Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Retirement stage two

Last night it was my turn for a retirement do, combined with the end-of-year staff social. Not that I retire officially until my milestone birthday in the autumn. And I'm at work again this morning! But the academic world doesn't quite know what to do with people who leave in October. More fish than fowl, and a potential red herring. So the boss said to go in July. With Erin Mae awaiting a first proper cruise, no one's complaining. Colleagues past and present turned up for a meal at Sopley Mill. It was a splendid way of officially winding down.

Equally splendid was what they gave me as a parting gift. There was a Garmin Dakota 20 with an entire UK map. I'd followed up on Bruce's GPS musings, and researched this one carefully, so we knew it was on the cards. Great for tracking our adventure, walking off-piste, going geocaching with the Norwegian kids. But there was an extra, unexpected present, unpretentiously encased in one of those boxes that normally holds several reams of photocopier paper. Neatly decorated with a ribbon for the occasion, it was the oldest Mac owned by the college, finally being retired. An Apple Cube, still going strong after ten years. The machine of which my colleague Mike, a computer engineer and staunch PC man, had said, "I would have been so proud to have designed that." He meant the innards, not the fancy acrylic casing.

The Cube was a brilliant piece of engineering that never quite found its niche. As we move on from where we've been, my best beloved and I are glad that cannot be said about either of us. The niche bit, that is. To complain about the engineering would be unjust both to the original Maker, and to the manufacturer of artifical knee joints.

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