Posted by Bruce Kahl on September 09, 2001
In Reply to: Rowing on the fens posted by Sergey on September 09, 2001
: Hi, it's about some king who prefered "rowing on the fens" to
actually ruling the country. What exactly does this phrase mean?
: Any comments are welcome :)
"The Fens is a low-lying area in East England extending across
parts of Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, and Suffolk. Once
waterlogged, the first drainage attempt was made by the Romans.
This was resumed during the 17th century by the Duke of Bedford
and his engineer, Cornelius Vermuyden, creating the Bedford Level.
Now virtually all drained, the Fens form one of the most fertile
areas in the UK, producing cereals, vegetables, potatoes, and bulbs
(especially around Spalding)."
...from the Penguin Encyclopedia of Places
I did not find your phrase anywhere but "rowing on the fens" sounds like a leisurely type of activity so I would guess that the phrase is implying that the king was a bit lazy and would rather take a cruise and relax rather than perform his kingly duties.