Shadja drones on

A few words slung together

A man in a punt…

‘FFS’ is, I believe, the accepted abbreviation. I am in a crocodile of tourists, led by the bloke in red, heading down to the river for a punt tour.

We – well, not me – were hustled outside King’s College, not long after Rachel saw Laurence Fox in a newsagent. In her haze of adoration she succumbed to a charming young man who said dogs go free. It was 20 quid a head. I said, mostly jokingly, “Will you do it for a tenner?”, and he agreed.

So now I’m trudging down back alleys towards a most uncertain fate. “It’ll be nice on the boat,” the bloke said. I pointed out that I’d been on a boat since Monday, but it didn’t make any difference.

This is Andy, our punter. Puntsman? He was intelligent, fit and charming. Twat.

Off we go then. Down the Backs of the colleges. Bloody Andy was funny and informative, as you can see from the delight on the faces of the punters, which, at a tenner each, we assuredly were. I can’t remember which bridge this was, but you get the gist.

This is what I signed up for. King’s College Chapel from the river. Lovely.

This might be Claire bridge, or not. But it’s Rae and a bridge, which matters.

And oh look, a Tiger Moth pottering over. Lovely.

I think this is the Wren library, with Lucy’s nice jumper.

Here we are approaching the Bridge of Sighs, which is not like the one in Venice, according to Andy, and I believe him. We turned round after this and gently punted back in silence till we got chatting to him. Punting is his year-round full-time job. His passion is painting but he struggles to get the time and space, like so many artists.

And on the way back, there was a beaky heron. Turned out to be a lovely trip.

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