John found that he couldn't take Pippin into Cambridge on Saturday, because we'd closed the river. That's partially true; our rowing club, Chesterton, was organising the Head of the Cam race on the morning and early afternoon of the day.
Emma on Kestrel has worked like a trooper (or is it trouper? I don't know) organising 150 boats into some semblence of order, extracting money from students (very hard!) and trying to accomodate requests along the lines of, "our third boat might have to share a boat with our second boat if our strokeman doesn't get back from Heidelburg on time, in which case we would like to row in the second division, otherwise we'd like to row in the first. Unless it's a full moon". (That's a very slight exageration, but you get my drift!) and, as always, the event was oversubscribed and we had to turn things away. Big James sorted out numbers, and I think that only Jess' lack of opposable thumbs saved her from having to assist...
The day itself was bright and sunny, and fantastically warm. The event ran very smoothly; the first division of boats went off five minutes late- which is very good going- and the second was about to start five minutes early when it was announced over the radio network that Georgina was on the course, so we couldn't set the boats off racing. They had scheduled a trip onto the course, and despite being emailed twice and telephoned about it, claimed ignorance. We'd have officially changed the times we were racing if they had asked, and then no-one would have been upset. In the end, we got them off a mere ten minutes after the scheduled time, and although that delayed us starting the third division, we were only five minutes late finishing overall- which, bearing in mind some races on the Cam finish over two- and some even three!- hours late, is pretty good going!
Feeling jubilant, we returned all the kit- and I had to give back my loudhailer, or, rather, James had to pull it from my resisting hands!- and after throughly congratulating Emma on a job well done,retired to the pub. We discussed suggestions, some serious- getting more radios- and some not so serious, like the radio call signs we ought to have used. "Start" and "Finish" are boring, we apparently should use others- from Top Gun and other assorted films- and should use coded phrases too- "the badger has left the sett" and "The weasel is eating the begonias"; or, alternatively, "the cheese is on the train".
After a few G&Ts and other such refreshments, in the evening sun, we decided to return to the Duck in style aboard Kestrel. While visiting the pump-out, we saw how busy all the visitor moorings were- completely full, because of the bank holiday weekend. Luckily, now we have a permanent mooring, that's not a problem for us any more!
We headed off into the dying light, and made Clayhithe by nine. After a convivial (but tired) dinner of pizza, we headed off back along the floodbank in the light of the moon, leaving Emma and James- and of course Jess- to a well-deserved good night's rest.
5 hours ago