Socialising · Teaching

Week 70: Burns Night at Trinity and Requiem at King’s

The week started slowly. I was still struggling to get Indy to leave the house; she’d come down with a cold and spent most of the time reading books on the couch. She would venture out for lunches and possibly dinners, but I elected to spend time doing what I would otherwise normally be doing. This week that included a introductory meeting on Monday for the class that I would be demonstrating this term: Scientific Computing IA. I was otherwise finishing off the automatic Treasurer script that I was writing, and had the second college cricket training session of the season, followed by one of Social’s many pub nights.

By Thursday, it was time to get the banking signatories formally changed over for the Gates Scholars account. I, as the treasurer, and Margaret, as the President, were being put on, while Rebecca and Sri were being taken off. I had managed to get both of their signatures on the form the previous day, meeting Rebecca in the dark and wet at Great St Mary’s Church. At first I went into the bank alone, was told to wait, saw a staff member, who examined my papers then refused to accept my Australian driver’s license as proof of ID, nor proof of address. I went over to my own bank to try and get them to print me a letter proving my address, but while the lady there tried ever so hard, it seemed beyond her powers to do so. So I went home and got my passport and BRP, along with a council tax letter that I happened to have lying around. I went back to the bank, only to be told that Margaret needed to be present. So I contacted her, and she came along, only to be told that she didn’t have the right proof of address. She would require a college letter, and so went to her college to get that sorted.

Having spent most of the day on this, I went out to the GSCR to do some work, followed by dinner in college with Indy. From there, we both caught a taxi out to Joanna and Danny’s place. The plan was to play some video games. They had two computers, I brought along my own. This was something that I thought might get Indy’s attention, this was something she was more comfortable with. Joanna and Danny were really hospitable, as we played a bit of Borderlands 2 at first, followed by a game called The Ship, which was something Indy really wanted to play. When it grew late, we caught a taxi back home.

On Friday morning, I went out to the Real Tennis club for the first of the Varsity tryouts, and the one that I was most likely to win. I ended up losing 6-8, having been leading 6-5. Disappointed, I had to cycle out to Joanna’s place, because I had accidentally left behind a pile of forms required for the banking application. I rode back into town and met with Margaret, who now had her college letter, and we were able to get the forms submitted. While I was on a roll with respect to my errands, I then headed out to drop my laptop off at the repair shop for the power socket to be fixed, and returned to do some more work.

That evening, Annalise had invited Indy and I to Trinity College for their Burns Night Formal. We walked out together, and met Annalise outside the college. We went up into one of the drawing rooms, where Annalise pointed out a wall clock that told the wind direction instead of the time. When it came time to enter the hall, we found ourselves seats halfway along the main table. It being Burn’s Night, everything was Scottish themed. The Trinity BA Society’s only Scottish member read an address to the Haggis, which was paraded around the hall by the chef. The night ended with the Deputy Porter marching around the hall in a kilt playing the bagpipes. After dinner, we headed out to Magdalene, where there was going to be a ceilidh, but Indy didn’t really want to dance, so we headed home instead.

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On Saturday, I finally managed to convince Indy to venture out of Cambridge. We headed out to the railway station and took a train down to London. I wasn’t really sure what to do that would interest her the most, so I took Callie’s recommendation from the previous week and headed out to an LGBT bookstore near to King’s Cross. When we got there, it wasn’t yet open, so we went to grab a coffee from the nearest cafe, which turned out to be a hipster vegan cafe. I had some of the vegan chocolate cake, and then we headed into the bookstore. Even though the store was relatively small, Indy loved it there, and spent a good 5-10 minutes browsing the books on each of the bookshelves. It was over an hour before she decided to pick any out in particular, and ended up with a big pile that was limited only by the size of her suitcase; else she would have surely taken more. We ended up staying in the shop for over an a hour and a half, before heading for the Tube.

We went to St Paul’s, and walked past the old cathedral and headed across the Millenium bridge to the Tate Modern. This was another place that grabbed Indy’s attention, especially the exhibits by Andy Warhol. We spent nearly two hours walking around the modern art, taking in the paintings, sculptures and presentation. Indy found it interesting, and that’s all that I needed form the visit. We went out to Borough market to get a late lunch, before heading back into the West End, with the intention of going to the British Museum. On the way, I suggested heading to the LEGO shop in Leicester Square, which Indy liked the idea of, so we headed over, wandering around there for a while. The line to the British Museum was long, so we opted to give it a miss and instead headed for the train back to Cambridge.

Indy went home to start reading her books, and I went out to the second part of the Real Tennis Varsity Tryouts. These were against Will and Jack, both of whom were much better than me, and I ended up losing both matches 8-1. From there I rushed back to the King’s Chapel, where I was stewarding for Jacqueline’s concert. She was performing in Verdi’s Requiem, a collaboration between the Cambridge University Music Society and four college choirs. Being the King’s Chapel and not West Road, we had many stewards for the sold out performance. I was tasked with going outside to instruct people who had unsighted tickets to head around the back. The performance itself got better as the movements continued. The highlight of Verdi’s Requiem is the Dies Irae, which has the full force of the orchestra, choir and drum. The first time the score reached it, the orchestra was far too soft relative to the choir. The choir, normally used to singing choral works, couldn’t manage the full operatic sound of the Dies Irae, but by the second and third repeats, it had finally reached its full epic scale. We finally went home and did our final bit of packing for our impending Alpine trip.

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