December 2014

Quiz Night 22 November 2014

The second OTRC Quiz night was held at the Queen Victoria Hall on 22 November 2014.  If anything, it was EVEN more successful than the first!
A grand total of £1,722 was raised. Congratulations to all involved in the organisation:
  • Queen of Questions: Rhona
  • Chilli Champ: Jo
  • Raffle (Ar)ranger: Jennie
  • Quartermaster (and runner and photographer): Claire
  • MC: Simon
  • Bar Tenders: Pete, Mike, Charlie, John
  • Coin Flipper: Angela
  • Artist in residence: Debbie
And thanks to EVERYONE else who helped with anything setting up, clearing away, rubbish collecting, glorious-pudding makers, and so and, and so on, including those of you who came along to support and spend your money!
“It was very quizzy and interesting.  We all enjoyed it.  We hope you do it again.  Lovely Chilli – thanks” (Alfie Pendred, aged 11).
“Thanks very much to Rhona and all her Team on a cracking Quiz Night. There were many who helped out and it was another fine example of the OTRC Spirit. Well Done ! “ (John M)
“University -> Oundle = Free Food + Pub Quiz = good fun + drink..  Good old fashioned OTRC banter – definitely worth getting the train home.” (Our Student Rowers – who obviously didn’t pay for their own tickets. Free food?!)
“Super evening, great company.  Meal was pretty hot stuff. Ditto repeat – all in favour say Ay! – Ay,Ay,Ay,Ay,Ay,Ay,Ay (x8) – (Shockwave – the Phizacklea and Smid families)
“Can I, on behalf of us all, thank those folk who did such a brilliant job in organizing and staging the Quiz Night on Saturday?  It was a fantastic event and a great showcase for us as a club. Non-members were effusive in their praise. 
It takes an incredible amount of talent and commitment to put on an event that reaches that standard of perfection.... well done to you all.” (Chairman Mao – Alan Mc)
“Good choice of Ale. Great food – well done to Jo & all the dessert makers. Good to see the Stratt-lets: I wonder how Jack will feel in the morning….! Not bad for a first outing (referring to Celia’s performance). Thanks for the gluten free options.”   (Celia’s Crew)
Same time, same place, next year? Or will it be something different?  Wait and see?

Captain’s Update - by John Milborne

After the summer holidays we returned to racing with the OTRC event. This year we trialled a Head to Head format run down and up the “Mill Straight”. We tried to maximise the length of the course and ran the event over the non-Olympic distance of 430m with crews using a racing start as practice for Milton Keynes the following week. Once again the OTRC spirit came to the fore with numerous club members helping out with marshaling, time keeping, catering etc. to produce a great days entertainment at the club. Two Men’s Eights tied for the top spot and there are still mutterings from the crews as to who was in fact the best crew. Our new junior rowers, from the Learn to Row program took part in the “virus challenge”, which is a set of skills tests completed in the virus boats. The juniors then displayed their bravery by attempting the capsize drill in the cool waters of the river Nene - completing the entertainment for the spectators!
The following week we competed at Milton Keynes Regatta, which was under a slightly different format this year and included competitions for new racers over the full regatta course (approximately 500m). Rather than the previous year’s free program, this year crews or boats were not able to compete more than once in either am or pm session which reduced our entry. The events were keenly contested with several very close finishes and although we won several events unfortunately not enough to win the overall competition. Our new adult racers competed in the lunchtime sessions including some mixed scratch doubles. It was a thoroughly enjoyable days racing with all groups from the racing section able to support each other both vocally and with boating etc. The OTRC spirit was to the fore encapsulated by Daisy, one of our new Learn to Row junior rowers, who wasn’t racing but came to support the club and ended by helping with boating. rigging and shoe collecting.
October saw the club return to the Head format racing, where crews are timed over a course rather than racing side by side. The return to Head racing is traditionally seen as the start of the year for rowing and a step up in level of competition after the more relaxed events at OTRC and Milton Keynes. The crews stepped up to the mark with a number of the junior crews racing in adult events e.g  J15 quad and WJ18 quad and they were in way outclassed, if fact the girls quad dominated their event. The adults were led by Simon who won in both of his events.
November saw as back at Bedford once again , this time hosted by Star club. The turnaround between divisions is a little quicker than at Bedford the month before and several members left it a little late to arrive at the course, increasing the stress levels of the coaches! The girls J16 squad were the stars of the junior section with the quad containing two new racers giving our experienced girls J18 quad a run for their money and Rochelle also pushing the experienced and older Lel in the single. In the adult section after Simon’s dominance at the last event, a more familiar situation returned with Philip entering two events and winning them both. The next event will be Northampton Head on Saturday 24th January.

