Welcome steady rain fell for most of the day. What’s that? An Englishman welcoming rain in July?

Yes. It is much needed at the moment.

This morning we drove to Crestwood of Lymington to book an assessment for replacing the very poorly laid flooring in our sitting room that we inherited five years ago.

Later Jackie drove me to Sears Barbers in Milford on Sea where she photographed Peter cutting my hair. Bobby Moore and Mohammed Ali were on hand to vet the proceedings.

This afternoon I scanned a set of prints from 3rd June 2000. These were of Sam and the Wadham Eight competing in the Oxford Eights Week.

Wikipedia reports that ‘Eights Week, also known as Summer Eights, is a four-day regatta of bumps races which constitutes the University of Oxford‘s main intercollegiate rowing event of the year. The regatta takes place in May of each year, from the Wednesday to the Saturday of the fifth week of Trinity Term. Men’s and women’s coxed eights compete in separate divisions for their colleges, with some colleges entering as many as five crews for each sex.

The racing takes place on the Isis, a length of the River Thames, which is generally too narrow for side by side racing. For each division, thirteen boats line up at the downstream end of the stretch, each cox holding onto a rope attached to the bank, leaving around 1.5 boat lengths between each boat. The start of racing is signalled by the firing of a cannon, each crew attempting to progress up their division by bumping the boat in front, while avoiding being bumped by the boat behind. Once a bump has taken place, both of the crews involved stop racing and move to the side to allow the rest of the division to pass. It is possible to “over bump” if the 2 crews in front of your boat bump (and so drop out) and your boat can catch the boat that was in front of them. They then swap places for the next day’s racing, whether that be the calendar day or the first day of racing in the next year’s competition.’

The nearest boat in each of the first two of these images is the Wadham First Eight of which Sam was a member.

I imagine it was a normal ritual for the crew to hoist the cox. Sam appears to be pleased to be grasping the young lady’s thigh. The man on the right covering a mate’s eyes

later received a ducking.

When you appreciate that this was the gentleman, a good two stone heavier by December 2008, who, as recounted in “Oiling The Lion”, tackled me to the ground during a game of touch rugby, you will perhaps understand that now, with tongue in cheek, I think he got what he deserved.

It had been some decades since Wadham College last won an oar at the Eights. They won two during Sam’s time there. He has kept his own from 2000. I have this one from the 2001 Torpid.

The Torpids are the other of the two bumping competitions held each year.

Early this evening Becky and Ian arrived to stay for the weekend. After a pleasant exchange of information about our various ailments we all dined at the Royal Oak. Jackie and Ian chose very good burgers, chips, coleslaw and salad, while Becky and I enjoyed chicken pie, with an al dente vegetable melange. We all shared a vast portion of real onion rings. Jackie drank Amstell; Ian drank Moretti; Becky drank Diet Pepsi; and I drank Malbec.


  1. That’s a happy looking barber and clearly having Sam on the team made all the difference in bringing home the trophy oar! This made me laugh: ‘……after a pleasant exchange of information about our various ailments….’ <3

    1. Thanks for pointing out a WP alteration, Sylvia. Now corrected. I use the word real because most onion rings we have here are mush. These contain visible onion layers.

      1. I was just pulling your leg, Derrick. πŸ™‚ We’ve managed to find a brand of onion rings here in Florida which are quite decent. It’s all a matter of trial and error.

  2. You have a very personable barber, Derrick. The rowing teams photos reminded me of visiting my son in Boston last summer, when he dropped anchor in the middle of Charles river, and I dove overboard to swim to Harvard rowing club, to have a closer look at similar boats.
    P.S. My Instant Pot Chicken Jalfrezi post is out, but I forgot to mention that we had Argentinian Malbec with it. Thank you for reminding me to include it.

      1. My pleasure, Derrick, It’s my husband who loves his Malbec; I prefer very dry white wines, but they wouldn’t do justice to this spicy dish. Malbec complemented it perfectly.

  3. There is a variation on “Bumps” in Melbourne on the Yarra which I might talk about some time. But anyone who has rowed will enjoy this post of yours Derrick.

  4. I can (could) relate to the needing welcome rain. We got more than we expected but less than we really need.

    Pity it stopped Australia from getting more runs in the (Women’s) Ashes test though. Seems we have to leave it to our ladies to restore some cricketing credibility?

    What could be more English than rowing Eights on the Thames? πŸ™‚

  5. Peter the barber looks like a happy man (and I agree with above comment that he looks like he could tell some stories). I don’t know anything about rowing, but great memories. We sometimes see groups practicing on the Schuylkill River by the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I also laughed at your comment about discussing your ailments. Real onion rings–yum! πŸ™‚

  6. Well, your barber is adorable. I love how you talk all of humanity into being a part of this.

    Those rowing pictures brought college right back to me. I wasn’t a part of the rowing team at Drexel, but that comaraderie and those shenanigans were everywhere.

    I can think of worse things than being tackled by Deutsch.

  7. YAY for rain!
    You look happy to get your beautiful hair cut, Derrick! πŸ™‚ And your barber looks like he has a million stories to tell! He looks fun! I’d hug him! πŸ™‚
    Great rowing pics!
    Ha! an exchange of info on various ailments is a part of our lives at this age. πŸ˜€
    So is, “Do you remember that one guy? You know, the one whose wife always wore bright colors?” Ha!
    And then someone will say, “Oh, yeah! I think his name was Don?”
    “No, Ron!”
    “Yes! Ron. Ron and Sheila.”
    Ha! πŸ˜› πŸ˜€
    HUGS and Happy whee-kend with Ian and Becky!!! πŸ™‚

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