Saturday, 5 August 2017

Town bumps: afterthoughts

See-also: Town bumps, day 0; day 1.

This year's bumps were a disappointment. I don't think I can put a happy gloss on them. To some extent we were unlucky in our opposition: there were no easy targets this year, and the boats behind us were fast. But that is excuse making. We could and should have been better.

The bright spots were holding off Tabs 3 on day 2: they were a fast crew, and closed to near overlap by first Post, but we held them off all the way to the Railway bridge; and we held them off on Day 3 until somewhere around Grassy, when Nines 2 took them out.

That rather brings up the less bright spots. On day 4 we were moderately sure we were going to be bumped by Nines 2, and we duly were, and that was rather dispiriting. It is hard to do anything in that situation. We made it past First Post, and we told ourselves that was our aim; but in a way we might as well not have bothered even to start (though no-one, including me, would even consider suggesting such a thing; after all, you never know what might happen and we did claw a little back from City 2).

And so on to day 1, which I think is my biggest regret: we should have done better against City 2. And this is all the in retrospect stuff, which is so worthless: we should have gone off faster, and so on. Never mind. That's all too late.

The important stuff, though, is the stuffed-up pre-bumps preparation, starting with changing the rig to strokeside. Am I going to write this down in public? I haven't decided yet :-)


Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Town bumps 2017: day 1

Twas a grayish evening and we met at the boathouse, many of us from having watched earlier divisions. I was getting more nervous, forgetting how bad it has felt before; well, it felt just as bad again. There was a late change to the start order: Tabs 2, our old friends, were replaced by Tabs 3 (the Hills Road Returners) who I suppose we'd effectively bumped last year in some guise. Anyway.

We boated in good time and rowed down to Stourbridge to watch W1. As expected, Tabs got City in that neither came past; and City 2 turned up in their shiny red uniforms as Sharks. Looking, it has to be said, good. To the start, a fair enough row down. Wait. Nerves settling somewhat; at least I no longer want to throw up.

And off; there's a fair breeze blowing us into the bank but we get a good push-off anyway. It isn't our best start, though not poor; just not quite up to what it could be. Past the motorway bridge City are getting closer, and the water around me is rough, but no whistles. We don't really settle, not I think because of pressure from behind but just because. And around First Post City close in, and get us early in the Gut. This is disappointing.

The riggercam is not exciting,  alas.

Just to make it even more thrilling, in the distance behind us we can see Tabs 4 catching Tabs 3... roll on tomorrow.

GPS trace.

[Day 0]

Monday, 17 July 2017

Town bumps, 2017: Day 0

I don't normally do a pre-bumps post; it is impious to risk the wrath of the gods. And I will make no predictions this year. But I'll write down a vignette from many years ago, in my early Oxford years. Sitting waiting on the river for our next piece, not long before bumps, I heard a coach for another crew say "look at yourselves now. Think how you're rowing. Judge yourselves. Because next week you'll only judge yourself by how well you've done; whether you go up or down. This is your last chance to judge your actual rowing". And so I will.

We've had an odd year, and not just because we made the perverse decision to stroke rig the boat rather than bow rig it as god intended. The winter league went well, but then we stalled for a couple of months, and found it hard to pick things up. In the last month things came together and, perhaps perversely, I think we've "peaked" well; sometimes it can be harder to sustain a run of good rowing; you get stale.

So, all to play for: bring on tomorrow.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

The management apologise for more inconvenience

Over at my real blog there seem to be problems of this sort of nature:

Your access to this site has been limited

Your access to this service has been temporarily limited. Please try again in a few minutes. (HTTP response code 503)
Reason: Exceeded the maximum global requests per minute for crawlers or humans.
Important note for site admins: If you are the administrator of this website note that your access has been limited because you broke one of the Wordfence blocking rules. The reason your access was limited is: "Exceeded the maximum global requests per minute for crawlers or humans."

And so on. I don't know what is going on. Others have contacted Da Mgt without success so far. Updates will be posted here, or perhaps there, or on my facebook page, on written in the clouds, who knows.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Book review: The Great Gatsby

TGG needs no introduction. I read it at O-level and now read it again, since Miranda is reading it for GCSE. Why is it good? It is well written, worldy-wise, and tells an interesting story of interesting times. Perhaps it helps to know the story; it makes early promises like there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life easier to read in context.

It helps that a lot of it is about rich people. It's kinda nice to read about lovely women lying gracefully on chaise longue looking elegant. There's a certain connection to Proust about it all; the young narrator moving up into a stratum of wealth and privilege, and naturally this is a pleasant world to be drawn into reading about.

Is it a great novel? How could you rank it against, say, Heart of Darkness? Lower, I think. There something slight and fluffy about it, coming perhaps from the subject matter; it is just rather hard to take it all seriously, no matter how seriously it is all clearly intended. Gatsby's great obsession, Daisy, isn't really worth his attention. The book attempts to finesse this at the end, and turn it into Gatsby chasing his own past - a-la "a la Recherche" - but I don't think it will quite do. Somewhat less important: the book hints rather strongly that Gatsby's money is dishonestly arrived at. By implication, it suggests this isn't important: the whole society was rotten, Gatsby's hard-to-define fine qualities more than outweigh this; but it sin't clear we should agree.

But it is a very well written book. I say that as a reader of sci-fi, of course, much of it of rather low literary quality, so I'm hardly a good judge. I made a brief attempt to find something to prove how well written it is, but it would be pointless.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Life during Maytime: bees, coxing, gardening, Moff

Upand to the river by 8 to cox M2. Who managed a creditable two locks at steady state with a few bursts, stern-paired by Chris and Simon E. I steered well if I say so myself so we hardly had to stop despite traffic. I drove in because it was raining when I woke but it was sunny by the time we finished. At home, in time to say good bye to M who is off to the states for a week of fun work. Last night we all (including D, who came over for the occasion) went to the Plough for a (good) dinner to celebrate M's promotion: she is now Manager, Staff rather than a mere Manager, Senior. I'm still Engineer, Senior Staff I think. In the garden I did some extensive cutting back, today and yesterday, of the halfway hedge which had grown to absurd proportions almost without me noticing it. With that, and the silver birch chopped a bit, and the quince also, things have opened up a little. Then I took off the netting and poles around the trampoline, since they really aren't needed any more. After that the bees needed some attention. Nikola had mentioned that hers had gone solid with rape, which is unfair, because it is still in flower. When I opened mine the "peaked" now "B" hive, that had I think a new swarm this spring, was doing OK with only uncapped liquid honey in a couple of frames, so I left it alone. The "flat" now "A" hive was full of bees. I didn't venture past the top super, but took out three frames width of grown-in-place comb - see video below - on the left side. Now it is 5 om. I still need to plant out some plants.