Punting As A Water Sport
The Background
Punting As A Water Sport - In 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, disaster)...

This short story is my fourth entry in the Sixth TooWrite Short Story Competition and may, like the first story, have to be withdrawn from this site for around six months.

Last updated: June 2, 2002 

Peter Brooks

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