with a women's masters rowing program. I wound up being the only person to take the bait, and that master's program was where I first started coxing because at the time all of the master's women were terrified of the prospect. It was also my first experience with sculling. Z took me out sculling in a double a number of times (the Priscilla, Queen of the Desert) and we had a grand time zipping around Lake Washington, Lake Union, and the ship canal. She was a phenomenal rower and coach, having rowed on the University of Washington's varsity women's squad during the period where they won nationals for about ten years in a row, back-to-back.

Occasionally, Z would also let me borrow her family's singles - the Olive Oyl, a teeny, lightweight racing shell, and the Daisy, a wooden Pocock single. I was still so new to sculling that I never made it very far in the Olive Oyl (so precarious!), but the Daisy was bigger and more sturdy. When I saw the photos of the Daisy yesterday, vivid memories came rushing back of one summer morning in Seattle where I went out by myself, gingerly lifting the Daisy down from its rack up high in one of the bays at the Pocock Center, placing her down on the docks, putting in the oars, then setting out towards Portage Bay. The water was calm enough for me to row all the way through the Montlake Cut and then out towards Foster Island, where I paused, sweating in the Seattle summer heat, then turned back around and returned to the Pocock Center. Thank you, Daisy, for being a sturdy, patient craft for this novice sculler.

The Daisy has ties to London, and the Thames. The boatbuilder, George Pocock, came over from England with his brother to seek his fortune when it became apparent that he wouldn't be able to follow in his father's boatbuilding footsteps at Exeter. He then became renowned as a premier Seattle boatbuilder for decades, and his boats are still treasured by many.

The Daisy

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Comments

( 4 remarks — Remark )
annikusrex
Aug. 5th, 2015 04:34 pm (UTC)
Tate Modern! You can just sit in the turbine hall or balcony and zone out if you get tired, and it's right on the Thames.
rebeccmeister
Aug. 5th, 2015 06:26 pm (UTC)
Woo! Duly noted! :-)
gfrancie
Aug. 5th, 2015 09:22 pm (UTC)
You should read this.
There is also this to get a sense of the trail.

I would also suggest wandering through some of the vast parks because they often hold a million possibilities. Regent's Park, Hyde Park, Hampstead Heath would wow you with how varied they are. (and you could go rowing.)
pigshitpoet
Aug. 5th, 2015 11:12 pm (UTC)
; '
you do the coolest stuff
( 4 remarks — Remark )

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