Category Archives: University

Billions Of Twins

One of my first male friends shared my birthday, when we were about six; then there was Alex at school who also did (and does still). We had a sort-of joint thing once, by which I mean that I went to her birthday thing and some people gave me presents too and then I didn’t have to do any organising myself. Good work. And then we went to college and met not one, not two, but three people who also shared our birthday. And now I am living, next year, with a guy who also shares that birthday but is, I believe, a year younger than me. So happy birthday to all those concerned!

As you can imagine, if you’re about my age and have facebook, my wall is filled with congratulations on my birthday. Some of those are from people I haven’t spoken to in ages and people I never knew that well in the first place and I wonder if that’s just some kind of reflex reaction – see birthday notifications, send good wishes. I’m sure, however, that it’s all very well-meant. Some of those people I’ve not spoken to in ages are people I’m very glad to have heard from and I would probably do the same, even if the messages themselves are a bit generic, how many different things can you say about a birthday? Happy birthday, have a lovely day, have a good one, have one on me, have you got anything good planned for tonight, then? Then there’s the more old-fashioned Many Happy Returns, and then one friend (who I really haven’t seen in a long while and would really like to, when I’m a bit less busy in a few days, definitely, plan) who has reminded me that I am now old enough to adopt a child and hire a car in a foreign country, possibly even at the same time. Excellent.

Other people, whose congratulations are equally as bland, are indeed very good friends. So thank you to those too. And other people have used my birthday as an excuse to get back in touch and start talking about meeting up, to which, yes, if you’re reading this, absolutely.

So although I was tempted to get all curmudgeonly and bitch about how on your birthday, on facebook, millions of people you barely remember, and don’t mind forgetting, decide to get in touch to say something mindlessly dull about a day that really doesn’t matter that much to me. But actually, most of those greetings have put a smile on my face. I’ve been reminded of friends who are currently in wholly the wrong country, people who have been away or busy, or I’ve been away or busy, and however much we mean to meet up, catch up, it keeps not happening but that doesn’t mean that the thought’s not there.

So what I’m really saying is that, where it’s truly meant well, as an expression of friendship cherished and or memories well-loved, thank you. Really, I do mean that, despite the next paragraph.

I’m not into mindless giving of birthday wishes and this is where I think facebook is a bit weird, this obsessive collecting of ‘friends’, and there are plenty of people I’d not have on my friends list but deleting them is so final, if they found out it would be a rather complicated social slight and basically I can’t be bothered with making waves and upsetting people just because I really don’t remember or care about the last time we spoke but you might. Yes. Curmudgeonly, I told you. And, well, deleting people, even with Dom’s helpful list, is still a bit tedious.

Another thought I’ve just had is this: it’s kind of surprising how quickly one year or two have gone by and suddenly you think, when was the last time I saw X? And then you do, you have lunch, and it’s like you were never away. Or it’s awkward as arse. After all, this ain’t When Harry Met Sally.



Filed under Friendship, Internet, Life, Society, University

Hypochondria BSc

This is the thing with my degree, see. You study, in massive detail, all the things that can possibly go wrong with the human body.

It’s not the pathogens that bother me, I’m not worried – as yet I’ve never caught anything too serious (apart from a bout of food poisoning this year related to, well, the state of our kitchen *grumble*). I’ve got a pretty tough immune system by and large, and anyway, there’s not much in terms of random illnesses you can contract in the UK. Nothing as bad as the Ebola virus, or E.Coli, or whatever.

I worry a bit about cancer – one in three of us will get it, after all, but equally the chances of an individual cell in your body turning cancerous are miniscule, and there’s nothing I can do about that.