Best Blazer Award

This month’s star Blazer is for John Milborne, for locking a junior in Cambridge House when we were packing up to leave the other week-end. Poor child………scarred for life, I should think.

Dates for the Diary

The club is trying a new system for organising members to compete. Two coaches will be responsible for the organisation of each event, so published below are the dates and organisers for the next few events:
Saturday 24th January: Northampton Head. Vicky (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ), Anita (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
Sunday 15th February: Bedford Fours & Eights.  Simon (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ), Richard (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
Sunday 15th March: Lincoln Head. Peter (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ), Charlie (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

Caption Competition 

 “If I hold my arm in the air, I might get some mobile reception so we can call the RNLI.”  -  Philip.   In fact, Philip sent in all 4 entries so Jo is just going to provide Philip with a selection of photos to keep him occupied in future!

Membership Matters

Thank you to everyone who has renewed their membership for the current year to August 2015.  We now have 116 members.  However there are actually 124 people currently rowing at some time during the week, so for the remaining 8, please can you return your membership form and payment as soon as possible?  Many thanks, Simon Murray (Membership Secretary)

Poetry Corner

  • There once was a very strict Judge.  From decisions he never would budge. “You’ve all been quite naughty. My snitches have caught thee. So off to the bar you must trudge!”  (AA)
  • Aunty Angela came down to row, With a mightily sore right elbow, She asked Captain John, For his healing hands on, And now she’s aiming for Rio!  (PC)    
  • And another….  A stroke-sider had a bad row, Because he was forced to row bow (ahhhh got you – read it again!), He said to the Boat, I’ll just get my coat, Unless I row stroke-side right now! (PC)

Ole! Sculling in Andalucia - by Jennie Stratton

In the very detailed information sent to us were the instructions to have a mobile phone in a waterproof case with you in the boat with the following numbers: Ambulance 061, Guardia Civil 062, Fire department 080, National police 091.  So there were 8 quite pensive novice scullers in the 49 and above age category meeting up for the first time at our Bed and Breakfast in Algodonales.
Lake El Gastor was spotted as an ideal rowing venue by our coach for the week Monika Beekman, whilst paragliding the previous summer.  Monika’s meticulous planning and preparation meant that every day we met for breakfast at 7.30 and were down at the lake for 08.30.  
Lake Gastor is a beautiful lake approximately 5.5 km, and part of a nature reserve.  The only neighbours we had for the majority of the time were the odd canoeist and the cattle munching away on the banks.  
We were videoed every day and given particular things to work on – however in addition to this my personal aim was to stay on top of the water rather than in it.  We rowed for about 4 hours and then came back in to look at the videos and have by then a well-deserved drink.  We then had every afternoon off to do sightseeing etc.
The scenery was glorious and the weather was perfect – mostly- so, what better way to spend the day but to mess about on the water, make new friends and then in the evening eat, drink and be merry? A dream-come-true for us rowers.  
And for those of you who are interested, this is the best way to learn to scull and face up to your demons whether they be fears or just bad technique.  Music to the Captains ears when I ask him if l can row in a single...

Cookery corner aka “Recipes for Racers”  by Philip

After Bedford Star, Maureen asked me what I eat to see if she could improve Lel’s performance even further.  So, here goes:
On training days during the week I have a particularly nutritious lunch with a number of benefits.  You may not like the combination of flavours, but it works for me!
Marmite on toast topped with sardines in sunflower oil and covered in baked beans with ground black pepper to season…..mmmmmm!
Marmite keeps the biting insects at bay, the sardines attempt to ensure my brain doesn’t go to mush (that’s a hard one, I admit!) and the baked beans….well they’re good for the heart, aren’t they?
I anticipate a Michelin Star before long, and I think you’ll agree that I’ll certainly deserve it….!

