Monday, December 22, 2003

Look, up in the sky ...

Perhaps I should not have paid out so much on the “Love actually” vision of picture-perfect white Christmases in England.

There is talk of snow tonight in Cambridge. It is bitterly chill and there's a weird grey sky ...

Blogging is likely to be suspended until 8 January, when I get back from the craziness of World's Debating in Singapore, where I will also be spending New Year's Eve!

(I am actually around Cambridge until Friday - but the libraries are shutting and my internet access from home is presently non-existent.)

Happy holiday season everyone!

Friday, December 19, 2003

Miscellaneous miscellany

There are now even more photos up over here. (Imaginately named "A new set".)

A few are of everyone looking very pretty at the college Christmas dinner, which was some time ago now (yes, it was held early). There’s one of the cast of the play and one more “Cambridge view” shot.

But - a gem for the curious – there’s a photo of the mathematician-flatmate’s equations, not on a window, but the edge of the bath closest the toilet seat. (Shudder.)

In other news: I went to see Lord of the Rings and it rocked. I then wound up talking about it endlessly in the pub afterwards. Seems there is no ceiling limit on Tolkein-geekiness in Cambridge: we all knew way too much stuff about the books, and even the Silmarillion.

But of course, there’s no geeky like RPG geeky. Not that I could ever comment on that. Ahem.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Ph.D. angst

I’m not a fan of palpitations. My neat, tidy organised life is structured to avoid self-inflicted nasty surprises.

It should really not come as a surprise when you have friends round for dinner and someone, gently, reminds you that you need two referees to support your Ph.D. application.

Ideally, you should know this, and have started chasing referees weeks before. You should not wake screaming at 4 am when it finally sinks in that between the impending DOOM of Christmas and your departure for Singapore, you have under 10 days to write a research proposal and get your references together.

Indeed, it should not surprise you to do the maths and realise that only a saint (fully equipped with miracles) could get references to you from Australia in time to meet Cambridge deadlines and requirements.

(“No, fax copy will not do, sir. Three originals, with a completed cover form signed by applicant and referee in a sealed envelope. Remember the referee must sign the envelope over the seal, and cover their signature with clear tape. Red tape, sir? Ha ha. No, since the Act of Supremacy, papal blessing of the documents is no longer a formal requirement. Remember: only return the sealed references with your original application. Do not have the referee post them in directly. That will simply result in wailing and gnashing of teeth. On your part.”)

Anyway, one wonderful referee now teaches in Nottingham – and I caught him virtually on his way out of the office on holiday and he has still prepared a reference; and my lovely LL.M. supervisor (who knows me so slightly I’m happy that she can distinguish me from surrounding inanimate objects and remember my research idea) has also stepped up to the plate.

Now to pound out a 2,000 word research proposal. After referees, though, that should be a piece of cake (in an eerie moment, I first typed “panic attack” instead of “piece of cake” … ).

PS Oh, the photo - things are no longer this green, but ain't it pretty? (Thanks for hosting it Beth.) I'm working in the library just out of sight to the left. Squint, I'm waving.

Photos from my London day trip are now up at my Yahoo album.

Please click back and leave comments here, though!

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Happy birthday little sister!

This is a special birthday blog for someone turning 24. I’m not going to be able to give her her combined birthday and Christmas present until we meet in Singapore (I won’t trust it to the mail), and I’m not sure if my postcard (on which I stupidly forgot to say “happy birthday”) will reach her in time.

So for now, this is for B – my only sister, and sole sibling.

I wonder if you know how often I think of you. Just the other day, in Harrods of all places, I remembered standing in Macy’s in New York and finding the letter-B brooch I gave you for your birthday in ‘98. I keep tripping over those little memories of you, or to do with you. Not surprising, given I’ve known you longer than anyone except the parents.

I think you’d also have trouble grasping just how proud I am of everything you’ve achieved in the last six years. Yours has not always been the easiest of paths, but you’ve cut your losses when you had to, kept focussed on what you want and you’ve made it this far.

Art History is a much more difficult field than mine: like anything people will do for love, not money, there’s a lot more competition for the few places available. You’ve done so amazingly well in your honours year to make such use the opportunity to get interesting work experience, and undertake interesting projects, with great people and institutions. And here’s a big public congratulations on your first contract to do real work for a real museum! Hurrah for you, I say!

