Monday, April 28, 2008

Being Back

Bad Things about being back in Cambridge:
1. I have to sit in the office doing stats all day. Or more accurately teaching myself to do stats half the day and then doing it the other half of the day. Or, more accurately yet, surfing the web aimlessly procrastinating half the day, teaching myself to do stats the other quarter, going to tea, and then building maybe one little mixed model between 5:45 and 6pm.

2. Sometimes it is cold and wet (you don't say). But really overall the weather has not been that awful, getting very rapidly better since the two degrees it was when I first arrived back in England, so I have little to complain about, which I am sure is a state of affairs that cannot last.

Good Things about being back in Cambridge:
1. I am DANCING again. Finally. After 6 months of exile this is such a gorgeous feeling, accompanied with much masochistic enjoyment of delayed onset muscle soreness. Last week I did a bikram yoga/pilates class (everything hurt the next day, which was a fantastic feeling because it meant that everything had been worked), contemporary at The Place in London, and my on-and-off crazy London jazz class which is just great fun taken at a severely dehydrating pace. I may add a fourth class into the weekly mix, perhaps a good old ballet one or another contemporary. If I don't tire of the schedule I may maintain Lizard levels of fitness yet! Not only do I get to dance but also watch it, as Sadler's Wells has a fantastic season on and it is only really a desire to have some money left at the end of my PhD that is stopping me from going pretty much every weekend. Next up the Ballet Boyz, hurrah!

2. This evening I got to go to a lecture by Prof Lord Robert Winston (he of The Human Body etc. plus some rather good science) for the princely sum of one pound. And this Thursday similarly I get to listen to Jeremy Jackson talk about the ocean, which is also exciting in a rather geeky marine biologist kind of way.

3. Food that I don't have to cook for myself! Last Friday college very kindly provided for us graduates -- again for a somewhat nominal fee -- a very handsome dinner of sherry, king prawns (albeit English 'king' prawns which are 'shrimp' to anyone from the Indo Pacific region), white wine, duck, red wine, profiteroles with chocolate sauce, chocolate mints, coffee and Baileys. Tomorrow evening another college dinner beckons, this time as a reward for going to a graduate biologist seminar in which I will hopefully learn oodles about natural selection in mammalian promoters and then promptly forget it all during dinner with the high table menu, which for some very odd reason sometimes includes scrambled eggs on toast after dessert. It feels good indeed to be back in this mollycoddled Harry Potter- esque world.

4. My very lovely new room in the main part of college, which for all intents and purposes is a self-contained (bedder serviced) apartment with its own separate bedroom, gyp room (kitchen) and bathroom. I feel quite house proud really and have thus far managed to maintain levels of neatness previously unknown. There is even a pot of flowers and three pots of herbs. Before I know it I shall be baking cakes and inviting people round for cream tea.

I'm glad there is much to take one's mind off the fact that half a world away there is an island that I love sitting gloriously amidst a painfully bright blue sea. Ah, it's got to be blowing 35 knots out there nonstop (I tell myself).