Maintenance Days Saturday 18th October & Saturday 25th October

The two main jobs for this session were to clear the slipway of reeds and to attempt to resolve the Boat House flooding problem since in heavy rain the current drainage system can’t cope.   The new installation is designed to divert water from the car park away from the steps and preventing it from causing problems…..we’ll see if the system works when it rains again…..!  If necessary we might have to have another drainage party in the spring…….watch this space!
So thank you to:
  • Joe Pendred dragged his Dad and younger brother along – in fact they were chomping at the bit at 8am!  A marvellous effort from all three got the trench dug at the top of the steps for the new drain.
  • Brian & Jon H joined the fun together with Ian & John C, whose daughter rows on a Sunday – they all dug a further trench for the new drain to connect to the guttering pipework.  Then Brian & John mixed the concrete as Keely announced that she has a concrete mixer at home… (great timing Keely!)
  • Alan (who was still suffering a seasonal lurgie at the time) started in the ditch (that is to say clearing the ditch before the lower gate) and then laid the path to CH – there’ll be a job waiting for you at Peterborough City Council you when you retire, Alan – membership of the Worshipful Company of Paviors included (!
  • Maureen and Daisy laid on refreshments in the guise of lashings of tea and bacon sarnies (see what the rest of you missed!).  Anita was the star who thought ahead and supplied the ingredients.
  • Lel contributed gluten free white chocolate and bramley apple madeleines – I think she should enter “Bake Off” with such a recipe; thanks also to Fiona and Aunty Angela who both baked delicious cakes and Maureen for the biscuits when the cake ran out.
  • Richard (and his Dad’s metal detector), then Charlie D and Daisy became detectorists for an hour or so and removed bits of metal left from the fire we had at the last maintenance session – hinges, nails, screws and all sorts of other sharp objects which now won’t be there to threaten anyone’s tyres.
  • Will B donned his favourite bit of Boat House equipment – the waders - to clear the reeds on the slipway with assistance from Charlie D.
  • John M for his wheelbarrow and spade – both used to full effect.
  • Jenny ably assisted Hugh in constructing an inventory of the Boat House, whilst Simon & the ubiquitous Charlie D took to origami with tennis balls to lessen the damage that the rigger ends do to rowers’ heads when the boats are on the racks.
  • Anthony made a start on some boat repairs and Colin patched the launch, hopefully allowing it to be re-named the “Inflatable” from the currently more accurate “De-flatable”.
Furthermore, a number of verbal contributions: 
  • advice on how to swing a pickaxe – you know who you are and we look forward to next time, when you can show us how to do it, Jo!
  • the club’s only qualified plumber (as far as we now) pointedly suggested that we may want to lay the drain in a straight line…..!
  • …..and finally, thank you to anyone and everyone who contributed whilst my back was turned (including Clair for the photo below) – apologies for leaving you out – your contributions are all very much appreciated!

The following Saturday we finished off the concreting and then helped Dan from Nene Valley Boats to repair the road, so thank you to Jon H, Will B. and Ron H (from U3A) who between them formed our very own chain gang.  All members, together with junior members’ parents will all be very grateful for the easier ride now available to their vehicles’ suspension springs!

