When Lt Colonel Bill Kilgore, the character played by the wonderful Robert Duvall in Apocalypse Now, tried to express his feelings for the Vietnam War he said he loved the smell of napalm in the morning – it smelt like victory.
It’s wintertime. There are icicles hanging from the gunwhales of your boat and even the water in the bilges is frozen solid. Spring seems a long, long way away and you’re wondering how to fill those dark evenings and dreary weekends.
A change in European law means that, with effect from January 1 2011, a new type of gas oil will be required for diesel-powered boats on inland waterways – but that change could create real problems for some skippers.
Amateur meteorologist Harry Kershaw from Manchester reckons this winter could be the coldest for 270 years and he says the Thames may freeze over. Judging from the weather over the last couple of weeks, he may not be too far out.
Steve Gray is a man on a mission. He has been the operations manager at Shepperton Marina in Felix Lane, Shepperton for the past seven years and much of his time has been devoted to the project of expanding the marina by adding new mooring pontoons on two of the currently unused lakes on the site.
I recently revealed that the River Thames had won a prestigious international conservation award – the Thiess prize – as the world’s best cared-for river because of the way the quality of the water has been improved over the past fifty years or so.
I just love statistics and facts. I’m afraid I’m one of those real nerds who enjoys sitting down with an encyclopedia or a reference book and just soaking up interesting information about – well – virtually anything at all really.
It never ceases to amaze me what you good people can dig up when it comes to the history of the Thames in Surrey and Middlesex.
Whilst I’ve been busy exploring the wartime exploits of people in our area, I’ve omitted to mention a couple of important up-to-date events involving locals – including a stunning performance in this year’s Great River Race which was won by a crew from Weybridge Sailing Club.
During the 1950s, the River Thames was officially branded a biologically ‘dead’ river. It suffered from all kinds of pollution – both from industrial waste and from sewage – that was being pumped into it. Little could survive in the water and anyone falling into it risked major infection.