Read A Great Blog and Build An M3 GTR

Regular readers and friends may have noticed two things over the period of my blogging. I tend to have a rather erratic posting schedule and a fondness for my past endeavours of rowing. And so here it is, the third blog entry in 24 hours. But it’s here for a reason.

I’ve been following the Atlantic rowing race chiefly through the exploits of James Cracknell and Ben Fogle. Catching up with them via the Telegraph Podcast, their 2 Men In a Boat website and the official Atlantic Rowing Race site. Whilst their experiences are dramatic and an intense physical and mental struggle, what has fascinated me a little more this week are the tales of Chris Martin and his boat ‘Pacific Pete’.

Dealing with aching distances, fatigue, hunger, fear and technical malfunction when there are two or four people on board is bad enough. When there’s only one person it must be genuinely hellish. Then to read such pragmatic and entertaining blog entries from a guy going through it is genuinely inspiring. I have bemoaned rowing blisters, tendonitis and back cramps after intensive weeks rowing myself, but to multiple this by factors of 10 and add in all the other ocean-rowing factors is unimaginable and he has my utmost respect. I shall be glued to his, and the other crews, progress for the next two weeks to see what transpires.

As a starting point, read the entry for day 41 and work backwards.

On another note. A colleague obtained the first issue (‘only 50p’) of the much-advertised ‘Build An M3 GTR’ magazine series. It contained a chrome effect wheel, foam-filled tyre and a small plastic object. There are 95 issues in this series at a total cost of nearly £600. For that money I could buy a salvaged M3 and take I apart myself over 95 weeks. These things are a colossal waste of money. As typified by DeAgostini ... read the Watchdog report on DeAgostini here and the criticism levelled by Blagger.com.

That said, I could be swayed. By the end of the year I would be a qualified gemmologist, an expert in copperplate calligraphy and have Crimean War toy soldier collection that would be the envy of my friends and family.

In response, a friend writes:

“I find those adverts hilarious. It amazes me that people have so little going on in their lives that they might need a rubbish hobby generated for them.”

“[someone he knows] has been receiving "Build your own robot" by subscription for the last 12 months. I always have a look at it though the clear polybag when it comes. It’s hilarious. Last month it came with some kind of circuit board and some LED eyes. I don't know what it will do when it is complete. Presumably you will be able to press a button on the back of its head to make it say "I am a robot - bibbitty bibbitty bibbitty" and stamp its feet a bit.”

Lovely. Now go and read Chris’ blog.

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