There’s also nothing I can do about the bit that does bother me: genetics. Except, kind of, there is. Because I won’t know until it happens that I’ve got cancer, or diptheria, or tetanus. There is nothing I can do to prevent those things from happening except do my bit to prevent those things happening like take a reasonable amount of exercise, not smoke, and read the Daily Mail obsessively, of course. But it’s not me that I’m worried about in terms of genetics – it’s what am I going to pass on that I don’t know about yet? What currently silent heterozygote mistake do I carry – one gene fine, the other containing a terrible deletion or insertion or repeat, which, when I was put together, could be safely ignored because the other gene for whatever-it-is was fine, and won out? What if I just happen to fall in love with someone who also happens to have that error, and there it is? I want someone to sequence my whole genome and just tell me the worst, tell me that I carry genes which will give this child short sight and loose tendons (duh) and probably a mild scoliosis and/or spina bifida (but not the really bad kind) – all that I know I definitely or probably carry on my genome and that’s fine, that’s not caused any big problems for anyone in my family. It’s also possible, but quite a slim chance, that I carry something else which has had terrible consequences within my family; and this frightens me in the dead of night sometimes or when I’m not expecting it to frighten me, and it’s difficult to remember that it’s a very rare thing to carry and I will hopefully not have the bad luck to ever have children with a fellow carrier. And then there’s all the things I don’t carry as such but who knows what will happen, what instability and fragility there is in my genetic code, which, completely unpredictably, will cause all kinds of problems for a child of mine?

And yes, I say I’m not worried about the illnesses I may or may not have, but honestly, I’m terrible, I’ve had headaches and started to worry about tumours; there’s an odd lump on my elbow I keep meaning to get checked out and it’s almost certainly nothing but I’m sure it’s grown; I spent a good proportion of the last year wondering – academically – if I had MS, although why is, well, a story for another time. Let’s not go there…! I wasn’t actually frightened about it, more just drawing parallels and spotting symptoms and adding things up and it came to a fairly reasonable ‘what if’ which concerned rather than frightened me, but I don’t want to go to the doctor’s about it because it’s just too much like hard work to schedule an appointment and register at a surgery (that’s right, I’m not currently registered anywhere. Well, no, I am at Uni Town, but… well, that’s a rant for another day. The UHS is the Fort Knox of bureaucracy). And then you start spotting random symptoms which are almost certainly just nothing but could be Something Fairly Serious… if combined with a whole bunch of symptoms you don’t have. I know too much not to think about it all; and not enough to know for certain that I’m being seriously daft.

And then I think about the level of hypochondria in intelligent friends who do completely unconnected degrees – English, Engineering, Maths, Philosophy, Chemistry – and I realise that actually, I could be so much more concerned about so many more illnesses. I must have some reasonable level of knowledge after all. And at least I don’t know enough about helicopters to convince myself that they’re suddenly going to remember that according to Physics they have no good reason to stay in the air, and just land on my head.


Filed under Friendship, Happenings, Life, Relationships, Sex, Society, Thoughts, Uncategorized, University


Tomorrow (this morning as you read, I expect) I’m starting my main summer placement, straight away followed in the evening by my first shift at our local pub. It’s going to be a long and tiring day, logistically demanding, and I will probably be catnapping on the train. I am excited. I will tell you more when I’m wearing my glasses and not actually already in bed with the pillow looking all plump and enticing.

Oh, yeah, and I’m cycling. Please no-one run a book on how many of my own rules I break in the first day?!

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Filed under Beginnings, Happenings, Life, Society, University, Work


I don’t really understand how anyone can shop there. Or ASDA, or Tesco, or wherever else, for their clothes. I’m sorry, I just don’t get it. You know they’re made in a sweatshop by blind five-year-olds with missing fingers doing a million-hour day for a pittance (I admit I may be exaggerating slightly). You all know it.

I’m not brilliant. I still buy clothes from M&S (which is, ethically, very nearly as bad as Primark etc) and H&M and so on. I do try where possible to buy things second-hand, but I will admit, I like shopping, I like new clothes, and if you’re looking for a well-fitting pair of jeans in the right shade of blue or whatever you’re more likely to find them on the highstreet than you are in your local vintage store, and until I’m a lot richer, I really can’t afford to buy basicsy highstreety stuff on a regular basis from fairtrade stores such as Ascension, much as I would love to do so. And yes, the other day, I did buy some socks from Primark. It was an emergency and I do feel guilty.

