Monday, 20 September 2010

First day at Uni was really good! Thanks Paul for the lift there and back. 24 others on the course, but this time I am the oldest, for sure! Most were around 18 to 22 with 3 or 4, including my mate Paul in the early 30's bracket. About an even mix of male to female and best of all, no obvious plonkers, just nice sociable folk. I don't know how long it will take to remember all those names, if ever. So far I've got Paul, Patrick, Sarah and Paz; only 20 to go. No, 19, because of course, I know my name! It did worry me that one of the girls, thought a 'snail' was an 'insect'! The course leaders, Fiona Stoddart and Paul Horton seemed so enthusiastic and their 'buzz' really gripped everyone, making the next 3 years something very exciting to look forward to.

So much to take in today, and for the rest of the week, we are in every day. Registration, a tour of the campus and a brief outline of the course and timetable were given today. Then there was the hour and a half torture of the presentations, given by the Chaplin, Health & Safety and Students Union. The Chaplin explained that it was his job to make us feel safe, and that he was immigrating to Australia next week! The Health & Safety woman thanked the Chaplin, introduced herself, and then said, "It is the Chaplin's job to make you feel safe, but it is mine to make sure you are safe". The nurse pointed out that it was her job to advise on safe sex and contraception. She laughed when I told her she was too late by 40 years!

My time table gives me Monday and Tuesday mornings off, and all day off on both Wednesday and Friday. Luxury, you might think, but there is a vast amount of filming and course work, including Ecology, Biodiversity, Expedition Planning, Animal Behaviour, Creative Writing, Investigative Techniques and Conservation both on land and in water. They explained that meeting 'dead lions' was vitally important, and I thought we were trying to protect them!! In our first year, sometime early next summer, we are going to Finland, inside the Arctic Circle for 3 weeks, then the year after we stay in the Gambian Jungle for the same amount of time. First frozen then baked, wow, scary or what!

It was great to see some familiar faces today, especially Jan who looked after us all so well last year. I had texts from Denise, Lucy, Julie, Jean and Nikki, to say that they all really enjoyed their first day on the Art stuff (not sure what their course is called). I think they were building a paper tower and drawing pictures of each other; far to 'Arty' for me!

No appointment for the Freeman's Hospital at Newcastle yet, the clock ticks on, but I feel good just now and even forget about it all for long periods of time.

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