Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.
Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
Despite a slightly rocky start, I have now unequivocally lost my heart to punting. With Oxford beginning to show off the best of early summertime weather, any excuse will do to get me out on the river. I have now grasped the mechanics of steering and can navigate in a slightly wobbly, but more-or-less straight line down the river and can even achieve a decent speed, the wind being in the right quarter. I also know enough to give the poor lad at the boat house a look of horror when he suggests I start out punting from the Cambridge end.
This weekend, not being able to find a partner in crime, I decided to take my study materials punting instead, mooring up under a tree on a quiet spot up the Cherwell to pore over my articles on the intricacies of thirteenth-century theories of law and kingship (thereby no doubt providing a suitably studious Oxford scene for passing tourists). The bottom of a punt being surprisingly capacious, steady, and comfortable, and distractions being minimal, it actually proved the perfect study spot for a sunny afternoon.
In other news, we MSt students have all just finished giving our dissertation presentations to each other (mine was long on description, rather shorter on actual analysis interpretation at this point in the term!), so the only coursework that remains to us are the last few weeks of language classes. Serious dissertation research looms in the future!