Tim Koch writes from London,
This is obviously the time of year for strange events on the Thames. As my piece below shows, the Doggett’s Coat and Badge Wager was held on 12 July. Unusually, there is an excellent piece on it in the Guardian newspaper by Richard Williams. The Independent Television website has a nice picture of the Princess Royal talking to Nathaniel Brice, the eventual winner, on Cadogan Pier, the finish point of the race. Other good pictures appear on the website LondonSE1 and on Facebook.
On the day before Doggett’s, the Annual Parliamentary Boat Race was held in front of the Houses of Parliament. I previewed this event in 2010 and later reported on the race. The LondonSE1 website says that this year the Commons beat the Lords.
However, even more unlikely than men racing for the right to wear an 18th-century costume or unfit Parliamentarians deciding who are the least worst rowers are the Thames Barge Driving Races held on 13 and 15 July. To quote the events website:
The race consists of about 12 teams of between 4 and 8 members who drive (steer and row) 30 ton barges over a seven mile course for about 90 minutes from Greenwich to Westminster Bridge. Considerable skill is needed to pilot unpowered barges ‘rowed under oars’and ride tidal river currents alone, up river. The event commemorates the skills of Lightermen who moved freight this way along the Thames up until the 1930s and in a wider context it encourages ongoing interest in moving cargo via water and as a way to recruit younger people back into river trades.
July is clearly the time for Madness-on-Thames.