September 25, 2019

Recollections on revisiting West Kennet, Wiltshire:

8.30 am: Yesterday was spent fixed to my computer furthering my reports for Friday’s research assessment meeting. Today, I reconnected with outstanding business begun prior to my weekend away and the demands of the morning. My priority was the postgraduate welcome and induction meetings, held from noon onwards. This is a week of new beginnings, friendships, commitments, and challenges. For many, it’ll be a major turning point in their lives and, for a few, the most profound encounter with themselves that they’ve ever experienced. I continued with my reports until 10.30 am, before walking to the School to help Ms Wildig set up the feast for the postgraduate lunch at noon:

There are seventeen new MA students. This represents an optimum number. The lunch is an opportunity for new and current students to exchange anxieties and experiences, and to receive encouragement and reassurance. After lunch, the newbies were inducted into their respective schemes, assisted by Dr Heuser, Ms Watkins, and Mr Garrett. Inevitably, I pitched by annual pep talk.

Towards the end of the day, a parting gift from one of postgraduate tutees was given to me. It had once belonged to someone whose work I’d admired greatly since a teenager. This was a generous bestowal, one that I accepted with a full-heart, as a custodian: an electronic Shruti (Sanskrit: ‘What is heard’) box:

7.00 am: In the evening, I pushed hard to complete the output assessment forms for Friday’s meeting. (They needed to be in the post by tomorrow morning.) In the background: anger, loathing, venom, indiscipline, cruelty, unkindness, and disrespect prevailed.

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