Laurie Taylor column

December 1, 2000

From : the departmental secretary, Maureen

1. Christmas Party
Previous attempts to organise a departmental Christmas party on the last Friday of term have been somewhat bedevilled by low turnouts. According to my calculations the average attendance in the past decade has been 2.5 (except for last year when this number was unexpectedly supplemented by 14 Swedish IT experts who'd misunderstood directions to the Science Park). On the assumption that visiting Swedes will be better directed in the future, I have catered for a maximum attendance of three this year and accordingly placed an order with the catering committee for two bottles of Poppleton Vin de Pays and one tube of Pringles Sour Cream and Onion. I hope this fits the bill.

2. Vice-Chancellor's Christmas Reception
As you will know, the vice-chancellor's new-found interest in human resources has led him to initiate a series of Christmas get-togethers at which he hopes to meet members of every department. We are now informed by his office that these meetings will be organised on a strict rota basis, with priority being given to departments with the highest RAE ratings. Our Christmas get-together with the vice-chancellor will take place on Friday October 12, 2001.

3. Departmental Christmas Decorations
Economy measures mean that we will no longer be able to place the usual single streamer along the main corridor. But I am pleased to inform you that the departmental Christmas star will be hung above the pigeon holes in the inquiries office and that once again the graduate opportunities noticeboard will be enlivened by tinsel. It should be quite a spectacle.

4. My Present
I am grateful to all the staff who have generously contributed to my Christmas present over the past 15 years. Your thoughtful annual presentation of either a Boots gift voucher or a box of cherry liqueur chocolates is always appreciated. I can't help feeling, however, that last year's additional enclosure of a detailed list of the precise contributions made by individual members of staff was somewhat alien to the Christmas spirit and I would welcome a return to the anonymity that characterised previous years.

Have a good one,

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