This week my seventeen-year old grandson called me and asked if I was free the next day. Cautiously, I admitted I was. 'Well, it's the Cambridge University Open Day and I wondered if you would go round with me. I only have a 'partial ticket' which allows me a little access but one person can go with me." 'What are you hoping to study?' said I. Past conversations with him have ranged over a wide number of options! 'Geography', he replied. 'Really, that's exactly what I studied' I told him, though I think he already knew that.
Arriving by train we raced down to the Geography Department building. Holding his partial ticket expecting some rebuffs, instead we were able to plunge into full engagement with tutors, students, lectures. Told to visit some of the colleges where geographers cluster we visited St. Catherine's, Emmanuel, and Downing before dashing into our former church's restaurant for a 15 minute snack.
This led to an unexpected detour which I shall mention next. But staying with geography for a minute I found myself wallowing in memories of 1964-67 when I read geography in the same place, same lecture theatre (exactly the same!), same library etc. We went up to the library where the librarian greeted us warmly. Hearing that I was an old boy he found the volume containing the final examination papers for 1967. 'This is what you took', he said. My final year was devoted to geomorphology. As I looked at these papers, the font, the questions, the smell (it seemed!) I just escaped falling into a trance! It was surreal. This was my life! And here, standing beside me, was my grandson possibly coming to the same place.
Doesn't life have surprises for us? This was a good one! I hope you don't mind me sharing it with you?
Saturday, July 6, 2019
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