It's that time of life - we are in possession of a teenager who will be Uni-bound next October. Consequently, we are in the process of viewing various educational institutions – the Shah and I are dead keen and the Teenage son is somewhat less so. The weekend in question, we are heading off to the south coast. TS is unwilling, surly and hungover. The first off-putter was the communication from the Uni in question which stated in aggressive capitals that THERE IS NO PARKING ON CAMPUS. This means that we have to drive to a station several miles away where we know we can park, and dump the car there. It’s then two trains to our destination. Arrive at the station for the Uni. Traipse through the underpass from the station. Look for the massed hordes of helpers/students/lecturers/anyone that we met at Reading the week before. (BTW Top marks Reading Uni – fantastic Open Day – brilliantly organised). It’s like the Marie Celeste. There’s a great deal of red brick in evidence. Have to quell the urge to turn round and get on the next train back. TS voices my thoughts by asking “can we go?” before we have so much as set foot inside a building. The Shah is meanwhile irritating the life out of me because his enormous hangover (acquired on a massive drinking binge on Friday night with his friend Adrian and which meant that I had to go out at 10.30pm to collect TD from her friend’s house while he snored on the sofa) has led to a total memory wipe-out and I am having to repeat every conversation we have had for the past week and reiterate every social arrangement from now until Christmas. It’s one of those house-hunting moments – you know, when you go through the front door of a house and within 10 seconds you know you’re never going to buy it in a million years, yet you feel that, just for the sake of good manners, you have to go through with the charade of pretending to look interested for the minimum time possible....ho hum. So, we attend a History lecture which is actually v.g. Thence to Politics lecture in theatre that is at 100°C before it even fills with people. Politics lecturer lurves the sound of his own voice and quacks on for 50 soul-destroying minutes during which the Shah does his best (and most attractive) impression of the Trevi fountain in sweat.
By now, we have all lost the will to live in a big way, but can’t leave because a) we are in the middle of a row* and b) we are near the front and the exit is at the back, so it would be more obvious than an obvious thing – the educational equivalent of shrieking “Nul pwa” in a bad French accent. Eventually we manage to break out, along with several hundred other sweaty souls, head for the station and home sweet home. Somehow, I don’t think we’re going to be Brighton-bound.
*That's a row of seats, not a full-blown Domestic although, with us, either could be possible.