Sunday, 3 May 2009

Catching up

I feel I cannot just let it go, so here is the account. Last Wednesday, I had my inaugural lecture. A peak toward which my life had developed the past weeks, although I was pretending to be focused on the move and the new house. The inaugural lecture was my first big public appearance in Cambridge. Showing the colours. I cannot say I was nervous, but apprehensive. I had invited colleagues from all over the UK, knowing well that most of them wouldn't be able to come, but some did, and some that really mattered a lot to me.

Not least, Julia and Anton came. Staffan picked them up at Stansted last Tuesday, while I was at work, and by the time I came home they have been sufficiently impressed by the house. Yet instead of a quiet family evening I had to talk to the press. The university PR person had sent out a press release, and suddenly I was a Very Interesting Person. My topic is something that most people can relate to (which is why I had chosen it). Something most people understand - or think they do. BBC Today wanted me in the studio at 7 am the next day, but luckily called later to say that they had to cover swine flu instead. At that point, I was glad I didn't have to get up at dawn.

I didn't go to work until afternoon hoping people would understand. The day was excruciatingly long, but as usual, when it started it was over quickly. The auditorium was full, the questions sensible and everybody seemed happy. Some colleagues were impressed when they realised that the Swedish embassy was duly repesented. Most were impressed by the press coverage. Anyway, if anybody had regreted that they'd hired me, they have a good reason to be pleased now.

After the official reception at the Faculty we invited some friends home (apologizing for the mess, which by that time was almost negligible), blending people from different parts of my life, and again it seemed that everybody was enjoying themselves.

Next day Anton had to leave and Staffan took him to the airport, while Julia and I went to London on a mother/daughter bonding trip. First we went to some very special makeup store of which I had never heard, where Julia met a young shop assistant whom she had seen on YouTube (I was impressed). Then we turned cultural and went to Victoria and Albert, where we wanted to see an exhibition about hats, but missed it and instead studied carefully British 16th century furniture. I was especially pleased to have seen the Great Bed of Ware (because I am writing a little piece on beds in children's literature and have done some research). Then we saw the musical Wicked that was magnificent. We weren't back home until half past midnight.

On Friday we went to Anglesea Abbey, one of our local attractions. We had decided to be even more cultural and go to Evensong at King's Chapel, but Julia fell asleep, which perhaps was just as well. And yesterday we strolled around in the city, just the way we did she was here last, only it was a wonderful summer day, everything was open and full of people. And life just felt great.

Now the feast is over. Back to work! (But it stil feels great).

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