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.

Saturday 2 July 2011

Joy for two young women

Got home this afternoon just at the start of the second set, and sat through the drama of Petra Kvitova holding her nerve (and her serve) to eventually win her first Wimbledon final. Smiles all round, except for the Sharapova camp, of course. Me, I’d go for the non-grunter most days.

So what's with missing the start of the match? We’d been at the wedding of Ruth, a friend and colleague, to Joe, who I just managed to beat once at skittles. Why do most brides look so stunning? Is it the skill of the hair-dresser, make-up artist, dress-designer? I think it’s got more to do with the joy coming out. Certainly, for these two, that was there in abundance. Not just the happiness of the day, but the result of deep-grown convictions coming to fruition. The church was packed, the singing was enthusiastic, the sun shone, and two people’s lives will never be the same. Joy. Such a little word. Such a lot of meaning.

And as they signed the register at half-time (intriguingly) we all sat and watched this video. Enjoy!

Friday 1 July 2011

Retirement stage one

OK. One of us is now officially retired. Promoted to a life of luxury and being waited on hand and foot, with all necessities provided at the drop of a hat (the one with Captain on the front, naturally). Guess which of us this is. Answer: the one whose surgery in March meant she spent the last three months being waited on hand and foot, with all necessities provided at the mere flicker of an eyelash. Meanwhile, her willing slave (mine’s the First Mate version) continues to bring home the bacon, cook the tea, mow the lawn, exercise by means of a walk round Sainsbury’s, mark assignments, prepare for exam boards and try to hand over the running of this programme in the best possible order, hopefully in time to get afloat by the last week of July.

Won’t be long. And we don’t intend retirement to be very retiring.