Yesterday was one of those bumper bonanza days: by the end of it you can’t quite believe that it was all compressed into a single day. The omens, it must be said, were not all that promising. The night before an essay on the New Deal lay barely half done, and whilst I would have liked to have stayed up all night on it I also realised my grip on writing was becoming so weak that I couldn’t even stay in the right tense. (Pfft, you think it’s easy just because it’s history and thus ‘past tense’? How very naive…) But I did try, for a while, due to the fact that I was also entirely unable to lie horizontally without coughing at *cough* a rate *cough* of about *cough* seven *mega-cough* per minute. Eventually, however, I did get to sleep and resolved to get up early to finish this essay before Sanna arrived to visit. The alarm was set for 6.30. Then changed to 7, because I’m not a masochist.
Early morning Dominic scoffed at this incurring into his territory and wisely ignored the alarm. And soon enough Sanna arrived, and learning from past mistakes I decided getting a taxi from the station to the one lecture of the day would be wiser than trying to impose Dominic walking speeds. After Magnus Ryan had expounded on the saeculum some more (actually, sadly, I don’t think it came up) we went for delicious waffles and my mood was firmly on an upward curve. (Not just because of the waffles, you understand.) This was also helped by my dad sending me the Text of the Month about the upcoming new Doctor (note to journalists from Dominic and Lucy – a ‘new Doctor Who’? No. No, you are wrong). So by the end of Sanna’s visit I was in a much better position to sit down and plan out the rest of the essay in beautiful bullet-point form, before moving on to dinner.
But not just any dinner! No indeed – for as a joint Secretary of the Caius History Society it was partly my job to host Mark and Emily Greengrass in advance of Mark’s talk that evening. Abi and I had made the risky decision of inviting them to dine with us lowly undergrads, which could have resulted in panic and disaster if the infamous chicken burger had been served. Luckily this was not to be, and all went well. Shortly afterwards we were then gratified to see that our e-mail promotion had drawn a not too shabbily sized crowd for the talk, and we possibly accidentally innovated by serving wine before getting into history. It clearly worked, and The Tears of the Last Valois was a very interesting discussion on crying (yes, really) at the French court. I tend to think that it’s quite important for these things to be at least slightly off-beat, as there’s no point in putting on your own Tripos lectures.
Plus, I think Mark Greengrass had a cool tie.
So, the final chapter: on the way back home I resolved that I really would try and dedicate the night to finishing this essay, and Michael wisely advised that the most important tool would be food. So I acquired some bread, a pizza, chocolate chip cookies and tea bags and set to work at 11pm. And lo and behold, somehow by about 2.30am I was done! (And I hadn’t even cooked the pizza…) Feeling very satisfied I finally sent the essay off and called it a day. Only supervision (later today) will reveal if the end product was actually any good, of course, but I feel I can defend it at least. Hurrah!
(Oh, and this afternoon I got an e-mail revealing that someone had left a customer evaluation of this very site. Erm, thanks though I was unaware of having delivered any goods or services at all.)