And as a Christian, where our faith is all about loving the Lord our God, and loving thy neighbour as much as thyself… how can you possibly treat your fellow man, by proxy, so badly? How can you call yourself a good Christian while you boast on your facebook profile about the suit you bought for some completely unbelievable sum from ‘Primarni’? While you actually boast about the cheapness of your clothes? Now, I’m all about good value. I’m not that kind of a snob, I’m not going to look down on you because you bought a cheap suit, but you have to look at those prices, think about the price of cloth and so on and think, hang on, surely getting a suit for under £50, shirt, shoes, tie and all, should be technically impossible? What’s going on here? Where is the money being cut from?’. You surely have to be suspicious of something that costs so little – you must realise that someone’s paying for that, and that someone is probably the poor woman who sewed the buttons on and doesn’t get paid or won’t be given work tomorrow if she doesn’t manage to make 20 suits in an hour or something.

It should be no more shocking that my Christian friends boast about Primarni than that my non-Christian friends do. I have always argued that atheists are as nice and have as much of a developed conscience as Christians – why would I argue otherwise? But somehow, when these days seemingly every church has a fair trade stall and a link to all kinds of fairtrade this, that and the other, when you’re looking at upstanding pillar-of-the-student-church-community types, it still brings me up short.

I want to interfere, but I don’t know that I know this guy well enough. Personally if I was interviewing a student for a job, I wouldn’t necessarily even expect them to own a suit. If I was employing a student, I would understand if they wore their old school trousers etc until their first pay packet. It’s not impossible. And for crying out loud I know full well that the Oxfam where I work has a lot of suits in at the minute. Honestly.


Filed under Fashion, Religion, Society, Thoughts, University, World

Geeks & Nerds

So XKCD’s current strip is on the difference between Geeks and Nerds. According to XKCD you’re a geek if you’re specifically into something – so you can be a music geek, a baseball geek, a maths geek, etc.; nerds are ‘(often awkward) science, math or computer geeks’.

I don’t agree. I think you’re a nerd if your interest in one specific thing (preferably something nerdy, but then everything at an obsessive level is nerdy, perhaps?) is verging on the all-consuming; you’re a geek if, well, it’s hard to explain, but I think it’s about being intelligent and interested in a number of things to a level which surpasses decent small-talk with your grandmother – you know, she’d never understand whatever you told her about your degree or your new computer or the films you like watching. Your degree subject only counts if you talk about it a lot when you’re not talking about actual work you’re doing or have to get done. So A is a geek because he’s always telling me to read this or read that or about some philosophical thing he’s studying and he’s obviously mainly interested in those things; my housemates, two of whom study politics, never talk about that when they’re not ‘on the job’ and only talk about drunken gossip and so on.

Perhaps it’s about being comfortable with your intelligence and intellectual curiosity and thinking that getting engaged with something interesting and out of the ordinary and not just about what’s for tea or who’s sleeping with whom* is an acceptable way of having a conversation. I think it is. But then, I’m a geek.

What do you think? Also, are you automatically a geek if you keep a blog?

*Not that these things aren’t fascinating. I love gossip, clothes, scandal, stupid humour and what’s-in-the-fridge as much as the next person. But then, you knew that.


