Respice Finem

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Punting on The Cam

Life with a toddler is an exhilerating and exhausting rollercoaster of chaos and sticky fingers. We’ve just returned home from a night in Cambridge; it has been nine whole years since I graduated, and there was a special dinner for a retiring Porter. This particular Porter had been known to assist an inebriated me up D&E staircase, akin to what a friend described as Steve Irwin wrestling a crocodile. The least I could do was show up to his leaving meal [sober!]

Freddie was a little star; we went punting on the Cam yesterday lunchtime, and the sun shone. Watching him smile as he marvelled at the other punts, the ducks, the bridges, was just beautiful. I think he will appear on many people’s holiday snaps, as he enjoyed waving to other “punters”. It was one of the most enjoyable afternoons Freddie and I have had together; I felt so unbelievably lucky, to be back in the microcosm of Cambridge, with my little boy. In those moments punting, life was perfect; and I’m sure I will look back on yesterday for many years to come.

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A picnic on the faculty lawn

We had a picnic on the archaeology faculty lawn. The last time I sat on that lawn was on a June afternoon in 2007 waiting for our degree classifications to be pinned to the Senate House. Needless to say yesterdays Pom Bears and cocktail sausages were a whole lot more relaxing. Freddie had an ice cream on Kings Parade, and I bought him a “Cambridge” t shirt from Ryder & Amies.

And then it was back to college, where once ready for dinner, we played in the grounds – Freddie ran with his little “tactor” and revelled in the space and freedom.

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With my mentor/director of studies, Kate Pretty

I hadn’t expected it to be so emotional. I love Homerton dearly; it wasn’t always easy to be there as a student; yet returning yesterday felt in many ways like a home coming. It was wonderful not only to see the people – but the bricks and mortar; the lawns, the same smell in the Buttery, the same pictures hanging in the corridors. I still felt as if I belonged there; and in turn; so did Fred. I didn’t expect to feel so proud – proud of having stuck it out when I might have walked away; proud of this little smiling toddler who slept through his first Cambridge Formal. How amazing, to have experienced life as a Cambridge student. My degree may not be put to its best use; but no one can ever take it away from me. I love the idea of taking Freddie to Cambridge for a weekend each year, introducing him to the museums and libraries; to the bookshops and pubs. I hope he grows to love it as much as I do.

It was such a luxury to eat a three course meal with a sleeping toddler, peaceful in his pram at the end of the table! Intelligent conversation; no mention of nappies or sick, or Ra Ra the Noisy Lion. I could almost feel the rusty cogs of my brain grinding into action! Of course, it was down to earth with a bump when I had to share a single bed with a restless boy who was wide awake at 5.20am. I’m going to hold out for 7pm tonight, but can’t make any promises!

 

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