curmudgeonly chapter 29

Today I was in the centre of Cambridge and clearly October Term is about to begin. In particular I noticed a slew of mums accompanying their young hopefuls to settle in for their first term in this Great Seat Of Learning!

Choosing a bike in the market square, stocking up food in Marks & Spencer, standing outside by the car while the little darling unloads his or her belongings into their new digs….mums at work!

I never went to university, but I went to boarding school. At the age of 12 I was wrapped up, kissed goodbye and put on a train some distance from my destination. That’s how it was. No doting mum making sure I was delivered safely and all my comforts catered for. She had a job to go to.

She didn’t seem worried about what they might feed me. School food was a step or two up from prison rations I expect, but some way short of cordon bleu, and certainly nothing like mama’s home cooking.

For 4 years I was locked up with a flock of Dominican monks, one matron, and about 100 teenage boys for up to 3 months at a time. Not a live girl for miles….

We moved to Cambridge as a family when I was 17. At that time the ratio of men to women was reputedly 8:1. Most of the colleges were boys only. There were a mere 3 girls only colleges. Even the town, outside the university was apparently a bit boy heavy.

I was fresh out of boarding school, back living with my mum(!), and I had hardly spoken with a girl for years. We had to work hard to find girls even to look at, let alone those prepared to talk to us. So we worked hard.

Today I believe all the colleges are co-ed. I marvelled at the throngs of lovely young things swanning around their new playground. Mums delivering you, your Nintendos, bags of groceries, iPad, jim jams, and such and making sure you’re going to be comfortable, and have decent wifi. You guys have got it made!

not like back in my day….

we never really go away

some of us are not around at the moment…in a certain way they have gone and are never coming back…the transformation that took place at their parting is such that our recognition of them is on mute until we join them…and then our understanding won’t be the point..