Jesus May Ball 2014

I’d never been to Jesus May Ball before, but several friends were going this year, so I decided to jump on the bandwagon too.  I was slightly nervous as HL was in charge of getting my ticket, and he’d not collected them, so the fact that I was in the queue without an actual ticket was slightly disconcerting – but of course he picked it up for me without any trouble.

Jesus has the advantage of being larger than Robinson, so the queue outside the college was for wristbands and security.  After getting through this, there was another queue inside where everyone waited for the doors to open.  There was however food and drink provided in this second queue, so it didn’t seem to take too long.  At 20:00, the doors opened, and we all streamed in.

The theme this year was “Lost in the Woods”, and it was extremely well done.  The variety of food and drink on offer was astonishing, and it was difficult to know where to begin.  However, at May Balls, particularly at the beginning, there’s often a queue at each of the food and drink stalls, so the trick is to find one without a queue.  I spent the ball with HL and his two younger brothers, and we first got a coconut drink thing and a hog roast tortilla, which was rather nice. We spent the majority of the first few hours eating and drinking our way around all the different areas, and we were extremely full towards the end.  Deciding to take a quick break, we elected to go on the ferris wheel and dodgems which was a lot of fun.  After that, HL found a giant chess set, and played a game.

Once the game was over, SL (HL’s immediate younger brother) and I went to tackle Churchill Casino (who were here as well).  This time, we did much better at blackjack, and ended up actually winning the £10,000 on several games of roulette, which was great (so we entered the prize draw).

It’d been so busy up to this point, so at 01:00, we all went to watch some of the comedy.  One of the Footlights was hosting, and two professional comedians (who’d been on television) did their sets and were very entertaining.  Once they’d finished, at around 03:00 or so, we headed over to get some more food (in the form of a kangaroo burger) to the silent disco for an hour or so, before heading out to listen to some more live music in the form of a ceilidh band.

Once that’d finished, at 05:30 or so, it was time for the Survivors’ Photo, and then we all headed back to get some sleep.

Robinson May Ball 2014

As promised, here’s the first of two write ups for the two May Balls I went to this year.

Robinson was pretty good as usual, and was essentially very similar to last year.  The theme was Japan, and there was a lot of good stuff going on.  Lots of my friends didn’t want to go this year (owing to it “always being the same”, which strikes me as a shame really, given that it was their last opportunity to go as undergraduates).  AC came down from London, along with GD.  Having queued from fairly early on, it did not take long to get inside.  Once in, we headed straight for some cava, and then out to the college gardens to grab something to eat and listen to the music.

At 22:45, the traditional fireworks display kicked off on the other side of the lake, and we were very close to the front (allowing an unrestricted view of the display).  Unfortunately, it also decided to rain at this point, but that’s hardly unexpected (this is Britain after all)!

Once the fireworks were over, we headed off to see some of the comedy.  The first duo were alright, but weren’t brilliant.  Indeed, the hecklers were often funnier than the comics.  After this warm up act, the Footlights did their show, which of course was excellent.

Stocking up on a few more drinks, we promptly headed to the casino (run by Churchill College students).  You get given “£500” worth of chips, and have to try to win £10,000 worth, which if you succeed, enters you into a prize draw.  Unfortunately, I’m not very good at blackjack, and the house won (as always).

The remainder of the night was spent having several drinks and chatting with friends, before we all headed back out into the gardens at around 04:00 to eat breakfast and listen to the final act on the main stage – an Abba tribute band.  After that, it was just the matter of the Survivors’ Photo before heading to bed.

Busy Times!

Well, what a lot has happened since I last posted around three weeks ago!  Exams came and went, the viva voce came and went, and results also came and went.  I’m pleased to say that I got a 2.i, so that was an enormous relief.  I opted to wait for the results to be posted publicly on the Senate House boards, rather than check online which was a bit scary, but definitely worth it I think!

It’s currently May Week here, and I’ve been lucky enough to go to two May Balls (Robinson and Jesus).  A great time was had at both, and if I get round to it, I’ll do a write up of each (maybe).

