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    Eventful third row. Spoiler: we rowed over (meaning we neither made a bump nor got bumped). But that bare fact doesn't give a flavour of the experience.

    Our crew includes a guy (Jamie) who is not actually with our law firm, but is the boyfriend of a female trainee (one of our coaches) who is. He's a schoolteacher down in Hertfordshire so needs to drive back up the M11 to join us for the races. He can't make it to the boathouse for when we get the boat out, so we arrange to meet him half way down the river to the race start and get another squad member (in practice, one of the women) to row with us in that seat down to the rendezvous. So, today there was an accident on the M11 and Jamie was held up in a jam to the point where he clearly couldn't make it. Cue frantic ringing around of anyone we know who can row and who would be eligible to sub into our crew on zero notice - work colleagues expecting to be in the office for another hour or two etc. Time was incredibly tight, but we got hold of one of our squad who was not supposed to be rowing tonight but was willing to drop everything and race over on his bike. He finally made it, cycling down the towpath to join us at our starting post 10 minutes before the start gun. Much to the relief of Jessica, who was fearful of having to row the race with us. (Women are allowed to row in the men's crews but not vice versa for obvious reasons; in practice that only happens in emergencies.) Not an issue that she's a woman, there are a few in our women's crew who I'm sure would make a more useful contribution to the movement of the boat than I do. But she is one of the smaller women and, crucially, a novice this year. Anyway, Ed arrived and we, Jessica especially, have never been so happy to see him.

    So. all sorted? Hardly! Ed needed to adjust the positioning of his footplate for his longer legs than Jessica's. Normally not too much of an issue but sometimes if the mechanism is a bit "sticky", it can be unmoveable for a while then suddenly move too fast as you pull at it, and come off altogether, at which point it's a bugger to reattach. Guess what happened, around four minutes before the start cannon. Clive, the old hand from the club who always pushes us out from the bank for the race start, got on the case, quietly cursing under his breath. Nightmare job, the clock ticking down. He always starts to push the boat gently off from the bank for the race start around 35 seconds from the start cannon. Ed's footplate was finally screwed into the correct position just under 40 seconds before the start, so with 5 seconds to spare. Felt like one of those Bond film scenes with the timer display counting down to the bomb going off.

    Then the race started. We had a bloody awful first 30 or 40 seconds, and the boat chasing us closed the gap to less than half a boat's length (the boats start 1 and a half boat lengths gap from each other), but we suddenly got it together and calmly put down the power and drew steadily away from them, ending the race around 5 or 6 lengths clear. No chance of making a bump as the boats ahead of us had already bumped out in pairs. But rowing over felt like an absolute triumph, given that we got bumped the first two days and came so close to getting bumped again today. And, wonderfully, this was the first day that my wife and my 8 year old daughter had made the trip over to the Plough to watch us from the riverside beer garden, and they saw our crew racing. So chuffed. And, because of the bump ahead of us today, we're chasing a relatively slow boat tomorrow, so I may still, on the final day, make my first ever bump.

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      The 4 boats in front of you bumping out would have given you a rare opportunity to make up 5 places in the standings, wouldn't it? An almost impossible task, but the bumps equivalent of the Ben Stokes overthrow 6 as a way of having a remarkable late turnaround. The producers would have preferred that version for when they make the docudrama of this.

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        Originally posted by Evariste Euler Gauss View Post
        start cannon.
        This is the one thing that always gets me about the bumps - the starting 'gun' is an actually honest to goodness cannon.

        The first time I came across it was playing a cricket match in Fen Ditton (the pitch is very close to the Plough) and unexpectedly hearing it. "WTF was that??" we asked the home team, whose casual response was "Oh, just the start of the bumps"

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          Janik, it needs to be bloody loud because there are 18 boats racing in each division (17 boats per division plus the "sandwich boat", i.e. the boat which just finished top of the division below). At the start they are spread out in sequence along the river bank with 1 and a half boat lengths in each gap, so the first and last boats are a very long way from the start cannon located half way up the starting range, and the noise needs* to be correspondingly loud. It's a bit tough on the ears for the crews who are bang (very much "bang") in the middle of the division.

