Dear Reader,

You find me on the top floor of the Humanities Lighthouse, gathered together with my staff, ready to conduct the end-of-year Runeology Exam Board.

Dr X, Professor Y and Professor Z approach, wearing the external examiner’s traditional garb of supercilious air and Panama hat.

‘Do take a seat in my new suite of luxury office chairs’, I say. ‘There is such a marvelous view of Taizhou from here’.

While they gaze out around them at the marigold plantations far below, I read out this year’s degree results:

  • Ai-Ling (Level 2, Creative Writing and Runeology) – 2.2
  • Ji (Level 3 Cycling and Runeology) – 2.2
  • Mary-Beth (JYA, Level 4, Philosophy and Runeology) – 2.2
  • Mo-Mo (JYA, Level 3, Fluid Mechanics and Runeology) – 2.2
  • Salty Bob the Sailor (Mature student, auditing Runeology) (Staff). PhD passed on the nod
  • Shiny the Devil Cat (de-registered)* – 1st with distinction in spoken Mandarin
  • May-ling (Level 2, Poetry and Runeology) – 2.2. Dean’s commendation for her ‘Ode to a Turnip’


Dr X notes that in her institution at least one of these papers would be re-marked because of grade inflation.

Professor Y wipes away a tear as she notes that dear Mary-Beth’s dissertation on the Lost Derridean (R)une was publishable, and that she believed her to be, objectively speaking, the single most outstanding student she had ever had the pleasure of examining.

Professor Z bangs his shoe on the desk and says that in his institution externals would be accommodated in the Presidential Suite of the local luxury hotel, and not in the Happy Burger Happy Taizhou Campsite.

I listen. They pause.

‘In my institution’, I say, ‘we do this’.

This time the Trébuchet range does not let me down.

I must write to John Lewis to congratulate them on the pleasing domino effect of three externals leaving the Humanities Lighthouse so swiftly.

It is as well that Runeology is a dying subject, dear Reader.


* Before you ask, Darren has been sent to the Crypt to investigate Shiny’s whereabouts.



2 thoughts on “A Dying Subject

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