This weekend, Spring most definitely came to London. The sun shone dazzlingly in the sky, blossom bloomed from every tree and birds sang brightly (okay, okay, you get it, I’m excited about Spring) as we skipped off to Putney Bridge to watch one of the most traditional events in the English sporting calendar- the Oxford/Cambridge boat race.
This year history was being made, as, for the first time, the women’s boat race was to be run on the same day as the men’s. For us, this simply meant double the excitement and double the chances to win. Having grown up in and around Cambridge, my sister and I were staunchly on the light blue’s team, ready to wave and cheer them on to glory!
Firstly however, we had some serious picnicking to do. So, after meeting up with our friends, we found ourselves a spare bit of grass (a surprisingly impressive feat!) and set up camp. To our backs we had The River Thames and in front of us was a giant screen displaying all the run up commentary to the race. On a small stage, live music was playing as we dug into our hummus and carrot sticks, and the general atmosphere buzzed with excitement!
The ladies’ race was first, and so off they went, cutting swiftly through the river, each team trying desperately to outdo the other. Cambridge fought bravely, but unfortunately this year, Oxford managed to top them, gliding into first place. A groan went up from the Cambs supporters, disappointed to see the women’s team fall behind. But! Not all chance of glory were lost- the men’s race was to come!
Then, the screen announced that the boys were up. We rushed to watch from the river bank, (we were right near the start line,) fighting to get a place where we could just see a glimpse of the river. Then they were off, blades slicing through the water in perfect union. The race seemed a little closer than the women’s, and we shouted and screamed our support, desperately egging them on! But it wasn’t to be. Oxford (boo, hiss!) managed to gain a lead and refused to give it up, no matter how hard the Cambs team tried. Devastatingly, those pesky Oxfordians managed to claim first place.
Disappointed, we consoled ourselves with the simple fact that although maybe this year our rowers hadn’t quite managed to bring home a victory, at least we knew we were part of the better (and certainly more beautiful) city. This fact lifting our moods just a little, we fought on to enjoy the rest of what was the most glorious of London Spring day.