Sunday, 27 April 2014

Desmond

After the tat auction, the highlight of the Foxton weekend had to be the Sunday night quiz. In order to avoid entering a competition there was no chance of winning, Jim volunteered for bar duty, while I - with the more modest ambition of Not Coming Last - put together a crack team of (former and sort-of) engineers and seasoned boaters who had just the slight disadvantage of not being steeped in history.

These biennial quizzes, viciously compiled by Peter of Stanton, focus on recognising obscure places and knowing obscure facts, and, this time, on being able to do big sums. Well, that should have given us an advantage at any rate! The interval question asked how many lockfuls of water were lost to evaporation in a day on a typical pound of the Oxford canal. Dimensions and evaporation rates were provided and the boys set about with their slide rules to calculate the total volume lost. This took quite a long time and they came up with different answers, none of which were very helpful as we had no idea of the official capacity of 'a lockful'. Meanwhile I, while completely fazed by the sums, suggested a much simpler process of calculation which would yield a depth in a lock rather than a cubic capacity. This turned out to be 1.5m which it seemed a ptty fair bet was half a lock (it was fortunately multiple choice) and so the answer proved.

Moments of glory for me were recognising Drakeholes tunnel (Adrian and Linda will be pleased) and identifying the head of navigation of the Chesterfield, though I couldn't for the life of me recall the name of the (Norwood) tunnel. Less glorious (also in the 'terminal' round) was when I recognised a photo of Sheffield Basin, aka Victoria Quays, which was part of the question, and bounced up and down in my chair going I know this one! I know this one! And one of my fellow team members said 'it's Leeds...' so confidently that I went 'oh all right then' and wrote down Leeds. It was Sheffield of course. However, this didn't make any difference to the final rankings.

My ambition had been not to come last. After the first round, this was indeed our position, but we climbed steadily (and then dropped back a bit) to finish third from bottom, with a score of 67 out of 120. To salvage even more pride I roughly calculated that this was not just a pass, but a 2:2. Hooray for The Bewildebeests!



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