Apart from that, I’ve been relaxing a lot, eating lots of good food (the highlight being some fried wild mushrooms that JW collected), along with the usual post-Cambridge exam Pimm’s and croquet combination. Oh, and visiting the pub, a lot.

Anyway, today’s the Sedgwick Club “May Ball”, so that ought to be a lot of fun.

Looking ahead to next week, known as “Grad Week” (as it’s the week where everyone except the graduands leave Cambridge), I’m off to Wales for a Part III holiday from Sunday to Tuesday.  Then my graduation takes place on Saturday week which is quite a sad moment really, as it means I’ll be finally leaving this amazing place, and will no longer be in statu pupillari.

Corpus Christi May Ball

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.

Another Friday Night

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.


The Beginning of the End

It’s the penultimate day of May Week, and so things are beginning to wind down.  The Sedgwick Club “May Ball” was today, and it was great to see all the geologists one last time before we break up for the summer (or graduate in the case of a few of them), and enjoy a [traditionally rainy British summer] barbecue.  SP and the rest of his steel pan band were playing, and they were great (I particular enjoyed their rendition of Take On Me, which worked really well on the pans). I’ve also managed to get a ticket to Corpus May Ball tomorrow night, which should be enormous fun.  I’m also now going to the summer ball at Imperial on Saturday night, so it’s going to be a knackering weekend (although it’ll also be huge fun clearly).

As I’m moving out on Saturday, packing begins with earnest today. My parents are collecting most of my stuff tomorrow, so I’ll be left with only a few basic things with which to take home (via London).  After I’m home, I’m basically just sorting stuff out for Chile (travel risk forms/health assessment/horse riding lessons/etc.).  I got an email today giving more details about my Atacama placement, and I need a -10 to -15C rated sleeping bag, as it is cold at night.  There will also be strong UV radiation due to the high altitude (2.5-4.5 km).  It’s all very exciting, and is a much cooler “office” than most people get to work in!

Dinner tonight was at a local curry house, as it was JT’s birthday supper, and it was lovely to spend the evening with everyone, especially as most of them are graduating, and so will not be around next year.

Downing May Ball

RS and I went to this one just the two of us, and we had a great time. The doors opened earlier than they did at Robinson, and we got in in slightly less time.  There were some spring roll things being handed out in the queue which was a bonus.  After getting in, we had an explore to get our bearings, and were pleased to see that they layout was pretty good.  Overall, it was much easier to find stuff here than at Robinson, and there was an excellent selection of food and drink.  The fireworks were better (mainly as they weren’t obscured by trees), however, there were a lot of queues for stuff which let the side down a little.  All in all though, it was an excellent night, with a brilliant selection of things to see, do, eat, and drink, and we had a great time!

We Sail the Ocean Blue

Ok, so it wasn’t the ocean, but it was the River Cam.  Today was geological punting day, and so, having stocked up on many provisions (including lots of food, drink, and those cheerful little brollies that you put in your drink), we hired a couple of punts from Scuds.  We spent a cheerful few hours on the Cam, and got to Grantchester Meadows. Essentially it was a fun day with the geologists, as HS is leaving before the Sedgwick Club Party on Thursday to go sailing (which is fair enough, given that she’s probably going to be in the 2016 Olympics). After that, I came home, and had pizza for supper with RS.  All in all, it’s been a fun and relaxing day!

Suicide Sunday

Today is Suicide Sunday, (click link for info), which in essence is a day of celebration for not killing yourself due to the tripos.  I spent the morning asleep, and then had a great afternoon at the Trinity Hall garden party (with MK, AC, GC, JT, et al.), with free food, drinks, and wonderful live jazz.  This evening will involve drinks in my college’s gardens with these friends, with a few boardgames thrown in too!

In other news, I was told at the company induction that the three ways of commuting to work once I am living in the desert is either by 4×4, on foot, or by horse.  As a result, my mother has decided that several riding lessons would be a good idea.  I’ll keep you posted on that front!