My first post comes to you at the overcast and changeable end of an otherwise warm and bright Mancunion summer.
The long vacation can be a strange time to be around the university. The upsides are many and easily enumerated:
– All the books are in the library and on the shelf when you look for them.
– You can be assured a spot in the PC cluster with a buffer of at least one computer in every direction.
– You can get your own double seat on the bus on Wilmslow Road, without having to listen to a conversation about neknomination. Or dub-step. Or the Warehouse Project.
– Living in the Uni’s Halls of Residence, I can sleep through the night with the window open without fear of being woken by the dawn chorus of the Great Lubricated Night Owls.
As you might be able to tell: I’m a big fan of summer at the University.
At the same time, it’s a bit like you and your mates being the only people attending Glastonbury. Yeh, you don’t have to queue for a pint, and you get to go right to the front of the stage for every act. But, after a bit, you start to wish there was a bit more of an atmosphere around. Also, and probably more importantly, if tens of thousands of people don’t pay to come to the party, then the party gets cancelled. It ends up being just a handful of people stood around in a field. Looking a bit lost.
The eerie, echoey, empty halls take on something of the Mary Celeste after a few weeks – especially creepy as the nights begin to draw in and you start arriving home in the dark.
The break is just long enough, however, for a postgrad student to recharge the batteries and get on with some uninterrupted study. It still amazes me how a whole summer’s work can still come down to a late-nighter the day before your deadline! I’ve finally accepted that I’m too old to change this behavioural pattern now – I think it’s better to stop beating yourself up about these things (or so I keep telling myself).
This week, I have been mostly drinking: Brooklyn Pennant ’55 at The Woodstock in the rarefied, leafy air of Didsbury. Eye-wateringly expensive for a student, but gorgeously, tongue-shrinkingly hoppy and malty in close measure.