Photograph: Werner Schmidt

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Isis - Troubled Water

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It is May which means that it will soon be time for ‘Summer Eights’ or as it is also called, Eights Week, the bump races on Isis which is the biggest intercollegiate rowing event at the University of Oxford. However, some of the colleges have run into trouble as they have not been able to train on the river due to an extremely high water level, The Oxford Student wrote the other day. The newspaper has talked to some rowers who think it is unfair as some colleges’ rowers have been able to train outside of Oxford. Read the article in The Oxford Student here.

Reading this article about this four-day regatta, which has been rowed almost every year since 1815, except 1820, 1821, 1823, 1829, and during the War years, reminded me that I had an old programme, or ‘race chart’, from 29 May, 1929, showing the order of starting for the different crews.

One fun thing with these old ‘charts’ is the advertisements. In mine from 1929 you will find ads from ‘Grimbly, Hughes & Co.’ the food experts and wine & spirit merchants; the ‘New Theatre, Oxford’ is presenting “The Desert Song”; ‘The Oriel Restaurant’ on High Street has a full page ad; and so has ‘Arthur Shepherd & Woodwards’, the tailors, who has a special ‘flannel trouser offer’; E. M. Staniland is pushing for ‘King Weed’, which should be smoked in one of his ‘natural briars’; a couple of car dealers are selling ‘dependable used’ cars; buy flowers and fruit at ‘John Mattock’; or have your photograph taken by ‘James Soame’; or stay at ‘The Castle Hotel’ or ‘Becket House Hotel’, or see the Eights from ‘Salter’s Steamer’ where you of course can obtain tea on board; and ‘Elliston & Cavell Ltd.’ in Magdalen Street, which was established in 1823, offers ‘Everything for Ladies and Children’s wear’.

I am ashamed to say that I have only witnessed Eights Week for half a day in May 1998….

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