What a busy little time I've had! I have, I'm afraid, been neglecting you all again - but when you hear what I've been up to, you will not be surprised.
Last Friday was my birthday (I turned 29, since you ask) and also my graduation. I graduated from three degrees during the ceremony - my MSt, MA, and DPhil - but it wasn't quite as busy as that sounds, as I was supposedly 'in absentia' for two of them, despite being in the room. But I did get to graduate from my doctorate - yet another stage in the very protracted process between handing in the thesis and having everything done and dusted. A very nice stage, I should add, and certainly the dressiest.
I entered in a richly embroidered gown, with green and white hood, and after a bit I got to head into the centre of the room with the doctors from New College and Magdalen College (or Novum and Magdalena as they were known in this exclusively Latin ceremony - at least they are two of the more identifiable colleges in Latin). We bowed in lots of directions, and then agreed (in Latin) to do something (in Latin) without knowing what it was. Outside for a quick costume change into billowing red and purple, and we came back in to rapturous applause, a handshake with the Vice Chancellor, and sitting on extremely uncomfortable seats for another hour or so while lots of other people did variants of the above.
Outside for pictures in the rain...
...and away to Somerset! For the birthday festivities were certainly not yet over. Our Vicar's Wife had arranged for us to go donkey walking in Dorset! If this sounds a bit mad, it probably is, but donkeys are my second favourite animal (after cats, obvs) and it was really lovely. Our donkeys were called Hector and Paris (apparently the woman who originally owned them names all her donkeys after whatever DVD she has recently watched - in this case, Troy) - and by the end of a few hours walking through fields and streets, I had certainly bonded with Paris. He was a real sweetie, albeit one who frequently decided he didn't fancy moving, thankyouverymuch. I learned about how to stare down donkeys.
But the day was not over - we went on to North Petherton Carnival! Our Vicar had attended it in his childhood, and had long hoped to take his children there - but until now we hadn't been in Somerset at the right time. Well, I had tempered expectations - it's a tiny place - but the carnival was really amazing. Lots of floats going by, with some solo efforts, all the way to enormous floats with hundreds of lights, moving parts, choreography, and the like. Some really extraordinary things, and great fun to watch.
And now I'm feeling rather shattered after an action-packed weekend!