You also have so much more confidence and skill with people (even in interviews!) than you sometimes give yourself credit for. You don’t just charm the little old ladies buying floral print cushions you know, it’s everyone.

We’re chalk and cheese, and I always admire about you what I don’t have (night-owl stamina, gregariousness, the ability to dance, a better understanding of what makes certain people tick), but we’re two halves of something as well.

It would be hard to tell you how good you’ve been to me as a sister. Sure, we’ve fought and yelled (occasionally, though, and not very recently). I know we had moments when we were small when I was not particularly great to you (or when I should have stuck up for you and didn’t), but you’ve often been a tower of strength and sensible counsel to me. Yes, I know as the oldest child I’m meant to be the solid, stable one (and I know I’m often boringly stable) – but when I’ve needed it, you’ve always been a loving listener, but one who won’t let me lose perspective.

You are the one person who has known me all their life. You know me uniquely – better, perhaps, than anyone and still love me for it. That’s a small miracle of family life, and by no means something natural or inevitable. It’s a perfect treasure.

At bottom, I know you will always, always be there for me. It’s my absolute bedrock. I can only promise to do the same for you.

With all my love,

Your Brother

Monday, December 15, 2003

Naylor day

Ooops. Some new Naylor went up last week.

Where were you?

Daniel was buying a paper in the train station.

I was in a car hurtling along a dark motorway: a lift home from a friend’s kindly uncle (a chorister in the Royal Philharmonic choir, a charming man with an extraordinary Charles Darwin beard). We had been to that most quaintly English of things: a carol concert at the Royal Albert Hall where the audience are encouraged to sing along with certain carols or verses. It seemed a bit twee at first, but we got into it.

So Saddam has been captured. Let the debate over his trial begin.

There is already an Iraqi tribunal for war crimes and crimes against humanity, and under its rules it could - like the Special Court for Sierra Leone - appoint international judges. But this seems unlikely: the Iraqis want to keep it local, and the US administration wants to keep the UN out.

I expect some would rather see the new International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague have responsibility, or would like to see a special Security Council tribunal established, to emphasise the international nature of Saddam's crimes and ensure impartiality.

Personally, I think the best option is the Special Court for Sierra Leone model (a “mixed” court of domestic and international judges appointed by the local government and the UN Secretary General). It would have the following advantages:

(1) the ICC can only try crimes committed after 1 July 2002, when its statute came into force. It would not have jurisdiction over many of Saddam’s crimes. Further, the Court has no territorial jurisdiction over Iraq – which never signed the statute.

(2) A Security Council Tribunal (as was set up for Rwanda or Yugoslavia) could be seen by the locals as another UN imposition and lack credibility given the suffering caused by UN sanctions (also, the US is less likely to fund it – it has pressured the Yugoslav Tribunal to wrap up its cases in a hurry through budget cuts);

(3) The Special Court for Sierra Leone is coupled with a truth and reconciliation commission, and only has jurisdiction over those most responsible for the most serious crimes (which avoids the criticisms aimed at the Yugoslavian trials of going after foot soldiers more than generals and better allows for national healing);

(4) a mixed court allows for both international involvement (funding, impartiality) and involving local judges (with their knowledge of local law, conditions and language, as well as being more likely to garner local support); and

(5) The Special Court was not imposed upon a conflict by the Security Council under Chapter VII, but was established by a treaty between the UN and Sierra Leone, thus recognising Sierra Leone's own sovereignty and status as a nation. This also allowed the Court to remain within the country where the crimes were committed (unlike the Hague tribunals): which makes it easier and less traumatic for victims to give evidence.

The ICC is important, and will have its day, but Saddam should be tried in Iraq by a mixed local/international tribunal.

Anyway, where were you when you heard?

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Late train home from London

It’s a different atmosphere with the undergrads gone, and my fellow grads slipping one by one onto flights home. Things felt more serene at first, but suddenly seem hectic again.

So yesterday I did the only rational thing a student fretting about workloads could: caught a train to London to help the good Italian flatmate pass his last day in England before Christmas.

He had to drop by his Embassy, so I hit the Victoria and Albert Museum on my own. It’s simply jaw-droppingly huge and varied: though the exhibit labels often read like a small history of pillaging (“taken from the Emperor’s palace by soldiers during the Boxer uprising, this throne …”), which made me a little uneasy over questions of cultural property.

