The Internet may have convinced us that Coronavirus is just a Chinese hoax, but the University's Rowing clubs, unaccountably, have cancelled Eights Week. For any who may have withdrawal symptoms, I here follow an ancient British custom, exemplified by the Beeb, and give you a Repeat! (The old thread has one or two very sweet comments.)
Well, Eights Week, the annual Summer Bumping Races on the Isis, is now over. Nothing changes; the accents of upper-class girls from New England (and I don't mean the one in New South Wales) as ubiquitous as ever. The usual male undergraduates who, having Pimms taken, loudly try feebly to cap each other's feeble jokes to impress women undergraduates ... why is it that the girls never even hint by word or body-language their contempt for all this pathetic male preening? Shall I ever understand Sex?
But, this year, a Scandal. Let me tell you all about it. In the final race of the top Division, the Scone boat, with effortless superiority, came first out of the Gut. It was followed by the Judas eight, now renamed Amazonia, and greeted by the traditional undergraduate cheers of 'Dobson, Dobson'. Close behind in third place was the Simon Magus boat. But as the Judas cox steered his boat over to the Rain Forest on the Green Bank, he went too close, and the eight came to a juddering halt tangled in undergrowth and baboons and viri probati. This enabled Simon Magus to bump it spectacularly, indeed catastrophically, seriously damaging the entire stern of the Judas boat. Thanks to a supernatural premonition, the Judas cox had already leaped out of his seat onto the bank, and so, alone of his crew, escaped serious injury. Klaxons all round, chaps!
The fourth boat out of the Gut was also going strongly; 'DLS' painted on its bow, and the familiar domestick cat of Shrewsbury College on its oars. It avoided the melee; and careered onwards at such a speed as to catch up with and to bump Scone (the crew of which, having seen Judas bumped, had foolishly slackened their pace). So Shrewsbury ended up Head of the River!
The scandal? It transpires that the Judas cox had been bribed with money and (he is a poor simple American boy) the lure of "Irregular Relationships"; the Senior Common Room at Simon Magus, led by Mr Provost himself, had organised it all!! It seems that my lord Chancellor may have to be called in.
Rumours abound about how Mr Orator might allude to such an episode at Encaenia in his Creweian Oration. Might he quote the Pro Caelio? Or mention the technological aspects of the death of Agrippina?