2019 SUPA Universities Summer National Championships: 7th–9th Jun by 3.1

Well. Last weekend was pretty moist.

Lost all of my chukkas in my division (well, we drew the last one, but it may as well be a loss) and got injured in my first chukka. Apart from that, I am feeling fortunate that I didn’t fall off, given the state of the pitches after Day 1.

Overall, I had a fairly fulfilling time (albeit not taking part in any of the parties that took place) and all the ponies I got to ride were very well to do with no issues.

The chukkas were held at Offchurch Bury Polo Club and our horses were hired from Silver Leys Polo Club.

Day 1 – Winchester and Warwick

Not the best chukkas, with me struggling to see for a lot of it with the heavy rain and my glasses steaming up. Winchester was pretty mediocre, with the rain at its heaviest on that Friday morning. It is in this game I took a rough hooking from another player who sought to disrupt my full swing by throwing everything and the kitchen sink it.

Warwick came in the afternoon. We were expecting dirty tactics from Warwick, as they are notorious for foul play, and we were not surprised when said play emerged. Ultimately, their player at the back was very strong and we were marked aggressively which permitted him to progress, with little room or time for breakaways.

I managed to get a few touches on the ball, but nothing spectacular as my wrist was killing me by this point. A few awkward backhands and changes of direction on the ball, but not much else in the way of defensive play.

All in all, a bit of a hash.

Day 2 – Rest

I went back to London for the day once the order of play was updated as no chukkas were listed for my team. My accommodation, a lovely B&B in Leamington Spa, was conveniently situated within walking distance of the railway station, so it was quite easy for me to get home. That said, I felt pangs of disappointment when I realised that I had to leave to go back up towards Warwickshire…

Day 3 – Harper Adams and Stirling

The rain tried to come and go again, with a downpour occurring at some point in the afternoon (thankfully, well after all my chukkas were played). In the Harper Adams chukka, I had the pleasure of riding a pony called Tango, which was one of the biggest on the field and required me to play with a 53” mallet.

Stirling was a fun game, having played this particular team and line-up before back in February. I managed to breakaway towards goal, where I would’ve been able to put one away, had it not been for an illegitmate ride off. A 30 yard penalty was awarded to us however, where my teammate Yong was able to score.

Interestingly, I played without a numnah (saddle blanket), as Esperanza apparently had a weird back/spine. She did have a gel pad under my saddle for extra grip, but essentially her girth was done up as tight as it would go and I was simply warned about ensuring I was well-balanced throughout.

Anyway – that’s that for this year! Everything else that happens now will simply be club or local tournaments and next year I get to move up to play in the novice division for SUPA nationals. Whether or not I’ll still be UoLPC I don’t know, but we’ll see.

All chukka coverage photos are courtesy of the amazing Emmpix Photography:

令和 by 3.1

Reiwa memes have been in full flow, as has my final term of my second year of university (and the associated linguistics memes that are periodically prescribed by some of my classmates on WhatsApp). I can’t believe how quickly it has gone, but I’m definitely feeling the strain of taking on full-time uni with a full-time job that seemingly never stops.

Year 2 is when all modules and marks suddenly start counting towards the overall classification of one’s degree. Whilst I was able to acquire a First mark quite comfortably in one of my modules, the reality of everything else in the world of BA Linguistics along with my foray into the Japanese language has been quite hard hitting (and generally quite painful when you consider I’ve been conducting this full-time with a full-time job), so there’s a possibility I may only just scrape through.

My life at Birkbeck College has been a thoroughly enriching one though. One of the best things about it is the fact that it does not have a conventional intake; the range of ages in many of my classes is from school leavers to those in retirement, some people are sitting their degrees full-time whilst others are part-time, the majority of lectures and classes take place in the evenings from 18:00 onwards, which means there are people here from all walks of life. I’ve also made some great friends:

Lunch at Vapiano after a Japanese exam (I also have a hangover) with two of my classmates (Natalie and Richard) who are in my linguistics and Japanese classes.

Counselling ourselves in the Hare & Tortoise after the trauma that was our Monday night linguistics lectures in Terms 1 and 2. Dealing with syntax trees week after week really was that stressful that you can see Patch still cowering behind me. Oscar can’t even show emotion after the ordeal.

And then there’s the polo, where presently, my mallet situation is getting out of hand:


I have now acquired a solid stock of sticks, with heads varying in weight from a very light 160g to a very hefty 195g. The search for a mallet that doesn’t destroy my wrist after two chukkas is a never-ending one, but I’m generally a fan of Wood Mallets from New Zealand, as you can see. The big numbers denote the length of the stick in inches (the 27” foot mallet is for practising shots when on the ground). The two white ‘Arena’ marked mallets are for playing in the winter (where the ball is bigger).

