If you start with the premise that boys generally know where they are on the river (except coxes!!), try to pull hard and think technique is for poofs, and that girls NEVER know where they are (except Dot and Sue), try to pull hard a bit and totally concentrate on technique, you understand the following!!

It all started on calm Autumn morning, when Jen Woods discovered what she had let herself in for. In the ruck just below the island, she paddled off slowly!! Wrong!! Jo Chesney in full combat mode piled into Jen, but got her come uppance as she slowly and gracefully slide over and out. Welcome to "below the Lock". I believe Jen was chilled to the core by the complete lack of concern – she was naturally mortified to pitch Jo in, while the Emma/Kristel assassin squad were completely unmoved – "should keep clear" being the general theme from the cement faced ones.

Next to join in was Julie McCulloch who was soon to be come a star. Kristel (who WILL have the inside) was harrying Julie from behind and not getting her way at all, continued to force through a gap full of Julie's sculling boat, caught Julie's blade and over goes Julie. Charmingly, Kristel managed a quick "sorry" (Sorry - my arse - quote Julie, later), and was gone – cue PT doing his International rescue bit (it is now December and a tad chilly). Quick whiz to Chez Wilson, and one wet girl in all PT's scare gear is in the Wilson shower – offers to warm up with Mike (still sensibly in his pit) in bed are politely declined. Even better - Julie gets a lift to MRC while PT rescues the boat. Thanks Wilson once again.

Julie's also fallen out for Britain, while in Ghent she collected a buoy and gracefully rolled in – much to Johnny Foreigner Fisherman's amusement, compounded when Julie attempted to swim to the bank. It appears Julie now knows the Flemish for "Stand up you daft bint, it's only four feet deep!!". How red were her cheeks!!!!

Top prize and triple play award was completed by Julie in January on a very flooded weekend. PT had pushed his luck on Saturday and stayed in singles. However the river had risen overnight even more; the EA had bent the Captain's ear over supper and he had promised big boats only, full safety mode etc!! PT being a rampant early riser, had the troops out before Rigsby had the first coffee on board, and was just about to start the last piece upstream when a pus Leader appeared in his "Quo Vadis" chariot, insisting PT bring in the singles before Paul was barbecued alive by the EA/ARA safety goons. PT, diplomatic as ever, was in full flow pointing out that Rigsby was in short trousers when he started coaching/PT taught PC all he knew etc etc as any power mad ego maniac of course reasonably does!!!! With the timing of a Carry On film, PT sees out of the corner of his eye the telltale sign of a sculling blade arcing over the water – OOPS big time!! While still in full flow, PT hit the throttle and with "And another thing" hanging in the air, hared off to rescue unknown wet person as his embarrassment reached melt down. Hello Mrs Mac – nice timing pet!!!! PT got his own back "unwittingly" (likely story) by attempting to remove Julie's wet gear prior to putting on dry clothing – standard rescue procedure – getting carried away and trying to remove Julie's All in One. Julie was so cold that PT cannot understand "I've got nothing else on!!" through frozen lips. News of the World????

Fortunately the baton has been passed on for 2000; the "South Africans (do you really row in the rain?!)" have both fallen out in/warming up for competitions, and "Bob" signalled her return with an early bath. As for Catrin's steering – watch this space!!!! Julie will also be back for more – no doubt