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Date: 02 Jan 2010 18:34:59
Title: Happy New Year!

Hi All,
Firstly, Happy New Year to whoever reads these............... Rich and I weren´t expecting to be watching all of Gavin & Stacey series 2 in our apartment before heading down to the La Gomera street party this New Year. I hadn´t watched any of Gavin & Stacey until I came out here and I now love Smithy! The band started playing at 11:30 and at midnight the Spanish have a weird tradition of eating 12 grapes on the countdown to midnight. The locals weren´t pleased when I spat my grape pips like a machine gun at fellow rowers! The band was still cranking out the tunes until 8am although Rich and I bailed fairly early as we were out for a practise row the next morning.
Secondly, Happy 5th Wedding anniversary to my brother and Amanda - I´m glad they got married on NYE otherwise if it was some random date I would never remember it!
Rich and I are sharing an apartment with "No Fear" - another pairs teams comprised of Richard Hoyland and Steve Coe who live locally to us in Surrey and we´re seen a fair bit of them back home. Although Richard and Steve are somewhat more elderly than Richard and I it has been a great laugh sharing with them - good banter, good wind ups and not so good cooking!
The last few days have flown by. Every morning we attend a 9:30 Woodvale briefing meeting to get all the latest race and weather updates. Rich and I then head out for a play on Red Arrow - test things, try and break things, tweak things, talk through "what if´s" and just try and get used to life on Red Arrow. Today we cleaned the hull - to make us go faster, re-packed Red Arrow and have written our final shopping list of fresh food and bits to go and buy tomorrow. We are both doing other training (running or swimming) every day as well which we are both going to really miss. In between all this hard work we are still eating like horses!
The best news until last...........THE RACE IS 100% STARTING ON MONDAY 4TH JANUARY @ 13:30. The race is a month late starting but we now know that it will be happening and we´ll be on the start line before we know it. Our passports have been taken away by the Spanish authorities to be stamped and we should get them back tomorrow. The weather forecast is showing favourable conditions for the first 3 or 4 days and if the predicted 1st week of severe sea sickness isn´t too bad we´ll try and make good ground.
I´m very excited but equally nervous at the same time. The weather experts are predicting a tough, long crossing so we are preparing for the worst but then again Michael Fish said it wouldn´t be a hurricane in 1987! The next blog from me will be when we are at sea..................
Have a great 2010.
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