          SB, ha ha. Actually I see from the results tables that it was only the one pair of boats immediately ahead of us who bumped out. But we were never going to catch the boat 3 places ahead of us - they're the ones who bumped us on the first night.

          * Edit: I suppose one could do something with loudspeakers, but you know, tradition. And, more seriously, the sound technology would be one more thing that could go wrong.
          Last edited by Evariste Euler Gauss; 18-07-2019, 23:15.

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            Today, for the first time this week, I could have made it to watch EEG and his team bump/be bumped/ row over. However, sadly, it started raining, and the idea of cycling across the least attractive part of the city really didn't appeal. Which is a shame as i have never been to the bumps before (town or gown) and I wanted to immerse myself in the culture a bit. No matter. Hope you did well EEG. The result hasn;t appeared yet on the site, though they are pretty fast at updating it.

            In other news of how Cambridge is a different world from the rest of anything else ever, one of my team at work went to her graduation ceremony today having completed her MA. I'd like to imagine that what she was describing (and another team member who had hers a year or so back, doing so from experience), was an elaborate satire on Oxbridge ritual, but I rather fear that it is in fact real. So, the basic part of this event is that when you go up to receive your degree, you get to the front and kneel down in front of the [insert job title of person handing out degrees here] (yes, kneel, subserviently) and hold on to one of his/her fingers (so (s)he can confer five degrees at a time). Seriously, I'm not making this up. The whole ceremony takes place in Latin to boot. The whole image of this is so... honestly, fucking appalling and dodgy.

            Anyway, in the time it has taken me to write of my horror, the results have been posted and EEG and his team have rowed over again

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              They don't do that for M. Phil's, do they?

              My recollection is that friends just paid their five quid and got something back in the post.

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                Well as with any graduation ceremony, you don't have to attend. But that. apparently, is what the ceremony involves. No idea if it is just MAs.

                (I think the Masters degrees that you don't have to earn but can pay for a year or so after you get your bachelors degree perhaps doesn't have a ceremony)

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                  It's fun listening to these women talk about their experiences because none of them are Brits and many learned significant parts of their English as students at this odd place. The one I work with most is from Madrid, and she told me how when she was in the main office of the company we are both working for, she went to get some food from the canteen and asked her office mates "Do you want anything from the buttery", which of course perplexed them being from backgrounds for whom the word buttery doesn't exist (or is simply an adjective describing toast)

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                    Originally posted by ad hoc View Post
                    In other news of how Cambridge is a different world from the rest of anything else ever, one of my team at work went to her graduation ceremony today having completed her MA. I'd like to imagine that what she was describing (and another team member who had hers a year or so back, doing so from experience), was an elaborate satire on Oxbridge ritual, but I rather fear that it is in fact real. So, the basic part of this event is that when you go up to receive your degree, you get to the front and kneel down in front of the [insert job title of person handing out degrees here] (yes, kneel, subserviently) and hold on to one of his/her fingers (so (s)he can confer five degrees at a time). Seriously, I'm not making this up. The whole ceremony takes place in Latin to boot. The whole image of this is so... honestly, fucking appalling and dodgy.
                    Yes, this is exactly what happens. No, it's not satire. You can apply in advance to refuse to kneel, which is what I did. I was one of only three girls in my year who stood to receive my degree, and later my masters. There is, however, no avoiding the finger. If you don't 'take the finger', as the very camp man who trained us for the ceremony described it, you don't get your degree.

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                      I meant to add that my grandpa, who was watching the ceremony, had never been prouder. Firstly, because I had earned a degree from Cambridge, which had been an unfulfilled dream for himself and his three daughters. Secondly, because I hadn't conformed. My grandpa spent most of his adult life refusing to join the masons.

