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Saturday, August 09, 2003
Punting and flash mobbing

An open letter to Mrs Trellis:

Dear Myfanwy,

It being the silly season 'n' all that, I thought I might let you know a little of what we have been doing to celebrate this delightful weather. It seems absurd to complain about the heat and, having become used to warmer (not worse) weather in Australia during Northern Hemisphere winters, I can only thank our good fortune.

On Thursday, The Lady and I went punting. There is something immensely satisfying in meandering down the Cherwell at about half a mile an hour; it puts everything in perspective. Life is too hurried and things like punting renovate one's laziness gene - even more so if someone else is doing the punting.

It was many years since I had held a punt pole but it is something that you never quite forget. However, it is much more difficult than it looks. To stand there, looking as though you've been poling all your life, requires a great deal of practice. One thing to remember:
do not try punting if there is the slightest breeze. If you do, you will find it extremely difficult to work out what to do to achieve a given effect: the punter acts as a sail and minor variations in wind strength will blow you all over the place. Keeping a straight course, the punting Holy Grail, is impossible.

We returned to news that flash-mobbing had broken out in London. Perhaps 'Zit' (or whatever his name is) could arrange a flash-mob demo at Magdalen or Folly Bridge boat stations. Given the admitted difficulties of punting, the event might have added interest. Let him know, will you Myfanwy?


The old dear might bring off the next exciting flash-mob event. You never know. Still, perhaps she has plans of her own...

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