Filed under Blogging, Books, Happenings, Internet, Life, Relationships, Society, Thoughts, University

I Just Found My Favourite Rant In The 'Notes' Bit Of My Phone

In unedited form:

The newspaper tells me that 50% of Westminster pupils go on to Oxbridge, 40% of Etonians ditto. Cannot possibly say this is because they are intelligent, it’s also partly intensive coaching and better teaching, and surely it’s also partly because we tend to have a higher opinion of people with whom we can identify so of course they make a better impression at interview and…so it goes on. And I want to rant and get angry about this and swear that my kids are sodding well going to state school Just Because but actually, no. If they want that kind of education and they can get the bloody scholarship (or in the bizarre case that I can actually pay) they’re going to public school and taking every advantage they can get because sadly this is just how the world works and you can stand up and rail against it and end up twisted and bitter because being clever and ‘in the right’ gets you nowhere, or you can do your bloody utmost to run with the system if it’s going to get you to where you want to go. My mother looks at boarding-school-educated friends of my sister and me and thinks they’ve all been, to use a phrase that shouldn’t perhaps be interpreted so strongly in this case, psychologically damaged by the experience. But arguably, are C and I any better off after the years we had in school?

Thus ends the note. I’m not sure there’s much more that needs to be said. I think it’s terrible that a frankly disproportionate number of students at Oxbridge are privately educated, I think it’s terrible that a higher proportion of school leavers from public school make it into Oxbridge than the proportion of school leavers from a given state school or sixth form, I think it’s terrible that we’re still playing a postcode lottery so that my chances in leafy Home Counties southlands of going to a decent university were higher than they would have been had I come from Inner City Somewhere School. I am happy to accept that the average intelligence of pupils at any given private school is likely to be a little higher than at the local comprehensive but not so markedly that the percentage of those who go on to get into Oxbridge is several orders of magnitude greater. I do not understand how fifty percent of pupils at Oxbridge originate from fee-paying schools. And yet again this isn’t about Oxbridge, it’s just a useful marker because lots of statistics exist and are publicly available on this particular marker of educational success. (Such as my Eton/Westminster statistic, which got me so riled up).

What I’m really saying is, how is the state education system failing its pupils so badly? How is it that someone like me, who is as staunch a believer in public services as can be, who is otherwise so old-school left wing, is seriously worried about the hypothetical education of her hypothetical children? The rest of our public services are wonderful. The NHS may be slow and clunky and need a lot of improvement but I think what it tries to do, and does, quite successfully, is utterly visionary. If I had anything wrong with me, I would go straight to them. But as far as I’m concerned our country is failing to educate our children at all adequately. I sat in the back in French and German classes teaching myself becuase the classes moved so incredibly slowly. I was in express science otherwise I would have gone mad. I still can’t play any sport to a standard that isn’t purely laughable. Geography, History, Music – all, effectively, self-taught. Maths – I had a tutor, and I damn well got that A*. English, well, there’s an exception. My teacher was an utter hero. My sixth form was so big that when I stopped working at all, no-one noticed, no-one really realised how much I was letting myself down, and I scraped  by on doing my coursework assignments on all-nighters and somehow managed to blag my exams. Finally the Chemistry and Biology A Levels I got were actually largely self taught, in the end.

Who knows if I would have done better somewhere else. In all fairness I sabotaged myself for at least part of the time. And I won’t deny that along the line I did have some very good and wonderful and caring teachers, but I think that we were all, collectively, let down by the system. They couldn’t teach the way they wanted to teach, and we couldn’t learn.

And I’m not saying, oh, woe is me, because as it’s turned out I’m at the best university for my course and I am finally kind of doing myself justice on that score and I love where I am and oh look work experience *squeal*, so it’s not me that’s been let down. But it’s people I know and it’s people I never will know and it’s people who never will realise how much they might have got out of a degree they never even considered doing because no-one took the time to realise how bright they were.

It’s the fact that there are schools who are able to take average-to-bright kids, and, a few years later, send half of them on to Oxbridge and the rest on to a whole assortment of redbricks, whilst putting the same intake through a school down the road with less money and a strict curriculum and a whole host of bizarre targets and restrictions and tagging them with a slightly different label means that that same intake would be lucky to get 50% into universities in general, not just a specific two. It’s the injustice. If I’m born in this house someone pays for my schooling and I end up running hte country. If I’m born in the house down the line my parents believe (as well they should) that education should be a public service and all the local intelligent kids should go to the local comp in a sort of cohort and by and large that works, we all end up at university, somewhere. If I’m born in Darfur it’s a miracle if I get clean water. So I should quit complaining. It just doesn’t make sense.