The ornate lobby has an extraordinary Chihuly “chandelier”, a seemingly organic growth of green and yellow bulbs and tubers and curlicues of glass. On Wednesday nights the museum has late openings and, apparently, serves wine while music is played beneath it. What the linked pictures don’t show is how the information desk with its backlit green panels complements the work. I’ll try and get my pics up soon.

I also stopped by the Brompton Oratory, before visiting what one of my Greek flatmates calls “The Museum” (Harrods – you don’t buy, just peer into glass cases), and then the Italian and I hit Portobello Road (the rain had dampened the market, but not our appetite for coffee, or the cuteness of English people buying street-corner pine trees) and watched the Christmas shopping on Oxford Street.

I weirded-out crossing Piccadilly Circus and riding double-decker red busses past Kensington Gardens: it all just seemed a bit too stereotypical to be real.

We refuelled with fish and chips with beer in Soho (possibly better for cheap eats than Cambridge) and managed to get last-minute tickets for the Royal Court theatre. The production was “Duck”, an Irish play: which was well-acted and interesting enough (a girl learns to escape an oppressive family, boyfriend, an entanglement with an older man to strike out on her own), but really lacked a conclusion.

(I’ve since been told by an Irish friend that this is their national theatrical tradition: it’s about the journey – destinations or resolutions aren’t highly prized.)

Our £7.50 restricted view seats at the very back of the theatre were fine, if you sat on the seat-back, not the seat, to see over the head of those in front.

What did impress about the Royal Court was the slick-but-comfy, all modern-brown wood and concrete walls bar downstairs (beers were really not as pricey as I would have thought for Sloane Square, yuppie central) and the fact that their “playbooks” (programme and full script) are only £2.

Funny that the bars and pubs I like in (my very limited experience of) London invariably remind me of Melbourne.

We missed our best train back from King’s Cross, and – not being able to find platform 9 ¾ - had to settle for the 10.50 from platform 8. To fill in the time my flatmate bought a cheeseburger and I bought the early edition of the next day’s paper. I wonder what that says about both of us …

On the train on the way home, a very British moment: a sozzled Friday-night suit-slave phoning the missus to ask that, as drinking-up time was approaching, she have two pints waiting on the bar for him and his friend.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Crude emotional manipulation, actually

Now that he’s abandoned wit and originality and become a factory recycling his self-created stereotypes, there’s something sweetly comforting about seeing a Richard Curtis film with all its predicatable emotional scenarios, middle-class settings, and - of course - Christmas in England.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Love Actually: it was a skilful piece of work, a series of invariably thin stories skating along on the bankable watchability of a talented ensemble cast doing it by the numbers. No surprises, no stretches.

Curtis has an impressive series of “Big England” writing credits to his name, exporting a certain universalised, highly PC, Christmas-Card-Englishness to the world, through films containing just enough American characters (or casting) to be trans-Atlantically marketable.

And he does deserve credit for becoming a “name” in an industry that tends to treat writers as interchangeable, anonymous day-labourers.

Still, key parody points of his scripts that emerged in the Guardian (not reproduced on-line dammit) included, more or less, that in Curtis’ England:

“Bugger” does not mean “sodomise this!”, but is a quaint English expression, acceptable in the politest of circles.

Few English people have proper jobs, and if they do they are endearingly bad at them. There is no incentive to really strive in the British economy when even the owner of a failing bookshop can afford an extravagantly large terrace in Notting Hill.

All social groupings contain at least one person with a disability, one gay couple and one member with a charming regional accent: such friends are highly prized and distributed according to a complex statutory formula.

Men have floppy hair, women floppy jumpers or hats (depending on the season).

It always snows on Christmas Eve, and this is invariably the best time to tell someone that you love them.

All right, it’s easy to throw stones. And I did rather enjoy “Love, Actually”, but it’s not a patch on “The Tall Guy” or early “Blackadder” – the acid has leached from his now fairly saccharine humour. Also, nothing in in this film really matched that one excruciating moment of real feeling in “Four Weddings and a Funeral”: the heart-rending reading of Auden’s “Stop all the clocks”.

The humour here feels like a pretty fresh stab at an old gag, not genuine wit; and some of the storylines in “Love actually” are one-gag sketches stretched over the film (most obviously, the romance between two “lighting models” for adult films who chat, semi-naked or naked, about London traffic while technical rehearsal progress).

