Saturday, 13 June 2009

On almost everything

I wish I could say that I haven't written my blog all this time because nothing of interest has happened. That's what they say in fictitious diaries to make them sound authentic: "June 13: Nothing happened today". In my case, too much has happened. I simply have been too busy, and I don't even know where to start. Like Mary Beard, I have been drowned in exams, wondering whether the system is truly fair or plain crazy. Whatever it is, I must accept it. I have attended a workshop on how to apply for research grants. I've been to yet another Formal Hall. I have interviewed prospective students. Mostly, I have been exploring Cambridge anew with my childhood friend Alyona who came to visit from Moscow, so I pretended I was working from home, and we went to Ely and Saffron Walden and Thaxsted, and, can you imagine, discovered many things that Staffan and I didn't notice the first time. In Ely we climbed the Octagon tower and learned everything about how it was built, and in Thaxsted we got a glimpse of Morris dance and went inside the mill, and in Saffron Walden we went into every antique shop, which Staffan otherwise effectively prevents me from doing. In Anglesea Abbey we noted how the herbacious border was made, to reproduce it on a modest scale. We walked around in Cambridge, visited colleges, went punting, listened to Evensong in King's Chapel, did all the tourist things and a lot more. We even did some very successful shopping. We also fought ivy and brambles in my garden. Somehow, it goes twice as quickly and is tenfold more fun four-handed.

In the middle of all this, we had our second housewarming party, which we chose to celebrate on the Swedish national holiday, June 6. We served a wide variety of herring which everyone finds exotic, and some other things I pretended were genuinely Swedish. We didn't mean to play the national anthem, but the guests more or less demanded it. I think everyone had fun. I had fun. They say the hostess is not supposed to enjoy her own party, but I don't care.

We've had visits from the gas man and the plumber and a delivery from IKEA and many other exciting events. We have seen a Fierce Animal in our garden. Today, Luke the gardener scarified our lawn. Not sacrificed (although it feels so), not scarred (it definitely looks so), and if he scared someone it was me, not the lawn.

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