Wednesday afternoon, Rankin and Childers took us all punting along the Cherwell River. It really was a delightful afternoon, slightly marred by a less-than-cordial interaction with some locals. The river is very very slow and has a muddy bottom. The punting poles are very heavy and long (of course long; they need to touch the bottom) and it takes a bit to get the knack of them (I never did). It was a beautiful day, with blue sky, slight breezes, lovely smells (and some less enjoyable ones; there were lots of ducks and such about), and picturesque scenery.
The one truly unpleasant time I’ve had in Oxford did occur on the punt, though. As we were going under a bridge, some boys between ages 10-12 noticed us. The spit in the hair of a girl on another punt. They called some of us names and made some lewd comments and some other inappropriate things about the Twin Towers. A friend of ours lost his temper and responded somewhat in kind (untypically for him, from what I’ve seen of him). Unfortunately, this was exactly what they wanted. They picked up rocks and started throwing them at our boat. A rock (a small one) hit me between the shoulder blades and another one (that can’t have felt small) hit our friend in the groin. The rest missed us, as far as I can tell. Childers and Rankin observed this and saw that the boys were not just going to go away. They got out of their punt and had words with the group, who left us alone after that. It was an unfortunate occurrence, but people who are looking for trouble (as this group was) often find it. People are people everywhere.
That was unpleasant, and kind of cast a shadow on the rest of our punting experience, though we did our best to enjoy it. Later that evening we all went to a nearby park and played some Ultimate frisbee. It was great, though I was not. First Prize goes to Dr. Rankin, though, not because his team won, but because of his numerous acrobatics in his attempts to get the frisbee. I was unfortunately playing, so I did not get any pictures of them. You’ll just have to trust me that they were amazing.
All in all, it was a very pleasant afternoon– one of the most enjoyable ones I’ve had this week. To see pictures from it (lots of pictures), go to: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=48577&l=db5d0&id=500823168 and also http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=48582&l=f8074&id=500823168