Vacation: Busier than Term

Well, goodness it has been busy around here. The day after my last post, the choir sang at Westminster Abbey which was amazing. There was remarkably little flapping about polished shoes and neatly-brushed hair, and we sang some lovely music in a fantastic acoustic.

Originally I was going to meet a friend for a drink after the service, but a series of unexpected events meant that she couldn’t make it, so instead I went with the choir to have a delicious meal. As we headed back to the coach to come home again, half a dozen of us decided to stay in London for a bit, so we jumped back off again and went to the pub. It’s been a long time since I spent a relaxed evening in a pub with friends, and it was a lot of fun. It did mean getting the last train back, which is a long and boring journey through just about every station in East Anglia.

Tuesday was spent doing the dregs of my packing, while Stumo heroically hauled almost everything I owned out to the hired van. Then we hustled to the storage unit to unload it (much, much faster than loading – possibly thanks to the lift and enormous trolley instead of three flights of stairs and our bare hands…). I had to abandon Stumo to finish the job in order to catch my train, as I had miscalculated exactly how long it would take to load a life’s possessions into a transit van, and so I headed off on a six-hour trek up the country carrying six bags and an enormous pink sun hat. It was a surprisingly uneventful journey, apart from when I almost got left in a siding when they uncoupled my carriage at the penultimate station.

The three days at my mum’s house were nice. On Wednesday my mum, my grandfather and I went to Chester Zoo (when I get round to uploading photos I will do a post about this). It was an unexpectedly hot and sunny day, and I got rather pink. On the upside, I saw six giraffes.

Thursday my grandfather went home, mum went back to work and my stepdad went to visit his mother so I flopped around and reorganised some boxes. Somehow I managed to get myself talked into going to a Zumba class in the evening. Let me tell you, Zumba is a workout and a half. I couldn’t see the demonstrator properly so I spent most of the hour just randomly flailing energetically – which is pretty much what some of the regulars were doing anyway.

Friday similarly sped by in a flurry of repacking boxes and suitcases, and I set off back down on the reverse of the train journey with slightly fewer bags. An obnoxiously noisy family of small children frustrated the entire carriage for several hours; otherwise the trip was uneventful.

Arriving at my new room for the fortnight, having been booted out by my college, I happened to bump into KT and instead of the early night I was planning we ended up consuming a bottle of fizzy rosé, some brie and a packet of biscuits. It was a bitter-sweet evening, as it was the last one – the next morning, KT and many more of my friends graduated. I didn’t manage to procure a ticket to the ceremony so I stood outside in the welcome line, took photos, prevented dazed graduates from wandering the wrong way and distributed hugs. The weather decided to keep us on our toes, raining suddenly for several minutes and then bursting into rapturous sunshine. Luckily the sunshine decided to stick around over lunchtime for the graduation garden party, for which the catering department excelled themselves.

After so much excitement, I headed back to my room for a private cry and a nap. It felt odd to be heading out to tutoring as usual that evening, but as usual my student cheered me up. I stayed almost half an hour longer chatting to his mother about my summer plans and her recently-marked Masters degree essays (her tutor’s handwriting is the worst I have ever seen – I still hadn’t managed to decipher all the words by the time I left). It was nice not to have to rush off for something, but also sad because it reminded me that this year is over and there is only one more to go.

This is turning into a remarkably long post, so I will break off here and continue in a later one.

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