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A society with a restricted membership. In TrinityCollege/GreatHall? there is a plastic mallard, which sits on one of the roof beams. The membership requirement of the society is to remove the mallard from its beam, take a photo of yourself with the mallard in front of the painting of HenryVIII, and place the mallard on a different beam. It is claimed that this involves at least 4 offences resulting in a sending-down. It is also rumoured that the society secretary is the Dean. The mallard moves about twice a year.

I hadn't heard the "take a photo" bit before. That must be new.. ^^; - MoonShadow
How else would you prove you were the one who moved it?

As with all Cambridge traditions, true or not, there are rumours with several different versions. The version SunKitten [heard about] (strip, 25th Feb) has elements of truth, but I've never heard the bit about the step-ladder and it seems unlikely given the height of the rafters. My best idea was a long pole and the classic increasing-weight rope.

Classic increasing-weight rope? Explain for a cat of very little brain, please :) The above version sounds rather more correct than my garbled recollection, though. I did wonder, while flicking through various photos, how big the Trinity stepladders were :) - SunKitten
You have a thread, to which is attached a string, to which is attached a light rope, to which is attached a heavy rope. Once you get the end of the thread in place (e.g. by putting a weight on the end and using a pole to drop the rope over a rafter - in literature, more likely to involve tying the thread to an arrow) you pull. Provided the joins are good and each section is long enough, each section can take the weight of the next section.

I spoke to D recently (who was at Trinity about 10 yrs ago) who said:

"These are the ducks that R was supposed to put in the rafters."

Ahah, I thought.  Time to get the inside story.  I showed him this webpage.  He chuckled a bit and said,

"Hmm, they are extrapolating a bit."  Then, indignantly, "you don't have to take a photo - you just do it!".

He continued "Yes, he was going to use an expanding rope.  He had even made a device that would detach the rope from the duck at the right point".

I asked D if simply climbing up wouldn't be easier -

"Yes, but that was done last time.  Or maybe R wanted to put it somewhere more outrageous."

Sadly D couldn't remember why the attempt failed.  Apparently it got as far as breaking in to the hall though.
Sadly the mallard seems to have vanished, perhaps due to Trinity College Hall being invaded by pigeons, leading to safety concerns about it falling onto someone's head. Unless someone took it and is planning to replace it next term...
Watch out for postcards -- Senji
It's on top of the fridge in the buttery, or was --Lmm

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Last edited January 26, 2007 11:31 am (viewing revision 11, which is the newest) (diff)