Kings College: The Ducks That Matter


ducks strolling to chapel at kings college james mawson twn.jpg(photo credit: James Mawson)
I didn’t take this picture. I think it was taken a few months ago by Cambridge University Kings College senior James Mawson who is studying music at this ancient and interesting foundation of learning.
John Maynard Keynes and Henry VI are the two personalities that basically dominate the scene at Kings.
The internet is slower here than in Havana, Cuba, but I could imagine spending some time in this archetype of college towns.
I have just taken a late night/early morning stroll around the greens of the College — and there are these great ducks everywhere. They have character — just like the ones that James Mawson snapped above on the bridge over The Backs channel.
More tomorrow on the conference I am attending.
What I will share as a teaser is that Britain’s Financial Services Authority Chair Adair Turner blew all of us away at this conference with an incredibly granular understanding of economic praxis and theory — and a facility for talking about complex economic challenges that made me feel embarrassed about the intellectual and performance talent deficit among comparable US economic policy elites. He was amazing — and the organizers are trying to convince him to put this brilliant speech he gave on the record, as opposed to the “after the fact” comment by the moderator that his talk was on Chatham House non-attribution rules.
Many thanks to the two “Toms”, James Mawson and others here at Kings College for their kindness and memorable hospitality.
— Steve Clemons


7 comments on “Kings College: The Ducks That Matter

  1. Laurie says:

    I remember spending a good half-hour there, watching a duck fly
    upstream and waterski to a stop, then do 180 degree fishtails
    downstream, and turn around to do the same thing again. I still
    think that had to be one of the smartest creatures I’ve ever seen!
    What FUN!


  2. David says:

    I should add that Dad worked as a carpenter after WWII. Because of his artist’s eye and his smarts, he was the rafter cutter. The man could perform magic with a framing square and a Skilsaw. And he rescued a duck and a chicken.
    God do I miss him.


  3. David says:

    We had a chicken. Her name was Florence. My cousin closed a screen door on her neck, breaking some vertebrae, but she was one tough little white chicken. Dad fashioned a splint for her neck, even though he could reasonably have said, “Dammit, Jim, I’m an artist, not a veterinarian,” but such a thought would never have crossed my father’s mind.
    There was no way to keep Florence’s neck straight, so it healed rather askew. As a consequence, she tended to go in circles, but she was able to live an ok life – we were all very protective of her.
    I am not making this up.


  4. questions says:

    Vy not a chicken?


  5. Sweetness says:

    Vy a duck?


  6. David says:

    We had a duck. His name was Caesar. He was a merganser who had gotten caught in a neighbor’s trap, which badly mangle his leg. Dad, sculptor that he was, fashioned a plaster-of-paris and burlap cast which worked reasonably well. Were he in this line, he would be walking like a Brit who suffered a serious leg injury in the Great War. Of course as a merganser he would also look pretty seriously out of place, but Caesar would have been unfazed.
    The You Tube clip Steve provided a couple of posts back is why I have valued TWN since I first discovered it. It takes my quest for insight places it would otherwise be unable to go.
    Oh, and what WigWag said.


  7. WigWag says:

    There is a long and glorious history of honored guests at Cambridge (and Oxford) being invited to participate at “High Table.”
    The origin of “High Table” goes back to the physical layout of the dining halls of English colleges at Cambridge. In those colleges, undergraduates in their commoners or scholars gown would sit at long refectory tables. At the far end of the hall, on a raised platform or dais, a table was set for the master and fellows of the college along with special invited guests who sat above the undergraduates – at the High Table. To this day, being invited to dine at “High Table” is considered a tremendous honor although now its just with the faculty of the college not the students.
    Trinity College is the Cambridge affiliate considered to have the most traditional and exciting “High Table” events.
    I can think of no more worthy guest to participate in this ancient and revered tradition than the great Steve Clemons!


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