Oh, and is anyone not in some way negatively affected psychologically by where they go to school?


Filed under Happenings, Life, Relationships, Society, University, World

As Much As I Can Say

My work experience.

Basically I’m going to join a team of researchers researching An Interesting Thing. This will mean that I get to learn techniques such as western blotting, PCR, and messing about with DNA plasmids and bacteria. All of those things are techniques which, though we learn the theory behind them in the course of my degree, I wouldn’t normally expect to be allowed to carry out or learn until I was doing a PhD. The reason I am to be allowed to do this is basically to do with the vagaries of scientific funding meaning that there isn’t a lot of money to be had for the project yet, and so while my employer can’t then employ a postgrad to get involved, he can recieve an email from someone like me who will do anything to get inside a lab this summer, and decide to get me to do all this incredibly interesting cool high-level stuff (some of the techniques I’m learning are as new to him as they are to me…!) but on an unpaid basis. Which is good – everyone wins. I want experience and can’t possibly expect payment given how new to the game I am, an extra pair of hands is useful to him but he cannot pay me. Fair enough, I think *grins*. Don’t expect to see my name on a paper any time soon, though. It’s very early days. And I’m definitely going to need a bike.

I don’t want to say much more because then you start getting into problems about intellectual property rights and so on. You never know who’s listening.


Filed under Beginnings, Happenings, Life, University, Work, World

I'm Going To Be Away All Weekend Again So…

…have some of the Notes I found on my phone.




(I love him but he can’t spell).


I wonder what of the music being made now will stand the test of time:? I have a theory that by and large the music that hits the charts now from less popular genres has broken through that particular barrier so maybe they will last?

(As you might have guessed the time stamp on this one is definitively the wee hours).


I have actually developed a minor crush on that last guy becuase he takes photos of his pets and flowers :S !

Renegade Brass Band.

(talking to H at photosoc one night. Well, writing her a note, anyway).


Some kind of emotional dive bar I crank out the same feelings like cheap spirits or piss-weak beer in seedy profligacy. Discounts and doubling up so you get twice as much cliche for your cash and could drown your wretched face in the brine spilling from my eyes.

I imagine my heart skittering across a tiled marble floor – black and white, Italian, leaving a trail of shining scarlet blood, gappy, clotted, lumps and gouts and thin translucent trails between, and the toe of your shoe as you walk away, red on brown leather, pointed, shining.

(Jenny goes all emo ‘n’ ting).


‘Course you’re not, you’re not scared of anything. Box falls out of the sky, man falls out of box, man eats fish custard!’

(The first episode of the latest series of Doctor Who. As if you didn’t know).


“…and every time we did it, it was destroying me inside…”. X’s testimony. Sex. Guilt. Oh, help.


Stressed is Desserts spelled backwards.


Random Man At Bus Stop: What he’s looking at is the most beautiful thing he has ever seen, yet he can’t quite believe it and however much he loves it it hurts his eyes as it – she? – and now (if I ever wasn’t) I am extrapolating wildly, from my mute seat here in this bus in the slowly waking springtime heart of the city – walks towards him. The end. The beginning. Chapter One.

(Please tell me I’m not the only one that makes up stories about the people I see waiting for buses/on trains/on other journeys?)


You are the person that I love most that I’ve ever met. Shofolk sandals, £125.

(No, I don’t know either. I think one’s a quote from what is quite unreasonably one of my favourite books, and one is, well, shoes).

The rest of my notes are excruciatingly dull, the end.

