And it went exactly as you’d expect, which is not well.
Hello my wonderful loyal lovely readers!
If you came here solely to read about my abysmal failure to operate a punt, and not an explanation to my absence/boring details about my life, just skip on over to the next subheading!
I know I’ve done an awful job posting on a schedule, but hear me out!
This past week was our midterm, so I spent half of my days frantically writing research papers about the Bubonic Plague and studying Middle Age art styles, and the other half frolicking around England and Wales via train, which has left zero time for writing.
But! I’m determined to be better by spending more time writing and less time being an alcolohlic. I’ll try and catch you all up on all my adventures so I can start writing in real time, I think that’ll be more fun!
Okie dokey. From there, I can now segway into what this post is supposed to be about!!!
So I Tried Punting on the Thames River
On my first day at Oxford, I saw people punting on the Thames River, so I knew what I was getting myself into when I signed up to go on this little excursion.
A punt is a boat that’s kind of a cross between a big wooden canoe and a gondola. The sport of punting, moreover, is operating a 12 foot metal pole so that the punt successfully moves through the water.
I stepped onto the punt with two friends and one of our professors, full of false confidence because I’d successfully learned how to stand-up-paddle board in North Carolina. I can tell you right now that punting is nothing like that.
The Thames river on Oxford’s campus is very narrow and calm. It’s great because it lessens your chances of falling in, but it means you actively have to push yourself through the water with the pole.
Our professor punted for the first few minutes, and we had an amazingly relaxing time. The weather was perfect, the trees hung low over the calm green water, and my friends were happily feeding the ducks some bread. All was well until I took the pole.
“who wants to give this a try?” my professor asked.
“Me! I will!” said WTB the fool.
I took the pole from my professor’s hands and instantly accepted the incoming failure. The pole was so heavy that I could barely move it.
My professor, tried. Oh, he really tried, but some things just aren’t meant to be.
“Keep the pole on the SIDE of the boat!” He pleaded, red faced and desperately trying to hide his exasperation as we crashed into the bank for the fourteenth time.
As he was helping me manuever us out of the bank again, a flock of gray swan-like monstrosities swam up to our punt. They quickly surrounded us and started hissing at my friends evilly for bread.
My professor finally accepted that I was a lost cause and kindly asked me to make room on the back of the punt so he could steer us away from there. Normally, that would not be a problem, but as with most watercraft, they get narrower as you get closer to the end.
So there I am, on the very end of the punt, wobbling for dear life and about to fall in, full of shame and my shredded punting dreams, and surrounding by a conglomerate of evil hissy swan-beasts. Just when my position in the universe couldn’t possibly get more chaotic, a bee landed on me.
I think at this point, I either realized how hilarious this situation was, or experienced a mental break from reality in order to cope with my failure.
Either way, I had a great time for the remainder of the trip, happily sitting in the back of the punt with the little bumble bee on my belt. We even saw a Kingfisher, which are apparently really rare in England.
And that about sums up my experience punting on the Thames River!
I think you should go punting if you have the chance. It’s super relaxing and a great way to see some english wildlife while participating in an authentic English passtime. A double wammy, you could say.
I also think you should opt to sit in the back/middle part of the punt unless you have really strong arms.