the 1970s I undertook day release training to be an MLSO (Medical Laboratory
Scientific Officer) in Oxford. Part of that training took place at
what was then OxPoly (Headington Polytechnic), and the course had a government
mandated section that was called General Studies, supposedly designed to
"balance" our vocational training with something that was not "scientific".
Every term we had what
was pompously called a General Studies One Day Conference. To us,
it was often an opportunity to take a much needed day off.
One particular term,
the lecturer responsible decided to dilute the serious stuff (a studious
walk around some of the major college grounds in Oxford city centre) with
some relaxation (lunch at the Turf Tavern, followed by an afternoon punting
on the river Cherwell at Magdalen Bridge).
The juxtaposition of
an alcohol - laden pub snack followed by boating on a short stretch of
water littered with overhanging tree branches and invisible underwater
root systems was, it transpired, a recipe for catastrophe (but not, luckily,
story is my fourth entry in the Sixth
TooWrite Short Story Competition and may, like the first story, have
to be withdrawn from this site for around six months.