Another Proud Mummy Moment


So, this week we had another graduation ceremony – Son 2 collected his BSc in Natural Sciences – proud Mummy moment.

He had had a busy week leading up to the graduation, so I had to help a bit. (You think, when you have little kids, that one day they won’t need you anymore. I’m not sure quite when that day comes, but my children are all in their twenties, and I still seem to be helping.) His busy week had included a trip to Wimbledon. He left home very early, and travelled to London, to be queuing outside Wimbledon by 8am. Due to nice weather and lots of Brits qualifying, it was already full. He came home again. I’m sure though he was pleased to go, simply to collect his “How to Queue” booklet.

Mind you, tennis has to be one of the most boring games to watch (am not a great lover of sports). It is only slightly better than watching cricket – where all the players look like they have escaped from a flour mill and are standing around trying to decide what to do next.

But I was telling you about the graduation. Due to Son’s busy week, which included staying with his brother the night before, I had to pack for him, finding various items that were scattered around the house. Big responsibility.

We drove north, collecting Son on the way, and stayed overnight in a Premier Inn. I like Premier Inns, but they do not exactly have the biggest bathrooms. This did not however, dissuade Husband from drying out his golfing umbrella in the bath. One day, I will devote a whole blog piece to Husband and his golfing umbrella, which seems to be essential wherever we go. It was hardly raining, and we walked all of 100 yards to the Beefeater for dinner, and some people managed without even a tiny umbrella. Just saying.

The next day was the graduation, and Son was in the first ceremony. They have 22 ceremonies over the next two weeks, and I’m sure the tutors involved in every one just love this time of year. The uni had good systems in place for ushering hundreds of students in one direction and their families in the other. Very efficient. One member of my family doesn’t really ‘do’ other people’s rules, so I kept losing him and spotting him in the ‘students only’ section.

Son looked very tall and handsome in his cap and gown. Unfortunately he hadn’t had time for a hair cut (in the last year), but I only mentioned it a couple of times.

The ceremony was in the uni Sports Hall, which was huge. There was a very loud brass band playing, and nice comfy seats. The hall was donated by Sir David Ross, who was the founder of Carphone Warehouse. There was no phone signal inside.

I felt very proud of son as he walked across the stage to collect his certificate, and very relieved that I had remembered all essential items. I felt very sorry for the poor girl who wore trainers (her Mum must’ve forgotten to pack the shoes). I think a couple of girls also forgot their skirts.

Afterwards, we had refreshments. I must say, Nottingham University does the best post graduation refreshments. I like that bit best : everything important has been done, so everyone has relaxed, the graduates look wonderful swooshing around in their gowns, and you can watch all the other families. There is such a mix of people, from those who are scruffily dressed and look worried, to those who have obviously bought completely new outfits for the occasion, and all sorts of people in between. It represents the huge circle of people able to study for a degree in our country, and I think it’s rather wonderful.

When we came to return Son’s gown, the hire company took it but didn’t record anything or give us a receipt – so there was no proof that it was actually returned. We took a photo of the man instead, in case of problems later. He was somewhat bemused.

Afterwards we went back to Son’s uni house to collect all his stuff for the summer. He was not quite as packed as we’d hoped – but that is another story.

Hope you have a good week.
Love, Anne x

 

xxx

Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this, all my books are now available on Kindle – ideal for taking on holiday. You can buy them in whichever country you live in. Have you read JOANNA yet? (I think that’s my best book so far. The link for UK is below.)

Graduation Saga


Do events in your family always go to plan? Ours don’t…..

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Hello, are you ready for Christmas? I’m not, but the end is in sight, and I am remembering to stop worrying whether or not things are wrapped and posted, and actually enjoy the moments spent with family and friends. Plus I really love everyone else’s Christmas decorations, even if mine are a bit tatty this year!

One special time with family was at son’s graduation. Yes, he did graduate a year ago, but this was his masters graduation. It did not go entirely to plan…

So, first challenge was how to get to the ceremony. Son had, in his wisdom, decided to attend Leeds University. We live a long, long, way from Leeds, about 5 hours in the car if the roads are clear. Husband and son discussed various options, but finally decided to go there and back on the day. This meant an early start, as we needed to allow for possible delays on the motorway. They told me we would be leaving the house at 5am. Yes, that’s right, 5am. Super.

I set the alarm for a 4 number. Animals gave me very strange looks when their breakfast arrived in the middle of the night. I showered, dressed, glanced in mirror….and decided my fringe was getting a bit long. Now, I have no idea why giving my fringe a quick trim when my eyes were still blurry seemed like a good idea. But it did. So I did.

5am arrived, we were all in the car, off we went.

At 9am we stopped for breakfast. We were nearly in Leeds, ready for a ceremony that started at 2pm, but I didn’t say anything. Felt slightly more awake after the coffee and used the washroom at the service station (always a delight.) As I was washing my hands, I glanced in the mirror. My hair was very short at the front, and not very straight. Looked almost as if I had cut it myself when half asleep, very early in the morning, with some nail scissors.

As we got back in to the car, I mentioned my hair to husband. I was hoping for some reassurance.
Me: I’m not sure cutting my fringe at 4am was such a good idea.
Husband: Oh, THAT’S what happened! I was wondering why you had gone for the Ugly Betty look.
Me: Silence. (Actually, I wasn’t silent. I laughed. My husband is an appalling person, but when he says outrageous things it always makes me laugh. Perhaps that’s why I married him.) Did not feel very reassured.

