Sunday, November 25, 2012
The day began with rather a whimper than anything more likely to perturb the ether. This was mostly because I had slept badly, nodding off near 3am but having to be up shortly after 7 for the hellish journey into work.
The train is awful. We are crammed so close that miscellaneous sexual offences are probably being inadvertently committed. Several can go past before I have garnered enough gumption to heave myself into the indifferent mass and shuffle towards Islington and my first of many coffees of the day.
Yesterday had a twist to the routine, it being the annual conference of the Howard League’s Student societies. Universities across the nation are home to societies which subscribe to the HL aims and carry on excellent work. London, a good lunch and some expert advice from HQ followed. And so I hove towards Oxford Circus for this shindig, feeling rather apprehensive.
Not being the most social of animals – an ingrained trait rather than a new artefact of freedom – the idea of mingling with a youthful horde scared the bejesus out of me. My role was to lurk looking interesting, to be touted around the various universities like an ancient verbose tart. The idea is for me to do a talking tour around the student groups, mixing my experience with the Howard League message. Note to the interested – will go anywhere for travelling costs and preferably a drink on top!
The day was spilt into various panels, discussions and workshops, each briefly disturbed by my creeping through the doors part way through. Coffee breaks were instituted at strategic intervals, which is how I found myself in a group comprising (ex governor) John Podmore, Prof David Wilson and Katherine Grainger, Olympic Gold Medallist.
That doesn’t explain how Katherine and I ended up in the café with her recording an interview with me. And you read that the right way around – I was being interviewed by an Olympic champion. Crazy days….