I’m missing my GDL tutorials tomorrow, so for me this was the last day of term. Which is pretty welcome, coming on top of one of the most draining weeks yet prep-wise: double lectures and viciously sophisticated legal concepts everywhere, combined with the general end-of-term burnout and Christmas Mode wind-down all my coursemates are feeling too. Having such a grinder of a final week is the first part of my BPP curriculum which hasn’t felt particularly well devised, but given that the cake and arse party of UoB admin would commit worse cockups on a weekly basis, I’m not inclined to complain. I am, however, inclined to get far, far away and spend a week or two relaxing. Funny coincidence, that.
Through her volunteer work at the Industrial Museum (though it’s called M Shed these days and has prostituted its museum integrity in favour of becoming all bijou and Community Heritage), Mum has made a friend called Anthea, who has a flat on Queen Square, right by law school, and does something involving TV period dramas; Mum sews lots of dresses made of swanky old-world fabrics for her. There being a bit part for me in one of these projects, and Anthea reportedly producing large and tasty lunches to sustain her assistant seamstresses, Mum contrived to invite me over during my BPP lunch hour; Anthea put a horsehair wig and waistcoat pattern on me (my head’s too big, but my chest is just about the right size), had me read out a proclamation (which called for the sort of poncy, commanding enunciation which I reckon I do very well), then put some delicious vegetable soup and glorious homemade quiche in front of me. Yeah, my mum makes good friends.
BPP’s timetablers didn’t get the memo that it’s Christmas, but our tutors definitely did; the Thursday afternoon Criminal Law tutorial was possibly the most entertaining ever, involving numerous godawful anecdotes from our extremely classy tutor, beginning with “Actually, while I say I was a goody-goody, I did once accidentally have an enormous amount of cocaine because it was in an avocado dip.” This story then dealt with her driving around Hyde Park Corner getting honked at, culminated in the rather plaintive reflection “then we drove to the embassy and I remember there were trapeze artists… but there probably weren’t, were there?”, and segued into talking about suing people for bearing ugly children, with a cuttingly dispassionate analysis of the aesthetic merits of her own kids. Our tutors are characters.
After Criminal, we had an extracurricular lecture about company law and bankers’ bonuses (I would probably find the sums involved terrifying were I not totally jaded to the word “billion” by defence spending). Between the insane time-sucking workload, the fact most of the students commute in from miles away, and that there aren’t really many of us to begin with, GDL extracurricular stuff and social events usually have a lamentably bad turnout. However, today we managed all of seven people, who stayed on after the lecture for trashy Christmas music, Quality Street and a QUIZ on the dual themes of law and Christmassy nonsense, which my team aced. Everyone knows Caspar and Balthasar, but not Melchior! For shame.
Tomorrow I get up at 4am to be driven down to Heathrow, as part of a family round trip which will pick my bros up from university. My jet takes off at 10:05, touches down at Charles de Gaulle Airport eighty minutes later and stops there for an hour (for an elevenses of the remaining quiche, which Anthea tinfoiled up and gave to me), after which it’s twelve hours of solid flying to Tokyo. If I can get through formalities at Narita Airport in under an hour, I’ll be able to get a shinkansen up to Tendo which arrives just after 3pm local (6am Zulu); failing that, I get to potter around Tokyo station for another two hours until “Tsubasa 141”, assuming I can stay awake.
My bag is full of clothes and presents, my birthday Kindle is full of time-absorbing books, and I’m full of excitement. Travel posts to follow.