Monday, April 25, 2005

Message in an e-bottle

Hiya Caroline,

I haven’t laughed so much while reading someone’s e-mail in a while. You’ve lost none of your lovingly sardonic turn of phrase in describing friends, pets and events and it carries so well in e-mail I can hear you reading it.

Hope you won’t mind my life-update e-mail being recycled as blog-fodder, but I’ve had my nose to the grindstone recently and (non-PhD) writing time’s a bit thin. I’ve also been clearing the decks for Jason’s arrival in Cambridge on Monday, which I’m sure will precipitate a whole crazy cart of chaos to rival his adventures in South American and Egypt.

… Though with significantly less chance of being bombed in the market place or having to walk in the dark 30 minutes through heavily defended border crossings. Although some college porters could give most border guards a run for their money.

Still, he arrives on Anzac Day, so much hilarity should ensue in Cambridge pubs. I'm sure we can get around octeen or so before closing. ("Octeen" being any number of drinks greater than 4 when you lose count of the total. Octeen drinks in Octeen pubs would be a worthy, if suicidal, goal. Not entirely unlike capturing ANZAC cove from Attaturk. Unless you want to be literal, in which case it is, of course, entirely unlike that.)

It is, indeed, Spring in Cambridge. That time of year when the soul can’t help but be gladdened by the returning flocks of small, colourful creatures darting about the streets and lawns of Cambridge, warbling incomprehensibly.

But enough of the tour parties of French schoolchildren.

Weather soaring to the dizzying heights of 18 degrees and the presence of sunlight (!) in quantity (!) has filled me with an unbounded exuberance and atomised all sense of appropriate punctuation. Honestly, if every day was like the last week, you’d never leave. I’ve found myself signing up for the college cricket team and dragging people to the college courts to instruct me in tennis.

Frankly, I think the tennis is more likely to rise to any level of skill. It requires less organisation and equipment to get out and have a practice. That and the man who will be preparing cricket team “lunches” made an excellent wine steward last year.

A German and guy from the US have taken to playing croquet every Sunday, for pretty much the whole day, on the lawns I can see from my kitchen. I’m going to have to join them next Sunday – if by Sunday I’ve recovered from Jason’s birthday in London on the Friday.

Or even found my way home by then.

I have proposed a “black tie and barefoot” croquet afternoon, which is gaining steam as a proposal in the grads committee at college. I don’t need approval to run one, of course, but this way others may do the work and their may be subsidised drinks.

I’ve also founded a “People’s Direct Action Committee for Cake” that meets every Thursday at 4.30 in the grads common room at college and brings cake. People keep wanting to make it “official” and approach the committee for funding. I say the day we sell out to the bureaucracy is the day the heart goes out of afternoon tea. A floating dinner party also seems to have crystallised around watching the new “Dr Who” series on a Saturday evening.

Not sure there’s much else to report, and I’m probably rambling as I just sent my supervisor an 18,000 word draft of the 15,000 word paper I have due in 8 weeks time. Yes, yes, I scare myself some days. At least it’s a reasonable sign I’m enjoying the research and am probably equipped to do a PhD.

I look forward to hearing of the delirious autumnal excesses of industrial-scale grape jam manufacture (I have visions of Sam selling it on street corners, or abandoning cases of unwanted conserve on ACTION busses) and the internecine struggles of your pets for pre-eminence.

Aye me, to bed.



No comments: