It’s the final day in June, and for once, it’s bright and sunny. What better way to spend the day than ambling around London, enjoying all the sights before I disappear off? I met up with MW at Victoria, and after a quick afternoon lunch in Chinatown (of delicious 小籠包), we went for a walk around the city. Trafalgar Square, Parliament, Whitehall, the Embankment and St. Paul’s were all visited (as well as a quick detour to Covent Garden and Foyles). All in all, a relaxing and fun day!
This time next week, I shall have left the UK. However, today was allocated as time to spend with the family, and it was great. First, we visited a lavender farm over in Banstead (driving through various districts where my family from several generations ago originated, so we got a brief genealogy lesson on the way). The farm visit was followed by a country walk along the North Downs, ending up in The Harrow (an excellent local pub). An Indian takeaway eaten outside in the garden, and Quartet (a new film starring Dame Maggie Smith, Sir Michael Gambon, Billy Connolly, et al.) ended the day. Overall, lots of fun time spent with my family (with the good weather as an added bonus).
Today was my second riding lesson, and it was a good chance to recap what I’d learned on Tuesday. Admittedly, I’m still pretty bad at it, and Hobbit called most of the shots if I’m completely honest (but he’s so lovely, so I don’t mind). That’s one of the things about horses when compared to cars, in that they literally have a mind of their own (and like to stop on the way for a quick snack). I must admit, they’re infinitely nicer than cars!
Other things I’ve been up to today include looking at potential companies for graduate employment (as backup plans, in case I can’t get one with the company I’m working for this summer). I really really really don’t want to end up being stuck in Britain after graduating. Assuming I manage to find a job abroad, it’ll be a very interesting chat that I’ll have to have with my family, some of them aren’t especially keen on my desire to disappear off. I can just imagine the reaction were I to open with “Oh, just to let you know, I’m going to be living in Hong Kong [in an ideal world]/Canada/Australia/Thailand/<insert name of country far away here, i.e. NOT in Europe> for the next x years, so yeah, hope that’s ok!”…
I’d arranged to go and visit my paternal grandparents today with my father, as I’ve not seen them since Christmas, and would not get the chance to see them again until after I’m back from Chile at the very earliest. Anyway, it was lovely to see them both, and we had a good lunch, followed by generic conversation, and plenty of interesting stories about my various ancestors (including one who got questioned by the police after a case of mistaken identity between him and a terrorist).
On the way back, we stopped off at the Rufus Stone. This is a monument in the New Forest (established 1079) to King William II (reigned 1087-1100), who was “accidentally” shot dead whilst on a hunting expedition in 1100.
Today was my first riding lesson! Wooo! It was a lot of fun, and helps prove that I’m quite a rural person at heart. The horse I rode is named Hobbit, who’s 15 years old, and about 16 hands tall (around 1.65 metres). He liked cutting the corners (presumably as it meant he was able to walk more slowly, and less far), but he was absolutely lovely! My next lesson is on Friday, and already I can’t wait. If I make enough money, I’d definitely want to get a horse.
I’m now watching Brainiac: Science Abuse, which I rediscovered on YouTube. It’s such a great show, especially the first couple of series which Richard Hammond presents, and brings back a lot of memories (casual shout out at this point to 2coldfingers who introduced this show to me, and who was primarily responsible for my keenness in science in the first place, I owe you one)!
Generic chore things today have included collecting more sun cream, sending off an extra contract to Chile, as well as making arrangements for my work permit once I get to Santiago.
Finally, congrats to my sister, who got her results for this year today. She managed to survive her first skirmish with the Tripos with a First, which is marvellous!
After popping to the bank to get a cheque book, and buying a ton of sun cream with SPF “50+” (grrr, thanks rubbishy Northern European genes), I went over to SJ’s house. I’d not seen him for a while, and we had fun catching up, and watching rubbish TV (as well as Wimbledon, which has started). JC turned up a few hours later, and, after some more TV, we played ping pong outside, before having a rather filling takeaway pizza.
Once I returned home, I spent a while trying to sort out a new SIM card I’ve got (courtesy of my father’s friend, who’s set up a telecoms company), for when I go to Chile. Essentially, it’s a global SIM card, which allows you to phone international numbers, but only charges you local rates (or something wizzy like that) – essentially meaning that I will be able to phone home from Chile, but it will only cost me the same as phoning a local Chilean phone number, I think. I just need to work out how to put credit onto the SIM, and then I’m all ready to go.
