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Friday, 14 September 2018

The Great Monmouth Raft Race

There is the Venice Film Festival, Glyndbourne, Ascot, and then there is the Monmouth Raft Race where ingenious, sometimes bizzare homemade rafts race each other along a six and a half mile stretch of the River Wye to Whitebrook. It’s necessarily a timed race because there is no starting line wide enough to accommodate almost a hundred rafts.
         Like most things Monmouth does – like the largest free musical festive in Europe – it’s homespun, organised by volunteers and the community at large.
        Below is a selection of some of my favourite rafts, one of which I thought would be a winner but wasn’t, one of which capsized and fell apart, its crew attempting to complete the six miles on individual barrels.

The river, as calm as the channel on D Day, placidly awaiting it's fate.


And more Vikings

These guys mean business

These two also, perhaps

Sedate, stylish, but will it float?

Did you doubt it? No doubt they'll be serving tea and cucumber sandwiches 
beneath the canopy

Ah, Mr President

Pursued by irate Mexicans

Whitebrook is about to be pillaged. 

And now we have tragedy in slow motion.

No way can they keep this craft stable.

And then it collapses completely

And here we see the indomitable human spirit - a barrel and paddle, we'll get there.


Maria Zannini said...

People can come up with some weird contraptions. Since I float like a rock, I prefer to watch from a safe distance. That looked like fun though.

Mike Keyton said...

Great fun, Maria. Ref floating as a rock, can you swim or is it just something you're not particularly fond of?

Maria Zannini said...

I can't swim. I sink out of panic every time.

Mike Keyton said...

That's awful Maria - awful for you for missing out as opposed to awful as a criticism :)
I understand what you're saying but find it hard to imagine when just a languid movement of an arm or a leg keeps me afloat, and more importantly, my head above water :) Mind you, there's probably less need to swim deep in Texas. Are you well provided with leisure centres and swimming pools?

Maria Zannini said...

Greg has tried to teach me to swim for decades. When I was a kid I even went to the local YMCA to learn to swim. My brain refuses to believe a body can be buoyant even when everyone around me disproves my theory. I'm stupidly stubborn that way.

I make an effort to stay away from water. Back when Greg used to go boating in the Gulf, I always wore a life vest.

Mike Keyton said...

Well, we all have different strengths and weaknesses. How's your hand by the way?

Maria Zannini said...

The hand is good. The drugs brought down the inflammation the next day. Thanks for asking. :)

Mike Keyton said...

Excellent :)

DRC said...

What an excellent day this looks to be! Such fun! And the irate Mexicans pursuing Mr President was hilarious.

Maria, I'm completely the opposite when it comes to swimming. I float. So much so I failed my swimming test as a kid because I couldn't dive down to retrieve the rock. What a sight that must have been with my posterior bobbing up and down as I struggled to sink :D However, roller skating on the other hand is something I can never do. I even had professionals try and teach me when I was 18 but I still couldn't do it. People on wheels is as alien to me as buoyancy is to you. But never mind. Glad your hand is better (not sure what was wrong there) and Mike, thank you for the laugh...

Mike Keyton said...

Hi DRC, long time no see. Hope you're good. I'm with you on the roller skating/ice skating malarky. I have no sense of balance and fall where the wind takes me. I am though a natural floater, though as children we indulged in teh game of breathing all the air out of or body to see who could sit the longest under water, drinking imaginary cups of tea. Weird, I know. But then it was Liverpool, and we were fairly stupid :)