We arrived in Leeds (in very good time) and went to son’s house (which was very nice) and met his housemates (who are very nice) and then got changed ready for the ceremony. It was at this point that son realised his wallet, which contained all his ID, was missing. He needed his ID so he could register at the ceremony and collect his gown. He and husband had a thorough search of the car. No wallet.

We set off for the university. It was now pouring with rain, and we had no idea if they would let son take part in the ceremony as he had no proof of identity. All the graduands lined up, waiting to show their ID and receive the forms necessary to collect the gown and be told where to sit. Husband hovered nearby (he likes to help).

When son reached the front of the queue, he explained that actually, he had no ID, as he had lost his wallet. Husband helpfully added that he had his wallet and could prove who he was, and they would notice the surname was the same, hence proving he was son’s father. Plus he had baby photos. He then removed baby photos from wallet and showed them to person registering the graduands. She looked slightly surprised. Son looked slightly embarrassed. Registrar and son then had a conversation, she asked him for his date of birth, his student number, things like that. She then gave him the necessary forms so he could take part in the ceremony. But I’m sure the baby photos helped.

The rest of the day was without incident. I was very proud of son. It was nice to see all the family groups huddled in corners around the university, all honouring the person who had achieved the degree. I like to mark occasions, I guess it’s part of how we show people have value.

Before returning home, I suggested it might be worth checking the car again for the wallet. Ah. The wallet was, of course, lying where it had fallen. Another time I will help the males look myself. But I won’t cut my own hair early in the morning again…..

xxxx

Thank you for reading.

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xxxxxx

Letters to a Sister : 13


This has been a fairly quiet week, the most eventful thing being Son’s graduation ceremony.

Before we went, we had to take younger son’s duvet to Morrisons to be washed. It has been sealed in a black bin bag since he got home from uni – trust me, it needed to be washed. When he removed it from the cover, a shower of feathers fell over the floor. We could not find an obvious hole, but it is clearly leaking. I cannot believe this will end well. Gave receipt to unsuspecting husband. When he collects his cleaning he can also collect empty duvet sack and a bill for having broken Morrisons washing machine with feathers.

But I digress. As I say, this week was Son’s graduation so we drove North. Stayed over night in a Premier Inn. I must say, I really like Premier Inns. They have nothing you don’t need, are reasonably priced and always seem clean and welcoming. The food is just ‘normal’, nothing special but not cheap rubbish – a few brand names go a long way with food. I like them.

The day of the graduation was sunny. A lot like the day, three years ago, when he first looked round the uni. He assures me that it has rained every single one of the days inbetween. I think he is lying.

The whole world was at the graduation, they are certainly a ‘multi cultural’ place. I eavesdropped a few Mandarin conversations but resisted the urge to join in (there is a level of ‘odd’ that my children will not accept from me. I have learnt this.)

Also a range of types of people. There were those in posh clothes, with posh voices, who walked around like they ruled the world and everyone was in their way. Then there was the man we sat behind, who had no suit, wore a baseball cap throughout but was clearly excited to be there, took copious photographs and was quite emotional when his child went forward. I know which people I prefer.

I was somewhat surprised, when needing the loo, to discover they have ‘male’, ‘female’ and ‘gender-neutral’ toilets at uni these days. Apparently gender is now a spectrum. I am completely comfortable that I am well within the ‘female’ end of the gender spectrum (I only have issues when deciding on gender for my cats, not humans.) However, I do think they are a good idea. Not as an extra option – anyone using them would get peered at I suspect, but why do we need gender separate toilets anyway? I am quite modest but I cannot think that peeing in a cubicle, completely hidden but next to a bloke in his own cubicle, would cause me any problems. It would also have made life a lot easier when my boys reached that age where they did not want to go into the ‘Ladies’ with me but I felt they were too young to go into the pervert ridden Gents on their own.

Son looked suitably handsome in his cap and gown. He got cross with how many photos I took and banned me. Had to take sneaky ones of his back after that.I have lots.

The ceremony began with a procession of dignitaries who walked to the front and then sat facing the audience. They all looked splendid in their colourful gowns and caps. Except for one. Who was the man who wore a checked shirt and no tie under his gown? He sat slumped in his chair, clearly unhappy to be there. Was he a stand in? Did they drag him from an afternoon in his garden when they had a no show? Not that he wasted the time, using it to give his ears a good clean out. Thankfully he left his nose alone – left the nose picking to the camera man at the back of the stage. Honestly, someone should tell people that IF they are on a stage facing 200 strangers, that is NOT the best time for face picking. Of any kind.

However, when the ceremony began, Professor Checked Shirt gave the most beautiful smile to the graduands, full of affection. All was forgiven in that instant and I decided I liked him after all.

I did not however, like the man who sat next to me. He did not clap for a single graduand and even, at one point during the ceremony, opened a bottle of water and had a drink. His wife had obviously tried though. She had matched her lipstick, eye-shadow and nails perfectly with her purple mobile phone. Not quite my thing but she had made an effort at least.

I was surprised by how young the graduands were. It was only yesterday that we were that age, all grown up, knowing everything and ready to conquer the world. The only real difference was that these graduands were requested to not take selfies when they accepted their certificates. Not a problem for us. Not sure mobile phones even existed.

Perhaps we are getting old after all. Though I feel exactly the same. Except I know less now than I did when I was in my twenties.

Take care,
Anne x