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                        Geez, I don't think the Ivies had this kind of frippery in the Seventeenth Century

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                          That nonsense about finger holding does apply to all degrees I think - I attended my wife's Cambridge M Ed ceremony eariler this year (at which all levels of degree were presented) and I'm pretty sure all degrees from doctorate down had something similar. I think from memory that with doctorates at least you get a bit more dignity, like not being presented in batches. I can't remember the ceremony for the token Cambirdge MA which I took in person a few years after my bachelor's degree back in the 1980s but I assume it's similar. Of course, as ad hoc noted, you can take your degree in absentia (!) if you find the ceremony offensive or simply inconvenient.

                          The Latin is a bit silly and the finger holding bizarre in the extreme, but what pissed me off most about the ceremony was that it demonstrated that at Cambridge degrees which are prima facie at the same level (e.g. all doctor, or all master, or all bachelor) have a ranking within that level which derives from the status of the degrees in those subjects back in mediaeval times. So "divinity" (partly at least worthless religious mumbo jumbo) is I think top, and also very high ranking is law, which I would personally put below all sciences and also below most humanities, on the basis that a large part of it - namely the study of what the law actually is in any given field - is essentially the study of what other, intellectually limited, human beings (i.e. judges and parliamentarians) have decreed, rather than an unlimited free enquiry into objective truth and logic.

                          Anyway, as ad hoc noted, we rowed over again on our last day. Very disappointing, I really thought we'd make a bump. Oh well, next year. More of a downer is the atrocious weather, which is appallingly timed for the after-bumps open air party I'm about to head off to. It's going to be sunny and 30 degrees C in Cambridge mid next week. Could so have done with that for the summar party mood this evening.

                          {Edit: sorry that took a long time to post and crossed with Balders' post which probably makes most of it superfluous.]

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                            [QUOTE=Evariste Euler law, which I would personally put below all sciences and also below most humanities, on the basis that a large part of it - namely the study of what the law actually is in any given field - is essentially the study of what other, intellectually limited, human beings (i.e. judges and parliamentarians) have decreed, rather than an unlimited free enquiry into objective truth and logic.

                            [/QUOTE]

                            Ooh...controversial!

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                              Particularly given EEG's occupation which one would assume necessitates a Law degree...

                              Anyroad, have any evenings been suggested for a meet up? I saw EEG suggested this week as a possibility...?

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                                Sporting, I would posit that EEG's view is not at all controversial among those who have done both law and serious study in another discipline. Should you wish to explore this, I would suggest a coffee with a professor at any university with a law school. Philosophers tend to be particularly frank on the topic.

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                                  Originally posted by ursus arctos View Post
                                  Sporting, I would posit that EEG's view is not at all controversial among those who have done both law and serious study in another discipline. Should you wish to explore this, I would suggest a coffee with a professor at any university with a law school. Philosophers tend to be particularly frank on the topic.
                                  I don't know any philosophy professors but I do know someone who works in the Linguistics Department at UPV. He will have to do.

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                                    Originally posted by Janik View Post
                                    Anyroad, have any evenings been suggested for a meet up? I saw EEG suggested this week as a possibility...?
                                    I'd be up for any evening this week

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                                      I can do Friday. Anyone else good for that?

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                                        I might be. Depends what I can agree with the missus on evening childcare as she also has going out plans. Really hope I can make it.

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                                          Hi all, Friday should be ok for me.

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                                            Cool. Any thoughts on where? Somewhere with a garden sounds good. Forecast for Friday evening is currently 20-25C and dry until after midnight. The Cambridge Blue would be an option, though their garden is often heaving at the best of times, let alone a warm Friday evening...

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                                              I suspect that will be more or less true of everywhere.

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                                                Anywhere is fine with me. The Cambridge Blue has one of the bigger gardens but obv it will be rammed

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                                                  I might be able to make it - Cambridge Blue is fine by me and there are other options around if it is too rammed. It would also give me a chance to pay my respects to the remains of Gee's <sad face>.

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                                                    OK let's do the Cambridge Blue. yr.no (my weather forecaster of choice) suggests tomorrow evening may be lightly raining so we might be alright to find a convenient place. Any preferences on time? I can pretty much make any time

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