Letters to the Editor

Dear Auntie Angela,
I am not one to complain, and generally pride myself on my tolerance and amiability. These genial character traits, combined with a natural inclination to indolence, mean that I am very rarely moved to put pen to paper. However, recent insupportable circumstances have forced my hand, and hence I find myself writing to you in the hope that you will be able to use your not-inconsiderable influence in the rowing world to improve the lives of many long-suffering rowing spouses (spice?).
The situation that has arisen is thus: My best beloved has spent many a long, windy, rainy, cold Sunday (from what I can gather, it is a necessary condition that any Sunday on which a regatta takes place be long, windy, rainy and cold) taking part in a variety of races, for some of which he has been the lucky recipient of a prize. 
And herein lies the crux of my problem. Without wishing to sound ungrateful, and being fully cognizant of the fact that there must be some incentive for rowers to spend hours at a time in windy, rainy and cold conditions (for I find it hard to believe that anyone partakes in such a masochistic activity because they actually enjoy it), why is it that the prize is always a tankard? And moreover, a tankard nigh on identical to every other tankard he has won before?  Once one has one tankard, what is one to do with another? And another? And another? And more to the point, where is one to keep the aforementioned items when one's china cabinet (a 1950s cast-off from one's mother) is already full of one's children's silver Christening spoons, moneyboxes and, oh look, tankards! 
Just thinking about them all makes me feel like hyperventilating. I fear that things have become so bad in terms of tankard storage availability that, though I smile and wish him well as he heads off to his regattas nowadays, I am secretly sending prayers to the gods of rowing (I confess that I am not aware of their exact names, but am sure you will enlighten me) that he will not win. 
Apparently the gods have been listening for, thank heavens, he hasn't won a thing lately. I apologise to his crew members, who were maybe hoping for the odd victory, but am sure that they will understand that I do this only out of concern for all involved. I would never wish to inflict the agony of the storage problems we have suffered on other rowers and their spice, and act only out of concern for the common good. 
When discussing the desperate plight in which we have found ourselves with members of the Oundle rowing community, I have been somewhat disheartened by their apparent lack of sympathy. I was even more disappointed to be subjected to hoots of derogatory laughter when I recently made what appeared to me to be an eminently sensible suggestion: rather than awarding this plethora of ubiquitous, silver-coloured, anodyne drinking vessels left, right and centre, the various rowing clubs should present winners with items of some actual and proven use. 
What immediately springs to mind is something along the lines of vouchers for an establishment we can all depend upon to provide a wide range of quality merchandise, with something to appeal to everyone, young or old, male or female, rower or spice. How about, oh, I don't know...John Lewis vouchers? I really do not understand what everyone seemed to find so funny about a suggestion which, to me, bears the hallmark of a great idea. Which, incidentally, is one more hallmark than I have been able to find on any of the tankards. 
I am fully aware that, in writing this open letter, I will be subjected to much derision from various quarters, but I feel confident that there will be an equal number of quiet, possibly even secret, supporters who, though they may not feel able to declare their support openly in the bluff, hale and hearty environment of the rowing club, are nevertheless in complete agreement with the sentiments I express. I shall therefore continue, with full belief in the righteousness of my cause, to propound the issuance of John Lewis vouchers as prizes. I feel that it is my duty to keep other spice safe from the scourge of the tankards.
I do hope that you will publish my letter in the latest chapter of your Epistle to the Oundelians and, knowing how the local rowing community looks to you to offer sound advice and to lead by example, look forward to your endorsement and continued support in my campaign.
Yours sincerely,
Mrs. Pot.
By Achelous, Mrs (Crack) Pot! 
What can you be thinking?  I am amazed that you should suggest that tankards are unsuitable rewards for rowing prowess.  Our affectionate name for such an object – the ‘Pot’ – is a direct reference to the Greek Gods of the rivers, the Potamoi (you did ask!) and, as such, the altering of the prize would invoke their wrath and bring calamity to any rowing club.  Have you not witnessed the uneasiness of your (obviously well-endowed) spouse when a medal rather than a Pot/Tankard is won?  It goes against all that is sacred.   Imagine his dismay if an item of paper were awarded instead.  How can you consider challenging his spirituality in such a way?
And as to your suggestion that Tankards are not useful! Who would be without a sturdy, yet elegant alcoholic drinking vessel? It’s just what a J14 rower needs, whether they are male or female!
I also believe you should be counting your blessings (from the Potamoi).  You, unlike some of us, have a large, matching set of tankards to bring out at dinner parties.  They are, surely, an excellent addition to any table, being both attractive and an entertaining conversation piece.  Your spouse could keep the guests enthralled for hours with tales of his prowess.
 We mere mortals in the rowing world, who find the acquisition of a tankard extremely difficult and infrequent and are, therefore, completely unsympathetic to your plight, have to make do with boring wine glasses.  
I also refer you to my reply to Mary Crimbo (who was also whining, miserably about having too many pots) in Newsletter number 11 (December 2012), where a wide variety of household uses – including festive ones – were provided. I would be happy to provide you with a copy if you so require.
While I am an advocate of free speech, Mrs Pots (hence the publication of your letter), and do, myself, love nothing better than a John Lewis voucher, I think you are sailing rowing too close to the wind with this suggestion.   I hope you will not try to take this further by inciting a revolt within the spice!
May the gods forgive you!
Auntie Angela x


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