Yes, dear Reader. I know it is the New Year. But it is still the Old Me.*
Little has changed at the University in my absence. My oak-lined rooms inspire deep sleep thought as ever. The patio bricks remain unturned. In the increasingly crowded memorial garden next to the Vice-Chancellor’s parking space stand two new benches, for poor Obadiah and Jack Lumber. A mere crossbow’s bolt away stands the Humanities Beacon, its Research Excellence weathersock drooping at half-mast.*
How lovely it is to be back, dear Reader, refreshed by the cut and thrust of family life.
I sigh in contentment as I flick to the last page of yet another essay and scrawl ‘your essay would be greatly improved if you started with your conclusion’ across the bottom of one, and ‘NO! NO! NO!’ across the first page of another.
But I do not enjoy this peace for long, dear Reader.
An imperious little ping interrupts me.
It is an email from the Dean announcing the annual ‘Away Day’.
It seems we are to gather at the Lake, where we will select from a range of outdoor activities (boating, ballooning, archery, and cupcake-making).
This year the theme will be ‘Keeping Your Head in a Crisis’.
Alas, dear Reader, it seems there is no rest for the wicked.
*Ada perfectus est.
** Apparently Rosemary from the Vice-Chancellor’s office sneezed when about to press the ‘submit all’ button to REF Central, sending an unfortunate ‘Log Off’ message to the heads of HEFCE, the Research Councils, UUK, and no. 10 Downing Street, at the same time as she deleted the University’s entire REF return by leaning on the keyboard while looking for a hanky. Rosemary has now been moved to Admissions.