The one moment of real poignancy was the Alan Rickman/Emma Thompson pairing: a story of a marriage confronted by Rickman’s blossoming, potential adultery. But otherwise we had the fairly stock performances by the likes of Colin Firth and Hugh Grant that we’ve come to expect. (Grant’s Prime Minister did have some good lines.)

But go on, you know you’ll see it anyway. After all, it’s Christmas.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

More Harry Potter by the moment

The first of Cambridge’s misty December days today, a light continuous fog that conducts bone-eating chill through your clothes.

Somehow, I am still getting no work done. Shortly, this will become a real problem.

Anyway, getting a little sight-seeing in. The weekend was rest mostly, except for a disappointing effort to catch my first evensong service at King’s College Chapel – only to find evensong was done for the term, recommencing 13 January. Still, interesting to take a look about: the Chapel in its heraldry is virtually a document of the Tudor/Plantagenet power struggle. It was begun by Henry VI (of the red Tudor roses), the continued by the “interloping” Edward IV and Richard III (the white Plantagenet roses), and after Bosworth Field was finished under the stewardship of Henry VII (who had the sense to marry a Plantagenet and change the crest to a red and white rose) and VIII. Greyhounds, red dragons and portcullises belonging to heraldry of various family branches finish off the decorations.

You can buy a little plush Henry VIII at the gift shop and a complete set of wives (heads all firmly attached, alas), but I settled for a batch of postcards.

However, I have saved my tacky-souvenir money for a college scarf: the black and white of Trinity Hall on one side, the two-tone blue of Cambridge on the other, appropriate embroidered crests on each side. A scandalous expense, but cozy warm good-quality wool and a decent (just above knee) length.

It’s the scarves that add a real Potter-esque quality to Cambridge life, I saw an under-grad borderline goth-rock girl the other day (all black and denim and tall Docs) sporting a cheerful green Caius scarf. (“Yup, I’m a rebellious individual – and a staunch Cambridge college gal.”). Their other amusing power is door-opening: University members get in to a number of places (like King’s Chapel) free – which is fair enough. But if wearing a college scarf you are never “carded”. Not a bad investment for the average tourist at £15 - £25.

Have to admit, am becoming ludicrously attached to mine as one of those visible badges of identity. All this from a man who never owned a football scarf in Melbourne …

Monday, December 8, 2003

A ten pound weight of poetry

“… the world crossed the wet courts, on Sunday, politely,
In tourists’ tentative shoes.
All roads lay too open, opened too deeply
Every degree of the compass.
Here at the centre of the web, at the crossroads
… the see-saw bustling
Atmospherics of higher learning,
And lower socialising …”

Ted Hughes, “Caryatids (2)” from Birthday Letters

It started because on Friday evening I discovered that my bike, after I'd been drinking at the Pickerel and eating noodles at Don Don, would not unlock. My key half-snapped in the stiff, weather-bitten lock.

I walked home, and was caught up en route by a flatmate.

Returning on foot Saturday morning (spare bike key now on my ring, disgraced key remnant binned), I passed Brown’s bookstore and went in for the first time. Oh, the second hand treasures buried at the back!

In a tough, close-fought contest over a £10 splurge, the selected Les Murray was inched out of the final three by the Oxford Book of Australian Poetry (my favourite title belongs to Clive James: “My enemy’s book has been remaindered”) for £6.00. Getting a gurnsey for being a mere £1.50 was a yellowing “Treasuries of English Verse” – still, it had my favourites from Keats, Eliot, Larkin, and Auden (how can you pass by “lay your sleeping head my love/human on my faithless arm”?).

The gem, the complete show stopper, though, was the US paperback edition of Ted Hughes’ Birthday Letters, his story of his life with (and after) Sylvia Plath. My favourite single volume of poetry. I had been missing my hardcover with an occasional ache since arriving, and here it was for £2.50. (Half a shelf away, the UK paperback edition was a mysterious £4.00.)

I took my loot, and have been happily dipping in and out ever since.

Hughes was right, of course, about the tourists, the rain, the bustle, the occasional sense of overwhelming – paralysing – possibility, and (that ever present university sense) that “the world” is elsewhere, something that visits, not something that’s present.

