You are old father William

‘You are old’, said the youth, ‘and your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak –
Pray, how did you manage to do it?’

‘In my youth’, said his father, ‘I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength, which it gave to my jaw,
Has lasted the rest of my life.’ [1]

Yes, yet another post with zero science but don’t go away – there is some rowing later after the tedious bits. And so: exhibit 1 is the glasses, which you’ll immeadiately note are varifocals. I have spent the past 2 years gradually learning to peer over the top of my spectacles like a headmaster and now have to learn to look down instead. Incidentally, did I slag off the last Dr Who yet? Shamelessly self-indulgent and insufficiently inventive.

And another part of growing old is attending your son’s first Speech Day / Prizegiving. I’ve forgotten what they were like at my school, probably due to the extreme tedium. This one too was fairly dull but could have been a lot worse. Highpoint was, oddly enough, D getting his prize the “SIO technology prize”, possibly for doing well in exams, we are a little unsure. Must ask the school. Meanwhile Miranda took her Grade One piano exam today, with a result eagerly anticipated.

DSC_5007-mystery-pink-flower Oh yes, the rowing: sorry to leave you in suspense so long. Today was my first Double outing (which is to say, an outing in a double, as in double scull), thanks to Dave. We sneaked in a lock in the cool of the early morning before the speechifying. I don’t scull much, and not terribly well, so it was an experience to be in a more balanced version and actually able to reach fully at the catch. We were both natural bowsiders and found the boat had a tendency to pull round to bowside (there is no rudder – you steer by pulling harder one side ot the other (well ideally you steer by reaching just a little further on one side rather than by hauling the finish, and I started to get the hang of that by the end)). We didn’t hit anything (apart from a very rude City IV that came steaming up the Reach and tried to go through a gap that was clearly too small for it). Dave was in the bows and did the watching-for-steering-direction and indeed most of the steering. We didn’t manage to hold off any VIII’s for long – nor should we have been able to, really, but I was hopeful. The familar when-pushed-speed-up-the-slide-and-slow-down-the-boat-speed came up. Must try to learn.

I gave you the flower as a special free gift, it was that to us, having appeared by the front as if by magic. I must have planted it – possibly a corm, I’m no longer sure what it might be – last year.

Quick Links:

* David Appell tries to get Roy “Dr” Spencer to say what *would* make him believe GW. It turns out that nothing short of 5 oC will do. This is vaguely like the mental maps of invisible dragons that Paul has mentioned, though not in that post.
* Harry Potter is up to chapter 27.
* If you haven’t met if before, The Euthyphro Dilemma is worth pondering.
* BP share price is down to 305. Ouch, that is painful. Or is it a buy signal?
* Sea ice: still too close to call. Still interesting.

Rowing and Rugby

In which I yet again abuse science blogs to discuss matters of little import to general readers. But it’s my blog, so there.

The rowing was the Head to Head, which involves rowing the 2 km form the Railway bridge to the Motorway bridge, spinning, and then rowing back. You get a rest of ~20 mins while the division comes through, or maybe more, I wasn’t timing it. Our time turns out to be a bit rubbish but we weren’t that bad. The first leg, which is downstream, was OK; the second, against the stream and therefore slower, we stuffed up somewhat with poor technique and a few mini-crabs; the times show that, in that we lost more on the second legs than other crews. Moral: more ergs, more coached outings. Indeed more outings in general. Savelie did well, mind you, at 103. Irritatingly, the Hornets beat us by 1 second – grrr. If you’re friends with the right people, there is some facebook video of the end of the second leg. The ladies look prettier but they are slower :-).

Meanwhile, back at the rugby, I have had my first taste of one of the fabled joys of parenthood: standing on the sidelines on a cold winter’s day watching your son play. Miriam had it harder though: she was unwise enough to wear her thin elegant work trousers. This was Daniel’s first rugby match, and he appears to have enjoyed it – the Perse won 40-10 or somesuch over Ipswich, which helped of course, and he scored a try and did some decent tackling, so that is all to the good. True it was but the C team – the nearby A team clearly had a better idea of tactics and play – but these are early days. Since it was a friendly match and Ipswich appeared to be a little short of players, D got to play on their team for a bit, before being “invalided” out with a cut to the leg – though by the speed with which he ran to the medic, and then ran back, it wasn’t very serious. Next time I’ll bring my camera and subject you to tedious pictures as well. Afterwards, tea and coffee and sandwiches in the hall, and a chance to chat to other parents, which of course we didn’t, being unsociable folk.

Incidentally – please be sure never to eat adulterated Ham Nuts. Always use the pure sort.