As I write this the Cathedral of Notre Dame is still smoldering after a devastating fire. Having visited Paris many times, I only visited the cathedral once as the queues to get in it are fairly epic having around 30,000 visitors per day. I’m not religious but the historic and architectural loss is heartbreaking. Coming within 30 minutes of being lost forever, the French firefighters have done an amazing job of containing the fire and giving the world a chance to rebuild. Here are my photographs from 2005 of how it used to look.
Anyone living in London would probably agree that we take our traditions and attractions a little for granted. From time to time I try and do something on the tourist trail and always find it interesting. The last time was on my birthday when I visited and rode the Royal Mail train that used to run under London. Small doesn’t cover it but a great experience.
Something I’ve always had a vague interest in seeing is the Oxford vs Cambridge boat race. However I’ve never been that bothered enough to actually see if live. Normally the weather is bloody awful and frankly, watching two sets of very privilege people rowing boats against each other just made me resent their elitist institutions even more. This year was the 165th year of the boat race and I finally found the motivation to attend.
I got myself alongside Hammersmith bridge and waited for the race to start. As I looked around at the fairly large crowds that were gathering, I started to realise that the race was really an excuse for a big party and of course, drinking alcohol The atmosphere was actually great and the Mungos and Ruperts weren’t too annoying. The Womens, Mens and reserve races were dominated by Cambridge university taking victory in all the races. This year the men’s Cambridge team had former olympian James Cracknall on hand to help them. Anyone using a rowing machine in the gym will know how hard it is and the amount of training and dedication needed for these men and women to compete in the race and over the distance is impressive. How they find the time to study is beyond me.
The safety aspect was looked after by Chiswick RNLI that did an excellent job protecting the crowds along the riverside and with actually on the water.
The boat race party continued long after the races were over and I was impressed with it all. I don’t know how often I’d go along but I’m glad I did. Make the most of your local event and attractions. You can’t assume they will be around forever.