Friday, December 5, 2003

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.

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