Well this does make an interesting change. Today’s the first day when nothing has happened. Ok, so not completely nothing, but a sufficient amount of nothing. Compared to all the excitement of May Week, and the Imperial Summer Ball (as well as the “excitement” of the Tripos), it’s been very quite. I had a haircut this morning (done by J – I don’t know her surname, in spite of the fact that she’s done my hair for the past 17 years – which is always fun, as she always has great stories to tell), washed the garage windows, and did a little bit of gardening.
In the afternoon I went over to my maternal grandparents’ house to help them with changing a ceiling light, and had some tea. Now I’m back home doing some reading, and have spent some time looking at Ordnance Survey maps of Surrey (as I’d like to go on a long distance walk generically south one day if the weather is any good).
After arriving at TKC’s South Kensington flat, we nabbed a quick meal at a local Italian place, and then headed back to get ready for the Imperial Summer Ball. We headed over to her friends’ flat, and chatted for a while, after which we went to the ball. It was really good, with lots of fairground rides to enjoy, as well as a decent cash bar, and fireworks. The main stage was very well done, and we danced, drank and chatted until the small hours. Unfortunately, a couple of them had a little too much to drink, but after some lovely negotiation with a cab driver (with lots of help from the very helpful St. John’s guys), we made it back to TKC’s friend’s flat, so we missed the after party, but that was definitely for the best. One of the guys and I kept an eye on those who were a bit worse for wear (thereby giving me a second day with only one hour of sleep – well why not?), before I took TKC home, and went back to Surrey.
I’ll be honest with you, Corpus May Ball, as per first year, was the best, by a long way. This was the May Ball at which I never felt tired, and at which I always wanted more time at. Bear in mind that this in in spite of the fact that I didn’t even listen to much of the music at all, the food was excellent, the drinks were excellent, and the generic fun was also excellent. I had a tarot card reading (in fitting with the “Phantasmagoria” theme), which was suitably vague (I reckon that the fact that my summer job is in the Atacama Desert probably helped the vagueness – I reckon she wasn’t expecting that as a summer job!), but apparently, I’m going to be robbed, and have a long term relationship soon, so watch this space…yeah!
After the fun that was Corpus Ball, I packed the final things from my room, dumped a couple of them at my sister’s (at Queens’ College), and walked to Cambridge Rail Station (easier said than done after a night of unlimited food and alcohol – and clearly absolutely no sleep). However, as I write this, the 7:30 ish Cambridge to King’s Cross First Capital Connect service has just left, so it could be worse!
The plan now is to navigate (somehow) across London (from King’s Cross to Victoria/London Bridge), and get the train home. Update: now on the 09:02 Southern service to Bognor Regis and Portsmouth Harbour – definitely worth remembering to get off and change at East Croydon, as an impromptu visit to either terminus would not be ideal at the moment! From my home station, I shall walk to my house, sleep, and then get back from there to South Kensington by 4pm, in order to have dinner with my dearest friend TKC, prior to going to the Imperial College London Summer Ball with her. I don’t really know what time this finishes, and so there’s almost a 100% chance that tomorrow morning at about 3 am, I shall be on a train to as close to home as I am able to get (probably Purley from looking at the timetable), before swapping to a night bus/taxi to get back to my house – as the final train direct to my town leaves at about midnight, but who knows!
Anyway, at the moment, I am absolutely shattered, (and between you and me, still could do with some more time to sober up), and am on the way back home. All in all, it’s been a really fun and solid 24 hours!
I’ve now made it back home, and have had a lovely one hour of sleep, and shortly I’ll be heading into London again for the Imperial Summer Ball.
This is it, the final day in Cambridge! Aside from packing and getting my stuff home, there’s been nothing really of note happening. I’m sticking around and not leaving until tomorrow, as it’s the Corpus May Ball tonight, which I’m thoroughly looking forward to. The afternoon was spent watching The Shining with MK, RS, and AC, and it’s a great film! I’m now getting ready for the ball, and am meeting up with the others in half an hour.
The Corpus ticket name change looks super sketchy on the ticket, but they updated their Excel sheet, so hopefully there won’t be a problem getting in.