Thursday, 7 June 2007

Through the Looking Glass.

It was a beautiful night last night. After a failed attempt at hiring a punt from Scudamore's (which, it seems, shut earlier than advertised), some college friends, Benjamin, Adam and I had a late-night picnic in the gardens of Sidney Sussex college. Several "good ideas" later on, Ahmed, Ali and the girls went to bed. Benz, Adam and I decided to test the Sidney punt, Lazy Dayz.

From Magdalene bridge to Queens' lock, the journey was serene; Adam whistled itchycoo park, I recited snatches of jabberwocky, Benjamin punted remarkably smoothly on such a rickety contraption. The river was like a looking glass -King's chapel apparently built twice, end-to-end, so clear was its reflection. Adam took us back from Queens' to Jesus lock; he turned the boat, and then I began to learn - staggeringly, and appallingly unsuccessfully - how to punt.

I did, eventually, shunt Lazy Dayz into a mooring. Then the fun began.

The key to the padlock that moored the punt had, it seemed, gone missing. "Pass me the torch", said Benjamin, last man on the boat, "and I'll see if the key's still on board somewhere." I leant down with the feeble flashlight; Benjamin, reaching up, toppled sideways, has hat coming over his eyes and convincing him, as he was submerged, that he was drowning. He climbed out of the water without too much trouble, but the punt and pole had slid away from us.

I saw my chance.

"Don't worry Benjamin. You can't swim in your clothes."

Stripped to underwear. Climbed over railing. Shallow dive, steered the punt back towards its pitch, and chased the pole. They're heavier than they look you know, those things.

The water was the warmest I have known this season. Infinitely softer, being the Cam, than Emmanuel pool and it felt like three times the temperature of our early-season sixteen degrees in the Granta.

Wasn't even shivvering particularly on emerging - rather wish I'd taken the plunge sooner, could have had a good long swim... the punt probably didn't need me to rescue it, but an excuse is an excuse. And Adam took pictures of the whole proceeding, which shall be published for the common enjoyment as soon as they're in my possession.




1 comment:

tyr-n-n'og said...

Y'see, you didn't tell me about ANY of this yesterday. You are a puzzle and an enigma. G