August Write Ups
PUNTING IN CAMBRIDGE - Stuart Rawlings
When I arrived at Magdalene Bridge, I was warmed by the atmosphere of many visitors to the area enjoying the lovely morning sun. In the colourful bustle of the waterfront, thirty two members of the club waited eagerly to get aboard. I was nominated to leave the mooring first, accompanied by four lovely ladies enjoying my discomfort of being nominated to punt, whilst others followed behind in their boats. At first, I had to find my balance on the till, taking great care to manoeuvre the punt towards the "Backs", a delightful meander behind the university buildings and scenery along the River Cam. It took some time to master the way ahead, following two minor detours into the bank opposite and another into another punt on their way back but once heading in the right direction, we were in Venice. Along the way, I saw club members trying to mount the grassy banks of Kings College and others pushing away from bridge structures, fighting their way through the beautiful weeping willow trees, almost hanging in the water but generally enjoying themselves alongside the lovely scenery. Some of our punts were unintentionally heading in the wrong direction and at one point we managed to inadvertently mount a bigger punt with our "huff". To the horror of the ladies in the punt, as the water threatened to lick their laps, we had to wriggle ourselves off of the other boat which was a bit worrying! That aside, we travelled at a leisurely pace underneath Clare Bridge, the mid 17th century bridge and oldest on the River Cam, followed by Kitchen Bridge designed by Wren and Hawksmoor. It was then that Tom Daley went into the water beside me just after the bridge - the huff had interfered with my concentration and in I went after him but I still retained an affinity with my pole as I went under. It was not the 10 metre platform but the 0.2 m till board. Unfortunately, no picture was taken of the event, otherwise I might have been a contender for the gold medal. The onlooking crowd did however clap and cheer as I surfaced with my beloved pole, reclaimed from the sandy bottom of the Cam. Soaked to the skin I serenaded my ladies, as we past Kings College chapel, the building of which took 100 years to complete and has the largest vault ceiling in the world. Caron took over the punt from here, as the others were happy to enjoy the wonderful views. She very professionally took to the pole and punted us through further architectural splendour, although at one point we were again heading in the wrong direction, this time being pushed by another boat. We found ourselves enjoying Tony's antics near the bank with plenty of encouragement from his crew. Caron managed to right the punt and take us skilfully back to the mooring. After ringing out my socks and a quick change, some went to the pub, we went for a cuppa in the café and some went straight to Jesus Green for lunch. Eventually, we all arrived at the green for the picnic in the sunshine. A very lovely day was had by all, including the games brought along by Pauline. Thanks Ann.
WINE TASTING - Diane and John West
'I'd like to own a vineyard' said my wife Flora 'and that's how it all began'. That's how Bill started our tour of the Fleur Fields Vineyard in Brixworth. In 2000 he planted 1,000 vines in neat rows on a perfect south facing slope. It took patience before he got a first harvest but now he has enough grapes for 5,000 bottles each year. After touring the vineyard and picking up tips on vine cultivation we adjourned to his tasting room. We first sampled his sparkling rose and white - very refreshing - and later the still Fleur Fields rose and white wines; he had won awards for all of these. Later he offered us a taste of his very special Jubilee celebration sparkling wine. The committee has kindly provided a nice selection of cheese and biscuits to complement the wines. And then a surprise as Jenny appeared with a special birthday cake for Lucy. We all enjoyed a slice with tea or coffee and admired her gift - created by Pauline - of a photo-montage of 50+ events she had attended over the years. It was a happy occasion for the 37 members on a hot sunny afternoon and Bill was a very knowledgeable and genial host. Afterwards many members strolled down to the reservoir for a late afternoon walk (and the obligatory pub visit!). Many thanks to Jenny for discovering the vineyard and organising the afternoon.
PAINTBALLING - Mick Cook
Six of us arrived at Delta Force, which was at Hinton airfield, for a "fun day" of paint balling or so we thought. At the briefing we could buy paint grenades, smoke grenades and thunder flashes - what had we let ourselves in for? After putting on the body armour, overalls and facemask we were ready to let battle commence. Four teams of red blue green and brown were to fight six games we were in brown team. We joined ten others and were to do battle against green. The first game was to find the general which we did not win. After this we had to defend a castle and stop the other team taking our flag; this game ended in a draw, a welcome break was called for and time to reload our guns. The next game was called Last Man Standing this was mayhem but we won both times. Next came A Bridge Too Far where we had to take the flag over the bridge. During this game the heavens opened but it did not dampen our spirits - long live Dads Army - we won! Lunch was a welcome break where we could talk about the games and replenish our stock of paint balls. After lunch we had two more games. A good name for a game was The Grave Yard which it proved for the green team. Last game was to take bunkers; this is where the paint grenades, thunder flashes and smoke grenades were most used; brown team won this game also ( Rambo eat your heart out) .Thanks Lyn for a great day .
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