I take the boys for a quick session on the park before we drive over to Warwick for Son’s Graduation. When we arrive, L is rather appalled to find that our Graduand (a new word we learnt today) has not managed to get to the barbers or to run a razor across his face. The biggest shock though is his new suit trousers, which he seems to have washed. We know not why. L manages to rectify the situation somewhat by borrowing an iron off one of his flatmates and at least restoring some sort of shape to them.
L has bought him a watch as a graduation present, which I was deeply sceptical that he would ever use, but he genuinely seems thrilled with it.
We head up to Stoneleigh Park where there is a park and ride in operation and soon we deliver a somewhat stressed looking Son to the university where they kit him out in his robe, hood and mortar board. Then we have to re-kit him out when we decide that it’s best if he removes his suit jacket, as he looks like he’s about to melt.
With only two guests allowed in the hall, Daughter has to watch in the cinema or via a big screen outside. Considering the heat, she opts for the cinema.
L and I take our places in the hall, which really isn’t big enough, well in advance and are entertained (broadly speaking) by the University band/choir. It’s all a bit old hat really and the ceremony probably hasn’t changed much since the University was formed almost 50 years ago.
Then there’s the speech from the Vice Chancellor, that probably also hasn’t changed much in 50 years either. It was also very similar, and as long, as his welcome speech three years ago when he promised that before too long we wouldn’t recognise our child. We were sceptical of course but he was proved right eventually. Although I’m not even sure Son would recognise himself at this moment.
Then the long process of calling up the students one by one starts. There is a pause for the awarding of an Honorary Degree, a process that has always confused me. No matter how deserving the person is, and this person was very deserving, surely there still needs to be a link to the University or the area? I couldn’t spot one in this case.
Son was close to the end of those being called up and he managed to not trip or anything, as he picked up his degree. Which was not rolled up in a scroll, as I thought was tradition. Refund please!
Once over, the band/choir, who must have been knocking the alcohol to get them through the ceremony burst into life and start dancing in aisles. Now if only they'd done that from the start.
Then it’s out into the sun again, where the official photographer has to organise all the new graduates into some sort of order for a group photo. This takes some time obviously. It all ends with the traditional throwing of the hats in the air. No one goes against the safety briefing and attempts to skim their mortar board across the heads of the assembled crowd, sadly.
Then more photos, both from us and from the official photographers back inside. Then it’s back to Leamington for a celebratory meal at our regular, the White Horse, actually it’s getting a bit predictable and we might need to think of somewhere else soon. Perhaps Son’s new place of employment... the pub where he starts work on Thursday.
(Tuesday 16th July)