It's Boat Race day again, another flash-past for the camera
Despite the rather gloomy weather at this time of the year, the Thames river in West London lights up in March for the annual Oxford-Cambridge boat race. This morning I took a stroll along part of the stretch which runs from Putney in the east to Mortlake in the west. It’s always fun to see the preparations, particularly the catering arrangements for a tends of thousands who turn out to cheer on their favourite team. It seems that everyone belongs firmly to either Oxford or Cambridge on this one day of the year. I tend to be ambivalent, but I did have an uncle who once rowed for Cambridge, so I suppose that’s where my attention is focused.
Today I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the barge Gloriana parked temporarily at Chiswick Pier, not far from the finish of the race at Mortlake. No doubt it will be rowed out into mid river, probably in advance of the race as a focal point for spectators. This golden barge was built especially for The Queen’s diamond jubilee in 2012 and it is a replica of the first Elizabeth’s state barge. In fortunately I couldn’t get near enough sine the normally public pier was firmly cordoned off.
Later, much later because the racing cannot start until the tides are auspicious around 5 pm, I dutifully snapped the race, this time won by Cambridge, both men’s and women’s contests. From a photographic point of view, this must be one of the briefest major sporting events in the calendar. The two teams flash past the spectators in a minute or so. But my favourite bit, as always, is the following flotilla of launches packed with the great and (often) good, plus commentators for the media which usually works itself into a frenzy for this event.
Another year, another brief sporting event. For me, again despite today’s gloom, it represents the start of the good weather, with a good summer to look forward to.
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