Murder, Picnics and Punts in Cambridge

The Octagon Society

End of Year Outing


On the 23rd of June 2011, The Octagon Academic Society celebrated the end of the academic year with a trip to Cambridge for picnic, punting and a meal out. The journey by bus seemed to pass quite quickly and it wasn't long before we were all standing on Jesus green with the picnic laid out in front of us.


There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.

The Wind in the Willows

MuderPicnics2The previous day had been the end of year ball for the Cambridge university students, and in the course of that night there was a murder on Jesus green. Consequently, there was police tape and white tents on the edge of the green. There were mixed feelings about this as we sat to eat our picnic, angling ourselves in the opposite direction. Half the girls expected the murderer to be waiting in the toilets! Mr Stannard suggested throwing a rugby ball into the cordoned off area so that we could have an opportunity to go inside and see what was happening. Unfortunately, none of the students volunteered for this task.

Then it started raining and it only took a few minutes until we were thoroughly soaked, and had completely decided that we were not going to go punting no matter what. However, Mr Stannard had other ideas, and after being assured by Mr Eyles that it was only a passing shower we all huddled under the shelter of the public toilets still with our sandwiches and ice creams. We were joined by the homeless of Cambridge city and so we shared our picnic with them and listened to their life stories.


This was quickly becoming a very different day from the sunny, picnic, croquet and boules playing afternoon we had expected! However, before the day really did turn into an Agatha Christie novel or an episode of Morse, the torrential rain turned to light rain and we were able to get into the punts. Most of the small boys (and I confess, some of the teachers) seemed to think it was a race and went whizzing off down the river Cam in the now glorious sunshine! The more relaxed members sat back on the boats and wished that they had glasses of champagne like the college students, who were having great fun pouring it off bridges onto certain members of the school faculty including the head girl, who was not amused! Once we were actually on the river the dramas of the morning faded and we spent a very enjoyable time relaxing and learning how to punt. It felt a just reward for all of the hard work the scholars of Octagon had put in over the last academic year.

In the afternoon we were allowed to go shopping in town, and this was good fun as it stayed sunny. We toured some of the university colleges as a few of our more talented scholars decided which ones they would like to attend in a few years time! Some of the group also headed back to Jesus Green to play rounders and throw balls around in the sunshine. At 4:30pm we met up at the very grandiose pizza express on Jesus Lane. We said our goodbyes to the Octagon scholars who were leaving to go to university and then we tucked into our food. It was delicious and it seemed a shame when we had to get back on the bus to go back to school– we arrived at school at about 8:30pm and were so exhausted from the punting that most of us went almost straight to bed. All in all, it was an amazing educational and cultural experience, a fantastic day out and one that will live long in the memory of all who attended.



With your hedonists who grovel on a cushion with a novel
(Which is sure to sap the morals and the intellect to stunt),
And the spectacle nefarious of your idle, gay Lotharios
Who pursue a mild flirtation in a misdirected punt!

A Dialogue On Ethics ~ A D Godley


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