Late in 1996, which we shall refer to as more than a DECADE ago, I went to University (kind of) against my will. The brackets are only because I didn’t know what I wanted then, and I happened to be involved with somone whom the whole university escapade would take me away from, which was not a bad thing, but I was less clever then.
I went to university thinking I was going to do one thing, but I ended up doing another, and, after ten years or so, marrying a man I never thought I would but who turns out to be the person I want to spend my life with.
Today I got a letter from the unversity telling me I have become a Doctor of Philosophy (that’s Ph.D.), and since I have been there, that’s exactly what I wanted but I’m not sure I comprehend what it means to be there. Maybe that’s a sign that it’s not such a big deal at all, but for today, and for as long as it lasts, I will revel in the delightful uncertainty of celebrating something I’m not quite sure what means, but feels damn good (not unlike being married, come to think of it).
I thought I should drink champagne, and even lined it up, but then changed my mind (I was more keen for a nice glass of wine). Then I worried that I wasn’t making enough of a deal about it, but then I decided that if I didn’t drink champagne tonight, I would just have an even better excuse to do so tomorrow (or the day after that? etc.) The word “then”, incidentally, is wonderful. How to describe continuity and fickleness without it?
Anyway. I had a dinner invitation that involved me meeting my husband at another friend’s house, and when I got there, I found almost a bucket of roses on the table waiting for me, from my mother, who astoundingly is not even in the same country as me. Modern technology is truly amazing.
We had a very lovely casserole of beans and Turkish (or some such) sausage, washed down with decent wine and the aroma of fresh roses. It was a fine way to begin to celebrate what is, I believe, a milestone, even if I don’t know what shape it is.
At the dinner table I forgot to talk about the marmalade I recently made because someone gave us a bag of oranges, and more importantly, about what I plan to do with all that marmalade that I don’t eat on a regular basis anyway. At first I was bound by cakes and muffins – sweet stuff – until my friend Google reminded me of all the great savouries that involve smeet, sticky, citrus goodness: slow-roasted pork ribs, for instance, or baked chicken (wings?). Can I deep-fry prawns in a sweet, sticky, spicy batter? How about a hot prawn doughnut? It sounds like a doctor’s recommendation to me. More on that shortly…