It's August and we have had no summer. That jet stream has a lot to answer for. But I don’t care because I passed the Access course with distinction and Warwick University has now offered me an unconditional place. I am in, and start on 4th October! Yikes! I can hardly believe it and was rather tearful when I learnt of their decision. They are lucky to have me obviously, but its been a long haul I can tell you!
This is naturally welcome news especially since my exams were not without incident. Maths has been my stumbling block, and to prove it, a fellow examinee and I had cause to complain to the exam invigilator because he said ‘you may turn your papers over and start’, and then proceeded to announce that anyone who had forgotten compasses etc to please put up their hands so that he could acquire them suitable equipment.
I was a little more restrained, what with being mature and everything, until I got to the car park where I discovered I had a flat tyre. Made worse, were it possible, by the discovery that the spare was similarly afflicted. I saw red then and totally lost the plot amidst stares and people giving me a rather wide berth as I freaked out in bay 27. I debated whether to call the AA or my husband and opted for the latter as it's not polite to swear at strangers. There was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing to the Tesco garage to blow up the spare, which stayed inflated just long enough to be able to drive to a tyre centre which was mercifully close by, and where they miraculously repaired them both. But I had to wait another half an hour or more for the migraine I had by then developed to subside sufficiently, to enable me to see to drive home.
Since then, lots of nice things have happened starting with a week in Brighton where I was very spoilt by my lovely friends and where undying love was declared to me by a drunken man handcuffed to some railings. What more could I ask for? My son Chris and his cronies were in Brighton on a stag weekend, where Chris was totally cool with meeting his mummy but not too sure about the likely behaviour of his compatriots. The stags ability to misbehave was however severely impaired by his predicament and from being left to fry in the sun (yes it was actually shining that day). The rest of the gang were enjoying a cold beer or three, whilst the stag declared his undying love for me to the small crowd which had gathered to see him, handcuffed to a balustrade with a scattering of assorted food around him in the hope he would be attacked by seagulls!
I went to Brighton by train, which is of course nothing out of the ordinary, but I deliberately chose that mode of transport as a personal challenge since I knew only too well it would take me out of my comfort zone, and its something I need to get to grips with. I arrived at the station, only to discover that the platform was flooded, which necessitated boarding the train at coach J. This was all very fine and dandy, but my reservation was in coach A. I had to carry my (big) case down the narrow isle between the seats throughout 9 coaches, until I eventually found my allotted seat. Naturally enough it turned out to be in the quiet zone, where a plethora of city gents in their pinstripes were doing manly things on laptops and iPads, until their peace was disrupted by me plonking myself down with all the panache of the unseasoned traveller.
It was the tube I was fearing most, so to quell my nerves I had decided at the last minute to buy some cava from M&S at the station, but hadn’t given a moment’s thought to a glass or cup. My arm was weak from carrying my case all that way, and so when I lifted the bottle to my lips my hand trembled so, that the contents spilt down my T-shirt. I wish I'd had had a brown paper bag to complete the picture, as people avoided my gaze at all costs, busying themselves with stock market figures and which Covent Garden bistro to lunch in.
As if my shame wasn’t already complete, when I eventually got to the tube at Euston, my case wasn’t balanced properly and made its own way down the escalator without me, taking people out like nine pins on its journey to the bottom. It's hard to shed the country bumpkin label, but no wonder I never go on the bloody tube!
I have also been to France, where I spent a totally lovely few days. We flew to Zurich and then got the train (again) to Basel where we were met by friends and driven to their house, weaving in and out of the Swiss/French border as we did so. Before we got that far however I had to undergo a full X-ray body scanning super duper James Bond type experience at Manchester Airport because I set the alarm off when I went through security. I was mortified to think I would be up there in lights projected on a screen for all to see. But apparently the display screen is in another place entirely so that the people looking at it can't actually see you, which is rather a comfort. Then I had to take my shoes off. Do you know how long it took me to get these shoes ON?! They are new, my feet are swollen, and you want me take them OFF. Please don’t make me. But they did.
Nobody took any notice of my comments re the Jubilee Concert I notice. Macca was there again at the Olympic opening ceremony, wheezing his way through Hey Jude, which rather spoilt an otherwise pleasing ceremony I thought, though whether it was £27million’s worth is debatable. I have yet to find anyone who is pro the Olympics being held here, because of the sheer cost involved and the restrictions imposed on other outlets by the likes of McDonalds and Coca Cola. Not to mention their tax dodging antics, but somehow that’s OK and perfectly acceptable practise apparently.
We watched the proceedings from our little village in France where not a few hours before we had enjoyed amongst other things, walnut oil, harvested by a neighbour from the trees in his garden. He shelled them all by hand and then took them to a local press in the village where they squeezed out the oil which he then bottled it himself, and gave us one to enjoy with our dinner. So you see, there are some advantages to being a country bumpkin after all!