Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday's spotlight - "Row, Row, Row your boat"

By guest blogger Pete.

It's quite an achievement to row across the Pacific Ocean. Yet that is just what two men recently achieved. They set off from Japan and didn't see dry land again until they reached San Francisco. In all it took them 189 days. That's dedication to a task if anything is! However, even their remarkable achievement had a disappointment near the end. They had wanted to be the first to complete such a trip without outside support. Unfortunately they ran out of food just a few days short of San Francisco and an emergency drop had to be made to them. I don't know how the folk undertaking that drop managed it but that evening on T.V. we had a shot of one of the rowers enjoying a hot burger. Perhaps MacDonalds have a floating restaurant now. They seem to be everywhere so it wouldn't really surprise me!

The names of these intrepid two men - both of whom found it rather difficult to walk on dry land again (they didn't offer the obvious reason for that inability) -are Mick Dawson and Chris Martin. Now, Mic Dawson is a Lincolnshire lad and the county is very proud of him and what he succeeded in doing. Our local radio - Radio Lincolnshire - kept in touch with both rowers throughout their trip and early morning listeners - plus those not quite so early as other early morning listeners are - were able to hear regular updates on their progress.

Thus Lincolnshire will soon welcome back a true fellow "yellow belly". That's rather a strange name but true Lincolnshire folk are known as "Yellow Bellies". A couple of years or so ago a large number of folk displayed "Proud to be a Yellow Belly" stickers in their cars. When I was a child - then living in Southampton - to be called a "yellow belly" meant that you were a coward. My father was born in Lincoln and although I first saw the light of day in the Channel Islands I claim his birth here in this city as sufficient reason to regard myself as a "Yellow Belly". No-one seems to know the true origin of this nick name, except that there are no cowardly connections. The most popular explanation was that, centuries ago, a regiment from Lincolnshire were fighting in some battle somewhere and had to make progress by crawling through newly ploughed fields. They mud that they picked up during their crawl was from a yellow ochre type of earth and thus the name "Yellow Belly" stuck to them. I take full responsibility for that awful pun.

Much to my relief the painting is finished. I was dreading attempting the trees and although I didn't leave them to the very last they did come just before the colouring of the roadway. When (and if) the picture is framed then the large block of foliage will be reduced by cutting it off parallel to the walkers on the far right. Hope you like it.

Keep on rowing -- you'll get there eventually.

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