The game of rugby was invented at Rugby School in the town of Rugby, when a member of the privileged class decide that he shouldn’t have to kick the football like everyone else, so he picked it up and carried it. After all, it’s not as if the game had been called FOOTball since the Fifteenth Century. Well, it had, actually, but that wasn’t important to someone who went to to right school. Rather than admit that he had committed what football players refer to as a ‘foul’, they changed the rules of the game to make handling the ball OK, and then changed the shape of the ball to make kicking it harder. The town of Rugby is inexplicably proud of this blatant pandering to the spoiled rich. Witness the fact that not only is the “Welcome to Rugby” sign shaped like a rugby ball, but the stand holding it up looks like a rugby goalpost.

However, I think the most interesting sign we have seen in the past 24 hours was this one.
Attack hamsters I can perhaps understand if they are raised from birth on a diet of potatoes and Guinness, but persuading them to patrol on a regular basis rather than lying on the sofa and nibbling the cushions would seem to be beyond the capabilities of even the most determined hamster trainer.

Water in the canals is continually flowing downhill through the locks. Normally a canal system is fed by a reservoir at the highest point, but if that can’t support the level of traffic on the canal, water must be pumped back uphill. This was the pumping station at Braunston, where a massive steam engine was used to drive the pumps.
Pumping station
I’m somewhat bemused by the steampunk movement. I fear that most of the adherents don’t know the difference between the first law of thermodynamics and the second.

We headed up the Oxford Canal to Rugby today, with my cousin Mary and her husband Chris. Here is Chris’s first time at the tiller.
He had a great time and did an excellent job of steering, apart from a slight tendency to push the tiller in the wrong direction at moments of crisis.

Here’s Chris and Mary.
Chris and Mary

The Oxford canal was very busy today, and a lot of the users were rental boats taking a break over the long weekend, so they were lacking a bit of canal etiquette. We left the boat moored to spikes driven into the bank when we went out for lunch in a pub, and when be came back someone had gone past so fast that their backwash had pulled the spikes out and left the boat floating free in the canal. Luckily it was near enough to the bank to recover. We stopped for a Tesco run, then went on to a winding hole where we could turn the boat around, and found some moored across from it. We had to ask them to move so we had enough room to turn. They were apologetic enough, but apparently the lure of mooring close to Tesco had blinded them to the needs of other canal users.

But enough of me being grumpy about weekend drivers. Nature along the canal is a constant delight. Cascades of hawthorn blossom…

clumps of iris…

and the occasional stunted tree where wizened locals gather to perform grotesque abominations in the name of the Old Religion or select parliamentary candidates for the Tory party.
Stunted Tree
Come to think of it, those activities are pretty much the same thing. What a coincidence!

One thought on “Rugby

  1. Hi Cuz, Would you mind sending me the pic of us at the tiller end of the boat please? (Really nice photo and I don’t have many of us.) you can text it if that’s ok. Tganks for a lovely couple of days. X

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