Dear JCR Members
Much as it pains me, I have to make this a serious email.
First, as any followers of the JCR OGM's will know, the punt we currently have in the water is on it's last legs. As such, I would ask the following;
- Do not put undue pressure on the sides of the punt. Under no circumstances should you stand on the sides, and if handling the boat from the shore, please be gentle.
- I know it's obvious, but do try and avoid colliding with the banks, or other punts.
- Please be careful where you put your hands. The wood is liable to splinter, and it's possible the screws may come uncovered.
Secondly, we share the punthouse with St Catz. college. As such, we have to take care of our equipment;
- Our poles are on the lowest shelf, and should be locked together with a bike lock. Please make sure that after you've finished punting, you return your pole, and lock it properly. Do not use St Catz. poles, especially the metal ones.
- Our cushions are the blue ones with white spots. They should be in the locker marked Merton 2, at the back of the punthouse. If the cushions are wet, please leave them to dry over the edge of the locker.
- This locker also contains the backboards and floorboards. These should be returned at the end of the day.
Thirdly, some general ground rules;
- When punting, please make sure you lock the punthouse door.
- The punts have a tenancy to fill up with water, either from rain, or general use. While I will check them regularly, if there's water sloshing at the bottom, please bail it out. There are some bailers (AKA, cut-off milk cartons) in our locker.
- Please moor our punt upstream of the St. Catz punts. When mooring, please ensure the lock doesn't sit in the water.
- Always return the keys on time for the next booking. No excuses. Failing to do so may result in you being banned from booking punts and kayaks in the future.
- Do not punt downstream (south) of the punthouse. When setting off, always go upstream, away from the bridge, and towards the Parks and LMH.
Finally, a cautionary tale, in the hope that future JCR's will care for our punts.
About a decade ago, Merton had what were probably the nicest punts in Oxford. Sadly, the students at the time did not take care of them, they filled up with rainwater, and sank. They had to be dragged up from the riverbed and burned. Not surprisingly, the College decided that students were not to be trusted with punts, and withdrew any funding for new ones.
The punts we have now were found/repaired, and then cared for by our resident barman, Dave Hedges, until a short-sighted JCR punt rep told him to sod off. And now, we're left with two punts unusable, and a third barely so.
As such, we are very lucky that college have agreed to fund raise for a new punt on our behalf, and we should remember that if we fail to take care of it, the offer may not be extended again.
We are also fortunate that Dave Hedges is willing to get involved with the punts once again. For this, he deserves our gratitude. After all, this position has taught me two things - never trust the job description ("it's easy" they said, "just bail out some water occasionally" they said....), and that the help of people like Dave and Mark is utterly indispensable.
Well, enough of me lecturing. Good luck for the final day of Eights, and happy punting!
God save the Warden, Merton-a rules the waves..... (well, I couldn't resist)
The JCR Admiralty