All entries for Wednesday 31 May 2006

May 31, 2006

This, that and the other…

I think my blog titles are getting progressively more feeble. Anyway, here is the weekly (or monthly, if I’m feeling slovenly) recap of all the not especially interesting things that I have been up to recently, beginning with Saturday, which qualified as an exciting day because I LEFT THE HOUSE

Actually, I even left the delights of Coventry, though not without some difficulty. My thrilling destination on this occasion was Oxford, where I was supposed to be watching some rowing and meeting some friends. (I should probably confess at this point that the precise rules of the rowing might have eluded me, but this need not interfere with the story). Usually it takes just under an hour to travel to Oxford from Coventry station, but this particular journey proved more eventful. Arriving at the station, I noticed that there was a man in a luminous orange jacket standing on the tracks, which I suppose, on reflection, was not a good sign. I remember hoping at the time, for his own good, that this individual would consider getting off the line before the arrival of my train, which was due in about 5 minutes. Upon entering the station, however, I saw a sign saying that all trains were cancelled over the weekend due to engineering works, and discovered that I would have to get a coach to Leamington in order to get to Oxford, all of which extended my journey by about 45 minutes. On the plus side, I did get to view some previously unexplored outskirts of Coventry along the way, which is always an uplifiting experience.

By the time I had actually staggered into Oxford, it had started to rain. It may have been around this point that I realised that my summer shoes were entirely inappropriate, and that the sun cream that I had thoughtfully brought with me might prove surplus to requirements. On the other hand, I can sometimes be quite slow on the uptake, so maybe the inappropriateness of my shoes did not become apparent to me until I was walking along the puddle-covered banks of the river with my feet caked in mud. Either way, it was not exactly the sunny day sat watching the rowing that I had envisaged, though, as you can see from the picture below, we did all seem to remain remarkably cheerful about the whole thing, which I think was highly commendable.

More Oxford sun!

Anyway, amidst the mud, puddles and torrential rain, some actual rowing took place. As I said, I’m not sure I completely understood what was going on, but the basic format seemed to be that each of the Oxford colleges entered a team into one of several races (based on a kind of division system), and that that team’s starting position was determined by its previous form. In order to improve its ranking, a team had to catch up and overtake the one immediately above it in the division, at which point both teams stopped racing. Or something along those lines. Whatever precisely was happening, it was all rather entertaining, though I have to report, somewhat disappointingly, that there were no sinkings or even major collisions. We did, however, spot a man in a pink suit on the bank, which, in spite of its obvious vulnerability, was not remotely stained with mud. This was naturally rather galling for me, since by this point I had a good portion of river bank splattered over my trousers. I might also add that I began to develop a phobia of small children wearing wellies, most of whom felt the need to jump into puddles near where I was standing…

Still, muddiness apart, it was a good day, and my train back home was a mere 30 minutes late. So, all in all, a success…

In other news:
- The hamster continues to be in good form. My sister, who studies biology, recently suggested that I should keep Jackie in the dark for more than 12 hours per day, which will apparently deceive its body into thinking it is winter and make its fur turn white. This experiment has thus far not been attempted. I did, however, make my way over to Homebase on Sunday to purchase a replacement ‘chube’, the other one having developed an unpleasant odour. I was rewarded for my efforts by the sighting of 3 chinchillas, a chipmunk and some Mongolian Roborovski’s hamsters.
- The other major excitement last weekend was watching next door’s dog cavort around the garden in pursuit of a rubber lamb chop. This is incredibly amusing, although less so at 7am on a Saturday morning.
- I somehow (and to my everlasting shame) found myself with nothing better to do the other Saturday night than to watch the Eurovision song contest. Spain entered a group of 4 singers in which only 1 actually sung (and that was 1 too many); Germany’s entry was a country and western number including some luminous flashing catci; Latvia’s (or it may have been Lithuania’s) modestly titled song, ‘we are the winners of Eurovision’ (or something along those lines) featured what looked like a man having an epileptic fit; and Finland…well…Needless to say there was not the slightest hint of tactical voting, and the fact that virtually all the Balkan and Baltic countries voted for their neighbours was purely a reflection of the excellence of their artistic work. (N.B. I do realise I need to get out more…)

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