Mo, Mo, Mo Your Boat
So here we are, it’s been another eventful week and we still haven’t covered Part 2 of the Bristol Harbour Festival so we’ll begin there; if you have’t read Part 1 yet you can find it here.
When we left you last we had encountered the most bizarre set of events. However, with a lot of graft and help from others we had managed to get things back on track and were all set to begin the first day of the Bristol Harbour Festival.
Friday morning we set for the harbourside, we had only partially completed the task of sticking on the vinyl stickers and there were many things left to get our blue gazebo looking like the top attraction at the boat show. We split into pairs and divided the work; Mark and Steve were to setup the gazebo with Jon and Dan heading down to the mooring to apply the rest of the vinyls. So while Mark & Steve sailed through their checklist of jobs, Jon & Dan did not… Have you ever cut a long piece of sellotape only for it to stick to itself while you spend the next minute or so untangling it? Well the vinyl stickers were just like that, except this ordeal went on for 2 hours! Eventually they were on and the boat was looking pretty damn good (even if we do say so ourselves).
We started the first hour of the #NutsGoRow Bristol tour and although the people were slow coming in at first, the boat show’s guests grew as morning passed. Towards midday reports came in of some pretty foul weather and boy were they accurate, the waterproofs were chucked on though and we continued to row on through. While all the other companies (wusses) were tucked inside their gazebos we were making some good speed on the ergos and the rain didn’t hamper our spirits. However, those spirits would be momentarily tested with what could be the most hashed interview to date… luckily it was only with a major corporation like ITV.
We said from the get go we want to inspire others by rowing the Atlantic Ocean with zero prior experience. This of course means there will be times where we may look a little silly, this was definitely one of those times. We were talking to the public by the boat when ITV popped over, they wanted a quick interview and some footage of us rowing in the water. Forgetting we couldn’t get the gates for the oars open the night before, we jumped in the boat while Jon gave an interview. Predictably it went similar to the previous evening and it ended up looking more like a gondola along the River Avon than a rowing boat… Fortunately for us, we were saved by the weather (not something we get to say often), the rain hammered down which meant the footage for both interview and the row were extremely brief, masking over the cracks with some great editing. Thankfully there would be another interview the next day and we had to be prepared for it.
The rest of the day was a little sobering, it was a week of bad luck and the interview set us off the wrong way. The rain kept pouring and it was keeping people away, by 6pm there was no one around and Victoria of the Western Boat Show suggested it was time for us to call it a day. At that point we didn’t have the energy to argue, alas, we had a beer, met some great people and had a decent nights sleep (not something we’re akin to on the #NutsGoRow tour).
The alarms went off and the sunlight peeked through the windows, a quick shower and bite to eat and it was time for day 2. To get over the previous days' events we went to the pitch early, jumped in the boat and got some practice in. The water was perfect, still like glass and the air quiet as can be; we set up and down the river for 2 hours, taking it in turns until we knew what we were doing. For the interviews today we were going to be ready!
The morning went by very quickly and before we knew it was midday. We had just had a great interview with BBC Points West (albeit a little spoiled by rain) and while we were loitering around the boat something caught Jon’s eye… It was only Carol Vorderman! With coffee in hand and unassumed confidence Jon walked up and whispered sweet nothings (or squeeled like a fan depending on what version of the story you choose to believe). After a quick chit chat she was on our boat in a flash, asking all the important questions such as where will you go to the toilet… we’re well versed in answering these questions now. There was time for a quick photo and then the media arrived. Some more snaps with Vorders in the boat and then it was all about us. We had ITV down for a touch of redemption and Alex from the Bristol Post was wanting us to take him on the boat and around the harbour.
Jon once again was there to give Ken Goodwin from ITV the interview we had wanted; the boat looking great and us not giving off the appearance of a pack of dogs that had just jumped out of the water. Whilst the interview was tied up nicely with a few pictures of Ken, Dan was showing Alex around the boat until Jon had finished. The oars went into the right seating positions and we edged ourselves away from the mooring, with a few more strokes of the oar we were out onto the river and facing the right way round (always important). Mark guided Jon & Steve through the river traffic as Dan answered Alex’s questions for a Facebook live chat and before we knew it, we were tied back on the moor and everyone was out of the boat. There was time to thank the media for coming down before reflecting on the mornings interviews. we were overwhelmed by the interest shown in our team, relieved it started in a more positive way and had renewed confidence with the way we handled it (the Nuts OVer The Atlantic we know). It certainly overshadowed the bleaker events of the days leading up to today.
A little later on came the part of the festival we were all looking forward to… rowing down the river in front of our families, friends and people of Bristol. We were made to wait while the boats ahead turned around so we went back up the river towards the SS Great Britain and turned around for a flying row-by. We passed the Matthew and then the M Shed in front of thousands of people until we got to the pontoon where the interviewer was stood. We didn’t practice this bit so when Dan jumped off we were half expecting him to fall in the river (fingers crossed for next time)… As we circled around the harbour, showing off our sponsor’s logos as we promised (a Nut always pays his debt), Dan was answering the questions. After 15 minutes of circling the harbour in front of our fans (or soon to be fans…) we set back off to the gazebo. Some of you may have noticed from our social media accounts that there were only three Nuts on the boat. It's safe to say Dan wasn’t too happy with the billion mile walk through the city to get back ;).
The rest of the day was over in a flash, once again the site of the Western Boat Show was gated up which meant no custom and no possibility of rowing through the night. So, we packed up what we needed to, closed up the panels and headed back for a good meal and nights’ sleep. All the media had been completed with a bang and now it was time for us to enjoy the final day and our last row in the harbour (for now).
Sunday started the same way as Friday, raining and miserable but we didn’t care. We’d had a great day of rowing and media yesterday, with a good nights’ sleep just to top it all off. There weren’t a great deal of people around so it was nice just to relax. The Bakers’ family had come round with some sausage baps and a fresh pot of coffee… perks of the job, aye? We felt for some of the marine companies who’s custom was affected by the weather, but for us our job was done. We rowed through the river once again and once again Dan jumped off for the interview. Everything went super smoothly and the day gently fizzled out…unusual for one of our events! Packing up took longer than expected but once we had got the boat back to the other side of the river for Tim (Jon’s Dad) to take home, there wasn’t much left to do but go home, relax and reflect on the weekend.
So that’s it, there were lots of bad times and amateur moments, but lenty of adulation and good times too. We had so much help from friends and family throughout the weekend, especially Pete Nannini, Seth Ford, Joanne Mitchell and Kate Gould. There were many others and we are incredibly grateful for your effort, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you!
In the next blog find out how the team has been preparing and taking part in the Bristol Balloon Fiesta. Be sure to come back and read all about it!