Friday 15 June 2012: Walking down memory lane...
840/365: ... well, down the seafront anyway.
This is a backblip and it's of South Parade Pier at Southsea in Portsmouth. About 20 years ago I lived in Portsmouth for 3 years and yesterday I went back there for a conference at the university where I did my first degree. It was really weird. A load of stuff that was there when I lived in the city had gone (the hideous Tricorn centre once famously described by Prince Charles as a 'monstrous carbuncle') and even the bit of the university where the Business School was based. In fact, the building where the event was being held I didn't recognise at all. It was only later on that I saw a plaque that said it had been built the year after I left - so I was mildly reassured that I hadn't completely wiped everything from my memory!
Anyway, I got to Portsmouth a teeny bit early - having set out at a little after 5am, I arrived just after 9 - and on not recognising much decided to head down to Southsea. Portsmouth is pretty little really and it was only five minutes away from the event. At last! I recognised something!! Good old faded and shabby South Parade Pier and the windy, pebbly, grey seafront. I used to live about five minutes from this point and although I know that as a *very* innocent 18 year old moving to what felt like a massive city (I remember being shocked at there being shops at the end of my street, for example!), I didn't make the most of it at all. I could wish we lived closer to the sea now. There's something about the light which is just lovely. And even though out-of-season British seasides can be a bit sad, I did always love the feeling of free that comes with the quiet slightly deserted atmosphere.
The day itself was jam-packed. I was presenting a session after lunch so had the morning to listen to other people talk and recover from the mammoth drive. Then lunch - a surprisingly un-curly-sandwiched affair - then did my presentation (had some nice comments on Twitter while I was doing it which was a relief!) - and then listened to more stuff from more people from all over the place.
I came out of the last session just a bit early because I was flagging and needed to take some headache tablets. But by doing so, I got to chat to a student who's just finished their degree. I think in lots of ways that was the bit that I'll most remember. It was funny to think that 17 years ago, I'd been in his position. Got a degree. Not sure what to do with it. Not sure if it was good enough. Pleased to finish. But... a bit lost. He was really sweet to talk to. I hope he finds that life beyond university is kind to him. It took me a further three degrees to discover what I was really capable of doing - I didn't tell him that bit! And I didn't tell him that it makes me laugh to think that I never gave presentations during my studies as I was so scared (even though I had to give them, I used to fib to get out of it - naughty me!)... and there I was today, presenting on behalf of another university at my first university, which I do pretty regularly and think nothing of it.
Crappy drive back - four and a half hours of pure bleurgh - and reminded me of how my first car (a yellow 2CV) used to struggle to get over 55mph up the A34 through Hampshire! I dreaded any kind of upwards slope as my poor little car used to cry out to stop and collapse on the side of the road. :o)
Glad I went though.
PS I might be knackered, but I still know how to waffle
PPS And waffle....
PPPS ... and waffle. ;o)