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I Feel Like I Ought To Write A Post About Politics

But. Well. There’s not much to say, is there? It terrifies me that as members of the electorate go, I know I am more than averagely well-informed about the various parties, what they say they’ll do, what that means, and what they’d probably really do if they got into office. I am less biased than plenty, I’ve been brought up quite left-wing and yet in some ways I still am pretty left-wing and in other ways I am far less so than I used to be and I have thought about these things.

Before this starts to sound horribly arrogant, my so-called well-informed-ness (although who would call it that? Sloppy, sloppy writing, Jenny) is nothing like. I am well aware that I know nothing. My opinions are froth, what’s in the news and what’s promised and what each party and each politician says seems to shift and swirl like eddies of sand in a river, day by day, hour by hour. I do not feel like I know anything like enough to really be allowed to vote, and yet vote I shall. I know there are plenty of people in my acquaintance who are far more aware of what is going on than I am, but the frightening thing is that although I am ignorant I think that most people around are far more ignorant even than I am about the whole thing. My friend A, who again is one of those who professes his ignorance but has a better idea of what’s going on than I do, says that perhaps there ought to be some kind of test for voters, perhaps a multiple choice quiz – match the manifesto promise to the correct party, ten questions, go; and if you pass your vote is counted and if you don’t get the majority of the answers right your vote doesn’t count. Not a hard test, not an intelligence test, just testing whether you’re informed enough on a basic level to know what parties and what policies you’re voting for and against. Sounds mad, perhaps, but in many ways I think it would be a good idea.

I mean, is it really democracy when people are voting based on gut instinct, what they’ve always believed, or the fact that Gordon Brown’s public smile is really creepy or that ‘Dave’ Cameron went to Eton? How are those things really relevant? My smile in photos tends to the really odd and you know that tells you nothing about how good I might or might not be as leader of this country.

And worse still, this election seems to me not to be about choosing what is best for our country, but what is least bad, perhaps. Which seems to me to be no choice at all.

So, in a general election which is more crucial and less certain of its outcome than any we’ve seen for ages, we’re faced with a choice of politicians we don’t feel we can trust, a hell of a lot of unknowns, and the fact that most of us don’t really know what we’re actually voting for.


Filed under Happenings, Life, Society, Thoughts, University, World

You Know You're A Folkie When…

Actually I never intended to complete that sentence straight away. I will tell you what it is that tells me, though, because it was a disproportionately proud moment for me.

On the Saturday night ceilidh I was standing in the middle of a set of three couples, the caller was half way through walking us through the dance, we’d already lost our fourth couple because they’d missed some instructions, as we all had, so our set was stood like lemons whilst the rest of the room walked through what had so far been said, and everyone (bar us) was halfway through stripping the willow (oh, Youtube it, can’t you?), having already done some steps previous to that, and I suddenly realised, based on what the caller said next and some half-forgotten half memory (yeah, thanks IVFDF for providing such useful quantities of decent real ale…) what we were meant to have done before stripping the willow. Which meant I was miles ahead of my group because they none of them knew even how to strip the willow and therefore left me in a fairly typical role for your average folkie: marching up to the gentleman of the top couple, giving him some fairly determined instructions, and then manoevring him and his partner into position, pushing everyone around the set, shouting lefts and rights and things all over the place, and basically teaching a whole group of people the whole dance from scratch. And it worked! All the way through. I also taught a group of people to ‘basket’, and attempted to teach James to polka but not very successfully because it’s really hard to explain and far easier to just lead, but doesn’t make a lot of sense in a room full of people who are careering all over the place in a sort of ale-fueled Brownian Motion, so we spent more time crashing into people who were going the ‘wrong’ way than we did polkaing. Anyway, that was a great moment in my life.

Some other folk-based great moments from this weekend were, for starters, long nights and mornings chatting to E, talking about everything under the sun, especially memories of folk festivals from long before my time, fifty years of tradition new and old, dancing, and the joys of being a teenager before it all got sodding complicated and it was OK to get off with just about everyone, but mainly in the context of festivals. It was really nice to get to know her better – last time we met we didnt get the chance to talk so much or get so close and I am so glad from that point of view to have had this weekend to do so.

