Laurie Taylor column

August 15, 2003

Dear Maureen

Well, here I am at last relaxing in this out-of-the-way spot in the Gers (I've been here two days and still haven't seen a single soul).

Not that I'm complaining about such solitude. I was determined to have a holiday that gave me time to think, time to get away from all those mundane departmental concerns such as that crude attempt by the estates manager to make us pay for the window in the students' ladies that was smashed by Isobel Thursby after she discovered she hadn't got her expected upper.

(What on earth does that incompetent oaf mean by saying that we are "the sufficient cause"?) Life here unfolds in a sedate natural rhythm instead of being compressed into the precise 60-minute hours we'll have to insist on next term if those first-year seminar groups are going to get back from the chemistry block in time for my introductory lectures. (Who put them right over there, for God's sake?) There's so much sense of space here, no feeling that at any moment you might find yourself imprisoned in the front seat of your own car by some buffoon of a provost who wants to make a point about the width of his reserved parking bay.

Solitude, timelessness, open space. As the hippies used to say - far out! Honestly, Maureen, you won't recognise me when I return to the department in nine-and-a-half days on Thursday, August 21 at 9.45am prompt.

G. Lapping (Professor)

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