Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Earwigs and not hitting the Master round the face.

Hullo everyone!

It has been over a month since my last post, mainly due to me being a useless bastard. I've been putting it off and putting it off and now this post will be a behemoth (SUCH A GOOD WORD) and will take hours to write... But yes, writing. Cup of tea primed and ready. Wooo!

So first up, I finally graduated, Hurrah! This means gowns and Latin and eating strawberries. And being handed the most pathetic certificate ever (at least A-Level ones had shiny holograms on FFS). And Latin. Did I mention the Latin?

This definitely happened.

And then there's a load of weird stuff involving holding on to one of the fingers of some guy after some more Latin and THEN you go and kneel in front of the Master (who is wearing the most badass gown ever) and HE says some Latin and then you bow and in the act of bowing you accept the degree he's giving you.

Or something like that.

(According to my parents, my bow was the deepest out of everyones - YAY HAMSTRING FLEXIBILITY!!!! :D)
And then, most importantly, you have to stand up and walk out without tripping over anything or stumbling and face-planting the Master or walking into the door on the way out. Easily the most nerve-wracking bit.


So yes, I finally got a degree. Hurrah! Then I seem to remember eating lots of strawberries. Good times.

Ummm other news, I did a bit of cleaning in college or, as I like to think of it, I was paid to swear at Henry the Hoover and repeatedly smash my head against the ceiling on low staircases. I mean, I'm not that fucking tall for fucks sake. Rage.

I think you'll agree, that is some fine drawing right there. Damn fine.
You can get a keyring ffs. Rage.

Yes, that quickly got very tiring. Also, cleaning up after exceptionally rich American students (a couple of them had bought entire new wardrobes upon getting here - I mean, who the fuck does that?) here on a summer school = not fun. Thankfully I wasn't doing it for that long this year or I might have smacked one of them with a hoover. A hoover with a fucking face. *shudder*.

However, being in Cambridge for a month or so after term ended gave me chance to try out a 2-. This boat class has eluded me for most of my four years rowing: College rowing (2-! You'll die!), CUWBC (Owns one 2-, not structurally sound. It actually folds in half when you get in it) World Class Start (row in a fucking 1x goddamit!). So yes, I was excited to get in a 2- at last.

I learnt two important things.

1) I am, quite frankly, complete shit at stearing with a foot. Especially from stroke (turns out the other person sat behind you gives you quite a blind spot!).

Example outing in a 2- with me steering:

"OK, rowing off... go."
*two strokes*
"Oh shit, lighten off Lizzie."
*two strokes*
"Goddammit! Pressure your side"
*Oooo a straight bit!*
*Boat veers into the middle of the river as my foot is slightly to the side*
*4 strokes of decent rowing*
(There is a previously unobserved 2x bearing down on us as I hug the wrong bank).

You get the idea. After the first outing we moved the steering foot :-/ I mean, we never crashed, but I suppose I'm not the one going to get hit first in the stroke seat am I? Anyway, Lizzie was much better :-)

Lesson learned number 2: You can get away with an awful  lot in 4s and 8s. Bloody hell. Trying to tighten up the timing at the catch/finish in a 2- with 2 people is hard enough, so imagine what's going on in the average 8? Sheesh!

What an amazing boat class though, it lets you get away with nothing.  I mean, a 1x, you just have to time yourself and not be a retard and throw your weitght around right? (OK, massive over-generalisation but meh). 2-, if you're a microsecond getting off the power different with the other person it feels like utter shite. Kind of like being slapped round the face by the god of rowing.

What a fucking awesome class of boat it is. (Aside: I've always though 2- were the most aesthetically pleasing boat class. You know when you're watching the rowing world cup on the TV or something and they do those amazing aerial fly by shots? They are so very beautiful. Thoughts? Am I just being weird here or do other people think the same?) 

So yes, 2- enjoyment!

Hmmmmm. I promised you earwigs didn't I? WELL.

I own a boatbag. It keeps stuff like bird poo and trailer crap off my boat. It is ace.
(It does have my name on though which, in hindsight, is a bit lame.)

It houses a reasonable colony of earwigs.

They have, till recently, kept themselves out of trouble and stay in the boat bag permanently. They can accompany me to regattas, say hello in the morning, that's fine. Until they decided to go for an outing with me. Not a pleasant experience.

What to do? I can't reach up the stern and flick them off, can't row away from the little bastards. And they're nearly at the footwell! SHIT THEY'RE IN MY FOOTWELL SHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIITTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT.

And that is how I nearly capsized trying to remove earwigs from my boat.

Night! :D

*EDIT* "Drawings that don't belong anywhere" updated. Wooooooo!


  1. I don't get the aesthetically pleasing to look at, but I do think they're amazing boats to row. Unfortunately as you've discovered, the Cam is a completely stupid place to row pairs. Have you rowed in a good 4-? They're kind of similar in unforgivingness and sweetness when you get it right, I'm never sure which I prefer. The 4- is a lot less stressful for the steersperson, which is probably why I err that way.

    I very much like the idea of a face-slapping rowing god, we could do with one of them.

  2. My race plan is now to time myself, not be a retard and throw my weight around FASTER THAN THE OTHER BUGGERS. With this plan I shall conquer the world, just you wait :-)

  3. Can I have a Henry keyring with *your* design?? Pleeeeaaaaase! Like, round keyring, picture on the front and writing on the back?

  4. You could make keyrings with space to insert a photo of a loved, or more probably hated, one where the Henry currently is...?

  5. Ha! Not a bad idea! Maybe just make a cut out and keep template or something :D

  6. (oops, lost earlier comment)

    Great post :) worth waiting a month for! I too like the hand of the rowing God ... also the Robot Dance. That totally should've happened. And the holding onto the finger thing is weird - I think it's because the provost is saying stuff on behalf of you? Anyway, great post :)

  7. Totally seconding you on the aesthetically pleasing aspect, always thought so too.

  8. Hi Eudoxia! Hope you're well. A video of someone doing a robot dance in full academic dress would be one of those "winning the internet" things I think :-)

    @Jane- even if it's an Army 2-? :-/

  9. Of course. Oh...wait... F*CKING ARMY 2-. Actually, let me correct that. F*UCKING CUBC. Rage. Rage enough to last a lifetime.

  10. Pairs are awesome. Even on the Cam, when you're allowed to go out before lighting down. Complete quiet + false dawn + cold and mist over the water = sweet.

    These guys make it look easy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYlmrNEPJus

    Also I'm glad I'm not the only one who had a massive adrenaline rush and worked *very* hard to avoid tripping over etc...

  11. I love these blogs please keep them up, restores faith in every rower I know, you can have terrible outing or amazing. And these thoughts such as bugs in the footwell freaking you out-we are not alone in these thoughts!

    Thanks and please keep it up x

  12. My Dad knows someone who was teaching one of those American summer schools and she said the students were really stupid. Which might not make you feel good about cleaning up their crap but you know, moral superiority.

  13. Love the 2-. But have never had to steer one, oh happy day.

  14. Cheers guys! Hopefully I'll get a lot more 2-ing in the coming year (and less being slapped round the head by the rowing god) :-)

  15. If you have ever seen an earwig in your home, you will be able to notice their slender and long bodies and also their eerie movements of the body. Something that is creepier than that is the myth that gives them their name. The reason why they are coined the name earwig is because of the old European myth that says that these insects with long, slender and flat bodies are able to crawl into the ears of sleeping people and leave behind eggs in the brain.