- I had an excuse for leaving after a couple of hours
- I weasled some useful information about retirement from the MBC
- nobody spilled anything into my lap
- nobody was sick ditto
- the food [international tapas] was better than expected:
- papas bravas; lamb tagine; falafel; hallomi in a bun; duck 'wings' with hoisin sauce; gambas & chorizo bake
- you can't fool a tableful of biologists: "waiter, this wing is suspiciously like a femur"
Yesterday, Friday, was the last day of term. I had read all the Literature Reviews of my final year research project students . . . and given them a chunk of mostly positive feedback. All my exams were marked and I was up to date with the lab reports. I was only at The Institute because free food was on offer. Free Food was on the table because, by long tradition, the Christmas after folk retire from The Institute, they are invited back to be tribbed by their line-manager and presented with a clock by The President. With unaccountable generosity all employees are invited to dinner in case any of the recently-retired wants to catch up with colleagues, cleaners, porters or administrators.
Before that, again by long tradition, there is a bring-and-buy cake sale and raffle to raise funds for local charities intercalated with a Christmas sing song. As with much of modern Christmas tradition, it never rains but it pours. On top of a morning of doing justice to the home-baking crew - it would be unfair not to sample one of everything - we were expected to trencher through a mountainous plate of turkey-and-stuffing-and-ham-and-gravy-and-roasters-and-sprouts. I usually go for the vegetarian option because the queue is shorter; but this year I went trad . . . and followed it with mince-pies-and-brandy-custard. Even with a damn good Kobayashi shake, I couldn't stop myself falling into a drooling sleep on the sofa as soon as I sat down at home.