Another plane left the mother ship yesterday when, after a ripping 10mph drive up and down the M1, I dropped one of the Crumble Kids off at Durham. They do things slightly differently at Durham University, good humoured but crazy, mental nonetheless it's probably the most upbeat but deranged greeting I've ever had anywhere. In fact, everything seemed like so much fun I felt like putting the boy on the train and staying there myself for three years. We got an inkling of what was to come when we saw the banner on a bridge over the A1 fifteen miles out saying, "Collingwood, Are You Ready?" Driving around town before arriving at Collingwood one could have been forgiven for thinking that we'd driven through a space time continuum and had landed in the middle of VE Day celebrations, such was the enthused and over the top cheering from college to college whenever one of their new intake pulled in to unpack.
I was going to follow up on the previous "starting school," post with one for university but it's been done to death already and would anyway, be somewhat pointless given I've never been. It seems then, that the students embark immediately on arrival on something known as Freshers Week, the aim of which seems to be to throw themselves with vigour into drinking agricultural quantities of alcohol thereby rendering themselves utterly incapable of tacking the second week. No doubt, the exercise is designed to crash down barriers and encourage a relaxed and collegiate environment though I think most of them would find it challenging to remember their own names the next morning, never mind anyone else's.
I'm reminded again of my first week away from home. I touched on the first day here and the second didn't see much of an uptick either. It was a long time ago in a far, far away place. I stood nervously on the square as a mad, red faced hysterical figure hurtled toward me with arms whirring like propellers and spittle catching on his drill instructor moustache as he screamed, “YOU.... Macfxckingwhatsyourname.... YOU. Idle man, IDLE fxcking man... you septic maggot... you are ruining ma parade son. If yous dinnae buck up I’ll hit ye so hard n’ fast yall think you’re surrounded sonny.” I was part of a squad of 30 recruits but for that moment, I was in the loneliest place in the world. No drinking for six weeks either. No wonder we didn't rate students.
Anyway, I couldn't send the lad off to Freshers Week without a helping hand from his old Dad. Now, some people like to make fun of Dad's dancing which I think, is mostly unfair and unjust. I'm though, something of a dab hand here and I took the time to give the youngster some tips before we set off, in an "explanation, demonstration, imitation," manner that would be warmly familiar to the shouty Sarn't Major noted above. Go for it son. Mrs Flashbang shot some footage with her new 5S, bless her.
Good luck to all!
In passing incidentally, I'd just like to say to the ten drivers of the souped up Subaru's who were racing down four lanes of the M1 in Northamptonshire early yesterday evening that I hope when you crash and burn no innocents get caught up in your insanity. Most of the M1 is just in a state of uncontrolled anarchy. Forget about "hogging the middle lane rules," whats happening out there is madness and, apart from South Yorkshire, not a blue light in sight the whole way up the motorway. The Chief Constable of Northants might want to have a chat with his opposite number in South Yorks for a few tips on the maintenance of law and order on his patch because he clearly needs help. Or of course he could have a chat with the Surrey Chief Constable, my ticket for doing 33mph leaving a 30mph limit was obviously warranted, deserved and a sharp lesson.