…and breathe.

Phew! Relax, that’s the end of the first term.

What a rollercoaster ride it has been. Never again will I complain at the start of term when things seem to going quite slowly for the first couple of weeks; we finished the term with two major pieces of coursework to be submitted, an intensive week-long module on entrepreneurship (very interesting, by the way – I may come back to that in a future blog…), an exam and a presentation. All in the final seven days. Wow.

There was a palpable sense of relief at the end of term party. This was in two stages: firstly the more formal part, in the student room, where several recent alumni had been invited to join us for a networking event, and where the other main pass-time was changing the selection of the Christmas music playlist and the video of Christmas trees or yuletide logs ablaze on winter fires. Thereafter we retired to a student flat for the real party, where hair was let down and the tension flowed away faster than the Thames on a spring ebb tide. Who knows what happens in student parties these days? Not me – I confess that anything could have happened and I’d be none-the-wiser, as I was the first grandfather to quit this more important event, the after-party, leaving it to the youngsters as I headed home to my bed and a long lie-in the next morning.

So, how was it for me? The first term after 35 years? Fun. Interesting. Largely enjoyable, and rather busy. I’ve certainly learned quite a bit, and I found it very interesting how much stuff I had studied decades ago came flooding back (OK – dribbling back in fits and starts). My early fears that my brain would have atrophied irretrievably or that I’d be left well-behind by the youngsters do not seem to have materialised, at least not yet. I’ve got my research topic and supervisors selected and a reasonable idea of how to start with the framing of the research question. The next step is a literature review next term. Now it’s time for a short break skiing in the alps, a family Christmas, New Year on the Thames, and some rest before next term.

And London has not disappointed. It’s as loud and busy and dirty and vibrant and exciting as I expected. The streets may not be paved with gold, as Dick Whittington himself found, but there are galleries and museums wherever you look. So far I’ve had trips to the Natural History and V&A museums, Tate Britain and the National Gallery. Not to forget an evening reception at the Palace of Westminster to keep abreast of the energy storage world. Plus the old City Hall, whose debating chamber is now converted into a theatre. So much history and culture in one place – and I still have a long London bucket list of things to do and see.

For now though I think I’m all set. But wait. Isn’t there something else? Oh yes, there’s also a little revision required before the exams in the first week of next term. Ah well, you can’t have everything. Back to the books, I suppose.

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