On a different tack entirely the concert was beautiful. In the Methodist church, as slowly the sun set behind the stained glass windows (no need to explain how beautiful that was), and we sat in the encroaching gloom, we listened to Fidola and their haunting mix of Scandinavian and English folk traditions, their beautiful voices, and that instrument, played a bit like a guitar but surely with more and lower strings and shaped more like, well, a lute or something? I dont know. Beautiful, anyway.

The Young ‘Uns – a group of three young northern men singing in very tight, neat and beautiful harmony, with wit and obvious joy, a whole assortment of northern English folk songs, Irish songs, and so on, with a good dose of banter and a surprising lack of nerves for a group who had never done a ‘proper concert where people have to actually listen to us’ before. And finally, Eliza Carthy and Aidan Curran (E and I speculate, given the knowledge we have and the cues we picked up on, that they’re together, but we could be wrong). Firstly Eliza Carthy sang some solo stuff, accompanying herself on her viola. Her voice is beautiful, warm, rich, husky, lyrical, cracked and real. Yes, it really needs seven adjectives. Shut up. Then he came onstage and joined her with his guitar and his Canadian tenor, bizarrely complementary despite being a weaker voice, or so it seemed. They ranged through styles and moods and eras and places and I was entirely caught up. It was amazing to see the way they worked so completely together, musically. Brilliant musicianship and a lot of mutual respect. Oh lord I’m blathering.

Anyway, I was impressed. And then there were chips and there was that ceilidh I’ve already told you about, new friends and old, lots of ale I’d not come across before from small northern breweries that don’t appear to have yet reached the radar of Sheffield let alone the South (though the sooner the better in my opinion). Thankfully I danced most of it off and went home on Saturday night considerably less drunk than I had been on the Friday night, when I’d started before dinner on the G&Ts (sorry to drink all your gin, Martin, when I know you’ve given up alcohol for Lent *genuinely guilty look*, but it was nice) and we’d spent a lot less time at the ceilidh compared to the number of pints I got through. Friday’s ceilidh was a disco ceilidh – ceilidh dancing to disco music – great fun but not something I’d necessarily choose to do again, it was a bit surreal. But a great ice-breaker, if you will. The dances were a lot easier than the ones the following day though, by and large. And it did mean that you could throw shapes whilst standing on the sidelines, depending on how much you wanted to embarrass yourself/attract due-and-possibly-undue attention…! No comment.

I missed most of the workshops except one which I attended with Lucy and J, and no, I never did have the guts to take my violin to any of the workshops. But I listened, and learnt, and next year, well. First I have to actually go to a session here in Uni Town. Sadly they clash with my Bible group so I’ll have to… alternate? To make up for it I spent a long time in PJ Music being taught all kinds of things and sold exactly what I went in to buy. And anyway, Martin got my violin out and had a go (“where can I get one?”) and so it wasn’t entirely wasted. Everyone needs a violin. And I also got an IVFDF 2010 t-shirt, of course. It was one of those weekends where no-one ever remembers to actually get their cameras out, because there’s too much going on, too much to do, everyone knows what Durham looks like anyway and we’re all having too much fun to take pictures. It’s a funny rule that – by no means hard and fast, but the better a night I’m having, oftentimes, the less likely I am to record it on camera. I do wish I had now, as I knew I would, but, well, I didn’t. So I got the t-shirt just to somehow prove that yes, I was there. And yes, bring on Bristol 2010, I hope!

Of course I never did manage to wear all of my dresses. I did, however, wear all of my shoes. Most of which now need mending more than ever. Sigh. Anyway. I’m scheduling this to go up at a reasonable hour; this definitely doesn’t count as a reasonable hour and I should be in bed, Lark Rise finished a while ago.

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