I also recently became a member of White Waltham Polo Club in Maidenhead and consequently signed up for my Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA) membership:


The HPA is the governing body for polo in the UK and by signing up to be a member of a club as well as a member of the HPA, I’m basically on my own journey now to work towards my handicap, which is both exciting and terrifying! You can’t put a price on freedom though. I can’t quite explain the feeling I get when I ride and when I get to play or compete, but it’s worth every penny I spend and every drop I sweat. I’m very much looking forward to the Summer Nationals taking place in the first week of June, where I’ll be representing one of the squads for the University of London.

With work, uni and polo all moving along, life doesn’t stop either. I’m mostly happy and mostly healthy (work and uni stress aside), having finished some treatment at Ealing Hospital for the anxiety-related eating disorder that I was struggling with for a while. I’m now settled into my new place and new life with Patch (who I met at university, in case you didn’t catch that earlier) after my brief stint living in Northfields. Being back in Brentford (albeit not in Brentford Dock) is a relief as it’s just so convenient transport-wise or if I need to head out on my bicycle.

We’re in a 2-bedroom split-level flat that’s more like a house, really (and certainly the biggest place I’ve ever lived with since moving out of my parents’ house). Living with someone new is a bit of a learning curve, but life’s all about adapting and compromising when you’re sharing your life and space with another person and I am very grateful that I get a lot of freedom when it comes to the space because Patch wants it to be my home as well as our home, which is kind of a first for me really (previous partners have not been as kind about this).

I figured there was only so much sitting around on the sofa I could do, especially if/when I need to work from home or do stuff for university. I was also conscious about taking up space anywhere with a desk, taking up space in the living room (where I’ve been on the sofa) and taking up space in the spare room:

The spare room is sizeable and has a double-bed in it, which is great when either of us are on awkward shifts or different time-zones, or when we have had members of Patch’s family staying round. There’s lots of cupboard space, lots of natural light and some beautiful built-in shelves which we’ve filled with our linguistics tomes, his Spanish and football books, and my Japanese books and other volumes:


We were thinking however of turning the spare room into more of a home workspace type thing. Not quite a home office, but somewhere where either of us could do work if we wanted, especially when Patch has to work on the cricket from home. We contemplated getting a day bed so that we could still have guests stay round, but then move Patch’s desk (which is currently in the main bedroom) into the spare room and get another TV. So we’ll probably do that in the summer after the World Cup, I guess.

Meanwhile, I figured that to make the best use of the space in the living room (which gets a lot of natural light) was to somehow get a desk in under the stairs and somehow turn that into my workspace as there’s quite a lot of space under there when we’re not dumping stuff under there (which reminds me that I’m due another trip down to the charity shop at some point to drop off a few bits and pieces):


After much measuring and contemplation, I decided to get a bureau instead of a normal desk, the reason being that I want to hide away anything I’m working on whenever it’s done. It also needed to slot in just enough that our little shoe cupboard could just move along closer to the door, rather than having to be moved somewhere else completely. Eventually I found a bureau that wasn’t just the right size, but also the right colour and depth to match the shoe cupboard:


I got the Marcell bureau from and whilst it has cost me a bit of a pretty penny, I’m kind of relieved that I didn’t go for the usual IKEA options as I don’t think the current offerings would've worked. The only downside is that I have to wait until June for my new bureau to reach me in my new home, but at least it will mean I get to have it in time for any summer work/study, as well as my final year of university.


Whilst I’ve been waiting however, I’ve been ordering all sorts of bits and pieces to make my little workspace my own; I picked up a very cute vintage Royal Doulton Guinness perpetual calendar (which I absolutely love). I’m not sure on what sort of chair I’ll go for as we were thinking about getting a new sofa at some point and ideally I’d want whatever chair I got to match the rest of the stuff in the room (which is slightly impossible with the mish-mash of current IKEA furniture already in the living room), but I’m contemplating getting a rug perhaps and an Angelepoise 90 Mini Mini desk lamp. If I’ve got the measurements and maths right, there should just be enough space to the left of me in the smallest part of the space under the stairs to fit a small table for my record player and Sonos speaker to sit.

All this talk of life just being normal and just making normal decisions about normal things has been quite a relief from the chaos of my teens and twenties. It’s nice to feel like I’m moving forwards, but without feeling too hurried.

At some point I’ll come to bore you all about the cricket, how I ended up getting into it (and consequently, how Patch and I got together), but until the next update, またね、みんなさん。