Cambridge Heat

I’m in Cambridge, where it is very hot, for a few days on external examining duty for Part II and Part III of the Natural Sciences Tripos (Physics).

My trip here from Cardiff didn’t go entirely as planned. I had intended to catch the 10.26 from Cardiff to London Paddington, but the train that should have formed that service was so late that it was cancelled, or rather `retimed’ to be the 10.56. That train trundled through countryside getting later and later until it stopped entirely at Hayes, where it got stuck behind a stricken overhead power line. And at Hayes we sat for the best part of an hour. I had planned to arrive at Paddington at about 12.30, but actually got there at 2.30…

I didn’t arrive in Cambridge until after 4pm, and was not inconsiderably flustered. I hadn’t even had any lunch, though I was somewhat relieved to discover that the other external examiner had similar problems and was actually even later than me. Fortunately we were able to rearrange the meeting we had planned and managed to get through (by about 8pm) the preparations needed for the meeting of the Board of Examiners planned for tomorrow morning at 9.30am.

A couple of beers and burger later I’m now in my hotel room and feeling a little more mellow.

It’s a bit warmer than previous years I’ve been here at this time of year, but otherwise it’s the same: we passed crowds of young people in their glad rags queuing for various May Balls. No doubt we’ll meet the bedraggled remnants tomorrow morning on the way back to the Cavendish.

And now, if you’ll excuse me I’m going to have a cup of tea and relax. It’s been a long day…

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