It was so much fun. First, Raffael deserves major kudos for being a really good punter; he knew what he was doing and he did it really well. Later, he coerced Dominik into trying and he was pretty good too for someone who punted for the first time. Raff tried to get me to punt but I begged off using my heeled boots as a very good excuse.
Then he asked John to punt. At first, John protested, saying that he tried it once and he was absolutely terrible at it. But Raffie kept pushing the issue. And then John gave in. And it was all downhill from there.
He started off pretty decently. The punt was going forward, kind of in a straight line, and I think he kind of learned how to steer. I was sitting in the punt filming the first two minutes of John punting, and things were going so well that I got bored, thinking that there was nothing particularly interesting to film; and so I turned off the video.
Huge mistake. Things started happening out of nowhere - and by 'things' I mean John driving the punt straight into the wall...and not once, but three times. He tried to steer the punt away from the wall but succeeded only in crashing into the wall before he got us towards the middle of the river again. But we were right smack in the middle of the river, and there were two punts - tourist ones - coming straight for us. It was really lucky that they were tourist punts; the professional punter very expertly navigated past us with no problem.
It was when John was trying to get out of the way of the other punts that disaster nearly happened. I don't even remember how things went; all I remember is that the punt suddenly became very, very lopsided on my side, to the point that I was convinced that it was going to topple over; and John was screaming for his life as he tried to maintain his balance on the punt and quite miraculously avoided falling into the river.
While all this was happening - especially when John rammed the punt into the wall - there were a group of on-lookers on the bridge laughing their asses off. They were definitely not the only ones laughing; I was almost crying with laughter while screaming for my life at the same time.
After that debacle, Raffie finally took over once more, and then it was all smooth-sailing from there.
King's College Chapel; view from the river
And of course, how can I not mention that incident with the swan? We were cruising along the Cam with Dominik at the helm. There was a lone teenaged swan swimming on the river, coming towards us. Raffie the animal lover was pleased to see it, but it seemed attracted to John. It swam past Raffie and headed for John.
There was just something incredibly magnetic about John; something about John attracted the swan. Not only did the swan swim up to him; but it started pecking at him. I suppose John's reaction was quite the natural reaction; I think I would've done the same if it had been me. Nevertheless, it was hilarious how John started screaming, as if the swan were attacking him. Oh my god, I can't think about it without laughing. It was brilliant.
So that's punting on Saturday afternoon. It was so much fun. We had dinner at Rainbow (vegan/vegetarian restaurant) after that. The discussion topics over dinner were Brexit and its legal implications, if any; and what human dignity is. The latter discussion was very interesting; the former bored me after a while.
I talked to my parents in the morning, had lunch, then met John at Fitzbillies. He was late so I read his paper for the legal theory discussion group while I waited for him. When Matt came over with my coffee, he was quick to state that he didn't make it; it was the new guy. It was immediately obvious from looking at the coffee why he felt he had to say that. Well, at least there was some semblance to latte art on the top this time. It was a definite improvement from the previous time when it was just white, formless, shapeless, artless.
I showed Matt a picture of a cup of cappuccino that I had in Robert Timms in Singapore two years ago, which I chanced upon when I was looking through my old photos. It had a swan on it like the ones that he's made for me. It's actually really nice in that the outline of the swan as created by the milk was proportionate and slim and quite elegant. He looked at it and said, 'Oh it's really nice. I'm a bit jealous now.'
I was in my tennis outfit with my tennis bag because, obviously, I was going to play tennis later in the afternoon. He said he plays squash, then said his shoulder hurt because he slept on it funny, then said he went drinking the night before at a bar towards the north of town where he knows people. I should have asked him if I can get free or discounted drinks in the said bar if I told the people there that I know him.
Anyway, John finally showed up and he was very mean in passing adverse judgment on my taste in men. Then I said, 'John, I think you're hot.'
It took him a while to get what I was doing. Sometimes, I find it so endearing that John doesn't get these things immediately and that he pretty much has almost zero sense of irony. I like to laugh at his failure to laugh at things that he should laugh at, and at his laughing at his own lame attempts at jokes which no one, least of all himself, should laugh at.
We talked about Israel/Palestine and whether criticising the Israeli state makes you an anti-semite (it doesn't). We talked about my discussion with Tom and my blonde moment. We talked about the Catholic stance against contraceptives and whether the withdrawal method is as unreliable as is claimed, which boils down (in my view, anyway) to whether pre-cum contains sperm. While we were having this particular part of the discussion, Matt was clearing the table next to us and John started making silly faces. I couldn't keep a straight face; I couldn't say 'pre-cum' and ended up saying 'pre-ejaculate...liquid?' before collapsing into laughter.
At 4pm, I left for tennis. John tried to hit for a bit and it was mostly hilarious. The actual tennis session with Chen wasn't great; it'd rained earlier in the morning and it was really humid, so the courts were damp and the balls became caked with dirt, such that - ridiculously so - I couldn't see the freaking ball against the dark green of the court after a while. That was how dirty the balls were. And because the court was wet, I couldn't run properly, and there were even a few occasions when I nearly tripped.
I can't decide what's worse: not playing tennis at all, or having a really shitty tennis session. I'll need to think further about this.
After tennis, I had dinner with Marc at Bill's. The conversation was good, as usual. He's a nice guy and easy to talk to, and he's now privy to my love life. That more or less means that he's privy to nothing (because what love life?) but well.
I finished reading John's paper at Fitzbillies before French class at 1pm. Matt definitely made my coffee today:
This was definitely the best one yet, and even prettier than the Robert Timms one that I showed him.
I had French class! I am finally instructed in how to pronounce words. I am taking the most basic class even though I have some knowledge of French, but it's important to have a good foundation, I think - and hence I should start from the basics.
I'm glad that I finally got off my lazy ass to learn a language that I've been waiting to learn for the past 15 years. I really don't know why I didn nothing about it this whole time; imagine if I'd started learning 10 years ago. Maybe I would be fluent by now. Maybe by now I could go to Paris and talk to French people without feeling shy and as if I am a child who is just learning to speak. Oh well, better late than never, no?
The discussion group was fun, as was the dinner afterwards with Raffie and John.
This entry sucks. Is it better to write something shitty or write nothing at all? I think I am in favour of the latter for this one, but I will still post this anyway.