The month of March brings tourists flocking to the Tideway on four separate occasions: the Women’s Head, the Men’s Head, the Veterans’ Head and the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race. The Embankment traffic police believe all large rowing events are called ‘The Boat Race’ and plaster yellow signs on all lamp posts accordingly, however the natives know better, each having its own distinct identity and excuse for a party.
While the Women’s Head is characterised by bare-footed squealing females unversed in the ways of the tidal Thames, hanging out of boats to pee and at least one capsize while boating, the Men’s Head brings schoolboys, social rowers, triallists and internationals bow to stern in a massive snaking flotilla, with the first crews on their second pint by the time the last crews are marshalling past the bandstand. Everyone thinks the Vet’s head will be a good idea until Barnes Bridge, yet when the time comes to enter the following year, Alzheimer’s and alcohol have done their wicked work and erased all memory of those twenty (thirty?) minutes of pain. For one day a year the media descends on Putney and Chiswick to cover THE Boat Race, with all its glorious hopes and dreams, unbearable tension and vicious coxing.
Best of luck to all crews involved and a hearty welcome to all crews boating from Vesta. Do come up for a well-earned brew in the bar afterwards, enjoy the view from our balcony and stay on into the evening to celebrate or drown your sorrows at one of Vesta’s legendary parties. See you there!