Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Today is the day that the centuries old tradition of swan-upping, the ritual and annual tally, weighing and tagging along a certain stretch of the river Thames of mute swans and cygnets was supposed reach and pass the College. This task, dating back to the 12th century, is performed on behalf of the Queen by men with job titles as oddly out-of-date and yet endearing as their coloured uniforms .

It was also the hottest day of the year so far, and though we sat in the shade of one of the great conifers on the Henley lawn in our lunch hour. We waited in vain. Though there was the usual armada of pleasure craft, some even with red flags with images of white swans (swan-upping-spotters?), we couldn't see any of the Thames skiffs which are used for the 5-day journey. Perhaps they had passed earlier, to miss the midday sun, and we already at the next pub.

Next year...

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