Sunday, 15 April 2012

A worthwhile experience

After having my snow tyres actually taken off my car the other day it didn't surprise me at all to open the blinds yesterday morning to see white flakes falling. Typical! Luckily it didn't lie too much and Mountain Man and I went off to Edinburgh, where it didn't seem to have snowed at all, to drop Nell off with No. 1 son while we headed to Glasgow for the afternoon.

The reason for this journey was that I was due to take part in the procession of an Open University Graduate Ceremony taking place in The Royal Concert Hall and Mountain Man decided to tag along so that he could rendezvous with his daughter and grandson, who live in Glasgow.

The train from Edinburgh to Glasgow is very good value (£8 return with our old people passes) and so much less stressful than taking the car.

Being part of the 'in-crowd' for the ceremony was so much more civilised that when I actually got my BSc Hons through the OU many, many, many years ago, or even my Doctorate at Edinburgh many years ago. We had help with our robes and then were given tea and coffee and comfy chairs to sit around in while we waited our turn to line up for the procession.

Me in the procession's robing room
We made our way through the concert hall and, because I was in the back row of three on the stage, I was second going in the procession, which meant that on the way out I was second last out. That bit was quite fun.

The whole thing started with a quick speech by the Vice-Chancellor, Martin Bean. Then followed by a conferment of an Honorary Doctorate to Dr Jack Dunnett, a world renowned potato expert from Caithness. Sadly, his speech was marked by his inability to remember either what he'd just said or what he wanted to say, so that one was a bit embarrassing, but then 23 higher degrees were awarded with much clapping and that was followed by yet another Honorary Doctorate to Peter Syme, a leading light in the OU, whose speech was very good.

And then it was 223 graduates who needed clapping and cheering loudly for their achievements. What was truly wonderful was that the Vice-Chancellor literally spoke to each and every one. In my day all they did was shake hands with most and only talked to very, very few. I was actually one of those spoken to, basically because my friends and family shouted so loudly when my name was called and it certainly made it a memorable experience for me. I'm sure Martin Bean's enthusiasm and the way he carried out his job will have made it the same for yesterday's graduands. 

After clapping for what seemed like hours, the procession traipsed out and back upstairs where I de-robed and then rushed off to meet up with my man in the coffee shop on Sauchihall Street before getting the train back to Edinburgh, pick up the dog and get home.

I'm pleased I agreed to be part of the procession. It felt like a privilege and I'd certainly do it again if I was asked.

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