Week 96: Graduate Catered Picnic

Jacqueline and I had only just arrived back into the UK the previous day, but she was already hard at work. The preceeding week had seen the largest series of graduations in Cambridge for the year, and many masters students from the previous year, as well as recently finished PhD students had returned to celebrate. As the Gates Alumni officer, Jacqueline had organised a catered picnic on Jesus Green to bring together the brand new alumni and the current scholars. She had ordered a massive amount of food and drink to our house, which we would then transport out to the green. In the mid morning, the delivery truck arrived with several large crates of food. Margaret, Jacqueline and I heaved everything inside, then loaded it all up in boxes and bags.

Margaret headed off to Jesus Green first, to find a place as the rest of us began to ferry the goods. It was only half a kilometre away, but Rian, Andrea, Jacqueline and I spent a good half an hour heading back and forth until everything was in place. Slowly, people started to arrive, and we had the chance to socialise with people we hadn’t seen in over a year. We had well over fifty people come and check in, and eat through the large amount of food we had. Later that evening, the new graduates went out to celebrate at the pub, others headed to the airport, but a few of us had to clean up the left over packaging and put away the extra food.

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Life post-holiday actually returned to normal on Monday, heading back into the department for the first time since returning to Cambridge. I spent the week working with pen and paper, trying to develop a way to modify the variables that I was using to be easier to understand on a plot. But I couldn’t quite figure out how to do it. I still spent a good amount of time on it nonetheless.

One thing that had notably changed in our absence was the foliage. Cambridge, and the UK, had been gripped by a summer heatwave, with temperatures in the high twenties and occasionally, low thirties. This would continue through our week and promised to continue for a little while longer. The most notable effect on the city was that just about every green had turned yellow. The backs were all yellow. The courts of the old colleges had yellow grass. The sports fields were all yellow. It was remarkable. Over the past six months, we have experienced a mass cold spell and been covered in white, fluffy snow for a week, as well as a blistering heatwave and discoloured all the plants. On Monday afternoon, I went out to experience the dryness, as the Cavendish Cricket Club were having a post-season training session.

On Saturday morning, Jacqueline declared that she believed she was able to cycle to London, and back from Cambridge. I told her how far it was, but she was insistent, I decided to put her statement to the test and challenged her to come out with me to see how far we could get. We followed roughly the route of the railway line so we could bail at any point. We set out, soon getting out of the busy roads of Cambridge, through to the quieter roads near Whittlesford. However, we wouldn’t get to quiet roads until we reached the hill at Littlebury Green. Over the top, we diverged from the railway slightly, but Jacqueline didn’t like the heat too much, and wanted lunch. But the closest food was in Clavering, which meant keeping on riding a little longer before we reached a small independent supermarket. We decided to stop riding and head home, but we were still a way away from the nearest railway station. So instead, we had to ride on for at least another half hour until we reached Bishops Stortford, where we were able to take a train home. We were able to spend Sunday relaxing and recovering, cleaning and tidying from our trip.

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