Things are a little calmer with classes over, but not necessarily peaceful. I can feel a mounting tension about my mountain of as yet unassailed reading and research.

Have not been out in two nights (a rarity in this party town), but the dinner-party season among those of us who are “staying up” for the holiday season commences this evening at my place. I hope we have enough food for the horde of Greeks, Italians and Australians that will be descending on us …

Friday, December 5, 2003

The end of term: a deeply weird 32 hours

1 am Thursday. Returned home from the college Christmas dinner (the last graduate hall before the vacation) filled with good cheer, roast chicken, Christmas pudding and mulled wine and gin and tonic.

Discover flatmates (who left early because they did not pull the last shift on the bar) cooking full English breakfast in kitchen.

Decline a share of their grease, consume an orange and a mug of lemsip. Extract myself from dinner jacket (I’ve learned to tie a bow tie!) and go to sleep.

10 am Thursday, awake with plans of going to law school to work desperately on LLM thesis draft due to supervisor. Dawdle over breakfast. Recall 12.15 pm Christmas party with History and Theory professor – dash off to eat sweet food and drink wine straight on top of breakfast.

Meet an international relations student friend at law school before my 2 pm lecture, but too late to go for coffee. Make plan to meet at the college library after eight and grab a late-night-study-session-coffee.

Go to 2 pm lecture given by supervisor. Realise I’ve been approaching a key issue in my thesis all wrong (damn UN Charter, damn International Court of Justice). Madly scribble notes. Then go to clear e-mail.

Forget that 4.30 make-up class is not in the faculty, but a bike ride away at the research centre. Arrive late and burst into a conference room.

People shuffle chairs out of my way (red sea parting style), so I can crawl to the very back of the room and sit down. Attempt to remain inconspicuous.

7 pm, Thursday. The plan: meet my debating team-mate at Borders and go for Chinese to brain-storm issues for the debating tournament in Singapore. The actuality: retire to his place with a bottle of a great German ’92 Spatlese-Riesling to eat his left-over salmon steaks, make bad jokes, chat with one of his house-mates and do almost no debating prep.

Walk into his student lodgings and realise they’re straight out of one of those intimidatingly white interior design magazines expensive hairdressing salons leave on their coffee-tables. Realise I may be in the wrong college. Curse the wealth of Trinity College once more. Assured walls are in fact dreadfully thin and people wake each other up in the night all the time, and have no auditory privacy.

Count small justices, but sceptically.

Repair to library after 9 pm. Write blog stuff. Open thesis document, begin to craft my "breakthrough" realisation into something useful. Stop mid-sentence. Go for coffee in common room. Work to 2 am, achieve something, cycle home and hit bed around 3.

House very quiet. Did not reflect on eerie absence of ranting mathematicians in common areas.

9 am Friday. Crawl out of bed to get on with it. Discover that while I was out the previous night there was a major incident with a certain difficult flatmate. Appears certain inter-housemate relationships now destroyed, College may have to get involved.

Dash to law school, finish chunk of draft and e-mail it to supervisor, then text a hard-done-by-housemate and organise lunch.

So looking forward to drawing breath.
Who used to live here?

My first commitment today was a 12.15 pm Christmas party thrown by the guru Professor who takes my History and Theory group. His address was "F staircases, Room 2, Great Court, Trinity College". Simple enough, you'd think.

I was running a little late (I thought) only struggling into Trinity's bounds as the various church bells began to ring the quarter hour.

Great Court is, indeed, fairly impressive. I think it could comfortably hold a small sporting arena. I entered it on the side nearest my college - "R Staircase" and had to scamper round three sides of it to get to F, which was right by the main gatehouse which leads out onto the imaginatively named Trinity Street.

At the top of the stairs I found the door to room 2. "Ring the buzzer, and if you hear an answering bell, enter," said a label. "Unexpected visitors are asked to telephone to make an appointment". A little intimidated, I rang, and on hearing a buzz, went up the carpeted stairs.

This was not the Professor's office. It was not a study. It was a private apartment of several large high-ceilinged rooms with views over both Great Court and Trinity Street.

There were framed sketches over the sideboard with the mince pies that looked suspiciously like they'd been executed by a contemporary of Rubens and some bric-a-brac that looked as though it might have been looted from a Greek archeological site. (My first taste of Trinity's art collection. The lesser pieces are farmed out to their student accomodation.)

