Sunday, December 5, 2004

Christmas dinner (note paper crown and carol sheet) Posted by Hello

Death by eating

I’ve become a binge eater. The Christmas end of Michaelmas term is simply lethal.

Monday last week was the new PhD students self-organised dinner. Tapas at the restaurant upstairs at Bun Shop, the food was not bad and the quantities were unconquerable. Had a pint at the pub downstairs both before and after the meal, and half a bottle of white with it. Then wound up in my kitchen with a course mate talking, demolishing another two bottles, and instructing one of the Californians how to write her media, government regulation and civil society paper.

As the Americans say: “good times.”

Wednesday was the graduate Christmas dinner, photos above, and over here. Carols, great food, wonderful flatmates and friends. Well worth crawling out of bed a week earlier to trudge into the college and manually sign up a dozen nearest and dearest under the baleful eye of a Manciple deeply peeved that people were having the temerity to sign up friends.

Friday did not involve excessive eating, but I did go to the ADC Theatre to catch the Christmas panto (a very, very loose, extremely funny adaptation of “Great Expectation”) and the late show (Harold Pinter’s rather creepy “The Lover”).

Saturday I was the only graduate student at Dr Eden’s commemorative supper. Dr Eden, 21st master of our college, left money by will in 1645 for an annual chapel service, an oration and a dinner in his memory for the fellows and scholars. He left an income in excess of 50 pounds a year, secured by around 80 acres of land in 1645. Allow for inflation, it’s a pretty amazing dinner.

New scholars (ie, me) get invited once only to the supper, and if they attend the chapel service receive the traditional allowance afterwards in the master’s study before dinner.

That allowance is four shillings. Which is exactly what you get. I have four shillings of imperial coinage in a little commemorative velvet drawstring bag with a printed label.

I should mention the Chapel oration. Dr Eden’s will stipulates that the oration be an hour long, in Latin, delivered from memory, on the virtues of civil and cannon law. It is now 20 minutes and in English on a topic of the speaker’s choosing, following a ruling of governing body in the 1960s that had a lot to do with convenience and little to do with estate law.

Dinner was four or five courses (starting with mussels and roast Norfolk pheasant), depending on how you want to count, and involved adjourning for a digestive break before the port and petit fours and fruit course.

I could, apparently, have stayed to drink whiskey until 2 am, but slid off to a birthday party a bit after 11. (I was actually too full of food to drink anything much.)

Tonight I just had the blind wine tasting society’s Christmas dinner. I leave you to draw your own conclusions.

This coming week I only have dinner parties Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.

I think I need to break out the bigger pants.

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