The Boat Race, and quiet holidays

-- April 8th, 2014 --
life in uk

There are any num­ber of ways to live in Eng­land as a for­eigner, to be sure.  You can main­tain an alle­giance to your Amer­i­can roots, deter­mined to find Lucky Charms for £7 a box and fol­low­ing Red Sox news, or you can develop a full-on Eng­lish accent and dress in Purdeys tweeds.  Or you can do as we tend to do, some­where in between, and bring a naive Amer­i­can enthu­si­asm to as many Eng­lish doings as we can pos­si­bly understand.

Among these is the Oxford and Cam­bridge Boat Race, every spring.  We became aware of this tra­di­tional sport­ing encounter two years ago when I invited Eng­lish friends to Sun­day lunch, and they accepted with the pro­viso that we wan­der down to the river at an appointed time to watch “The Boat Race.”  There are many boat races, but this one is The Boat Race, gath­er­ing thou­sands of sup­port­ers along the Thames from Put­ney, where it begins, to a spot where it ends, just shy of Chiswick Bridge.

For a week or so ahead of this big Race, there were lots and lots of smaller races — for school­child­ren, for ama­teurs, for senior citizens…