Wednesday, 24 November 2010

(just for the record)

The New Principal visits The Department

MrsM wakes up at 4.30am
and wonders if she booked the catering.

MrsM spends an unreasonable amount of time
trying to decide whether
a contemporary wooden necklace
is more appropriate than
a shimmery necklace of mother of pearl.
She takes both.

The Head of Department
is anxious about his tie
because the knot is slipping.
MrsM assures him that it is not noticeable.

The Lady Professor
is worried about her skirt.
It is a beautiful purple silk
with a clingage issue.
MrsM assures her that it is not noticeable.

The Head of Department reviews the presentation
and makes changes at the very last moment.
MrsM shuts her eyes and prays
that he will not delete it accidentally.

At 9am the Principal arrives with the Dean
and finds the whole Department
sitting expectantly in the Board Room,
name badges neatly attached.

MrsM is thrilled to discover her photo
at a feature point of the presentation.
She resists the temptation to whisper "That's mine!!"
She notices that the Principal smiles.
Well...she is sure he did.

As the Principal leaves the Board Room
to tour the Department
MrsM's best friend from catering
is waiting around the corner
with the trolley of coffee and biscuits.
MrsM resists the temptation to hug him.

MrsM briefly panics when she remembers
the Daniel Craig feature wall
in the Departmental Office but knows that
it is part of the Student Experience.

MrsM wonders if the Principal notices
the smell of furniture polish,
or the impressive display of posters
or the immaculate noticeboards.

The Principal leaves promptly at 11am
and the Head of Department breathes out slowly
for the next hour and a half.

The Principal writes to thank the Department
and praises the evidence of excellence
in teaching, external engagement and research.

There are exceptionally difficult times ahead
for Higher Education and particularly Geography.
The Department will need friends in high places.


  1. This was clearly a very important JFTR.

    I'm glad it went well.

  2. Well done - you pulled it off! I remember nerve wracking days like that one, especially when the question of extending funding was under discussion. Urgh.

    Wishing you and the Department all the best for the difficult months and years ahead ...

  3. Clingage. I like that word.

  4. Phew. Well done you for keeping all the cogs nicely oiled, especially the best friend in catering!
    P.S. Time spent considering a necklace is never wasted. x

  5. That must have been a very long morning. I remember days like that too.. Best wishes for the months ahead!

  6. I just love your posts!!!! They make my day start with a smile. Thank you X

  7. Undoubtedly very sensible cultivating friends in high places - both The Principal AND a member of the catering team.

    Did you end up wearing both necklaces?

  8. Just last week at a board meeting I found myself announcing, "Geography is important!"

    The person sitting on my left turned to me and whispered, "Geography IS important!"

    Turned out to be incoming President of the board, who happens to have an advanced degree in Geography.


  9. Which necklace did you choose it might have caught the Principle's eye!

  10. a very important day indeed, I hope you got to put your feet up at the end of it x

  11. Oh, the horror of waking up in the night trying to remember if you'd ordered the refreshments - glad it went well.

  12. I was holding my breath and then exhaled and ... relaxed.
    All is well.

  13. one has to be wary of Morton's Fork on these occasions ...

  14. Oh, lord, the difficult times. We are waking at 4.30 ourselves.

  15. I was biting my nails right till the end! Which photo was it?

  16. I must admit more than a passing interest in the Daniel Craig montage.....

  17. Oh, I am wishing you luck in the difficult times -- we will need it, too. Ugh.


Thank you! I love reading your comments and even though I don't always have time to reply I am really grateful to every one who joins in the conversation.