I have a million questions. I have looked at the official Race website, and it has a lot of helpful information, but much of what I need to know is cultural rather than factual. And to be clear, I want to write about the Boat Race as it is now (last few years), not back when James would have been at university. I don't care about specific details of the actual race. For example, if I set this in 2012, I may not mention the protest swimmer, or may choose to assume that my story takes place in an alternative timeline in which the incident didn't happen. Or that Oxford won.
I assume that somewhere in the back of his wardrobe, James has a light blue blazer. Under what circumstances would it be appropriate/likely for him to wear it? How would people react if he wore it somewhere in Oxford? (Off-duty, obviously) I know that in the U.S., sports rivalries can be expressed in ways ranging from good-natured teasing to out-and-out violence. I know that the latter can happen in the U.K. with football/soccer, but what about rowing?
Is it a class sport? Would working-class people gather in their favorite pub to watch the Race on TV? Might there be a gathering of Cambridge people in exile in Oxford? Might Oxford movers-and-shakers of the sort that Chief Superintendent Innocent socializes with have a Boat Race party in Oxford? I know the race is in London, which is a reasonable drive/bus ride from Oxford. Do people tend to travel down to watch it in person?
His partner, DI Lewis knows that James "used to row a bit". If any of his other colleagues on Oxfordshire police force know about James's Cambridge Blue, how are they likely to feel about it? (Some of them already resent him because they think he's posh and over-educated.)
And if those aren't enough questions, I'm also looking for answers to the ones I don't know enough to ask.
ETA: I just have to say how amazed I am at the wealth of knowledge in this comm. I received far more information than I dared hope for. Thank you all!