On gawping about, I discovered I was also the first to arrive.

Struggling for small-talk, I asked how long he'd had the rooms.

"Oh, twenty-five years now. You know you've arrived in Cambridge when people start referring to them as your rooms not - 'oh, you have the rooms of that other fellow'. It only took ten or fifteen years."

I later found out from his co-teacher that the other fellow was Wittgenstein.

At some point I am going to have long enough to draw breath that I can pick my chin up off the floor.

That night-owl student thing

It's a fair sign you're a student again when you find yourself sitting about in a common room having a pre-midnight coffee, before trudging back to the library in an effort to write up a chunk of draft thesis due to my supervisor at 1.00 pm tomorrow. Um, today, now I guess.

I cannot believe how hectic the last week of classes has been, hopefully there will be more time for blogging and reflection next week.

Of course, in the next few weeks I also need to consider whether to put in a PhD proposal, and by next Friday there's a job application for next year I should put in as well.

Still ... a sure sign of student life is that my morning-person body clock appears to have re-set to a night owl finish of around 2 am. I'm just going to try and go with it and get some work done.

Happy Friday morning, Australia.

Tuesday, December 2, 2003

Now there's an idea ...

It only just struck me, thinking back over yesterday's post, that tucked in it is an utterly obvious idea for a novel/TV mini-series.

A retired DCI, who takes on a retirement job as a Cambridge college porter - and then goes on to solve murders among the academic community and sort of out the lives hapless students!

Man, I smell a runaway hit.

Now, where's a producer I can pitch this to?

Monday, December 1, 2003

Being new (or, the upside of everything at the moment … )

Cambridge feels like the latest step in a process I’ve been undergoing for a while now: being new.

It works two ways. You are both new to a town, its people, haunts and hangouts, its mores. You have to make new friends, find a supermarket, buy a few items that in a previous existence landlords or housemates supplied.

But you also get to be new as well: each move I think, has made me more myself – stripped off another unneeded layer, shed a few outgrown skins, left a little more literal and metaphorical baggage behind each time. I am a much more confident and resilient person than I was three years ago. More assertive also. (Though in Cambridge some of this probably just comes from being a few years older than many of my fellow grads.)

When new in town, the easiest people to meet are always other out-of-towners, infants of the storm, blow-ins. As a Cambridge graduate student, that’s almost everyone you meet. Most grads are from somewhere else, almost all have done other things and been other people along the way.

An American with a Friar Tuck bonhomie studying divinity, drinking obscure boutique beers and telling tales of his days living and working in an art house coffee-shop and cinema.

A British soap actor in his fifties, rowing for the college, and studying Art History. I can see him on TV three Thursday nights running this month.

A Canadian PhD student studying a contemporary of Wordsworth, who has worked as a journalist and political staffer.

A Swiss-German insolvency lawyer here to upgrade his quals and sporting college scarf, Burberry overcoat and fine cord, tailored trousers.

A liltingly-accented, richly pragmatic and humorous Irish international relations student who’s studied in Dublin and Paris and worked in four countries.

A vet who wants to become an MBA; a lawyer training as a mathematician; central European men with perfect English public-school accents; Asian women who answer their mobiles in casually inflected French; a favourite porter who is a retired Detective Chief Inspector, and used to run a young offenders program; and an endless stream of fellow Aussie lawyers with their identikit CVs (a major university, a major law firm, and then one or more of: having worked for a judge, the attorney-general’s department, an international NGO or having done a UN internship).

We are all – less so the porter, and those who were undergrads here – new. For 750 years or more Cambridge has (with the exception of the odd revolt among the townsfolk) welcomed this seasonal human inflowing tide. The cultural processes that exist to gather us up, make a melting pot of these accidental communities, are vital living things, but terribly old and comfortably well worn.

Many turn to rowing as their way to become a part of Cambridge, for me it was debating and drama (a rediscovery of half-forgotten pieces of myself). But at the core of it all, is your College: your colours, your default friendship circle, your clan riven with all its little alliances, celebrations, tensions and reconciliations and joys.

At the end of an eight week term have I enjoyed it? Am I exhausted? Do I feel its been both years and no time at all? Do I feel I fit in? Do I feel I’ve changed? Am I still excited by it all?

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes and very much yes.

PS New Naylor went up late last week over here.