Sunday, July 03, 2005

Gaudeamus igitur, juvenes dum sumus

If you want to know what that means, you will have to wait :P

The train journey to Glasgow from London Euston takes 5 hours. I loved watching the scenery as it changed, becoming much more dramatic the farther north we went. Craggy is the best word to describe Scotland at any time.

As soon as we got into the taxi, the rains started sheeting down. We dashed into the hotel and remained trapped for a couple of hours, watching as the street behind us turned into a river. People were wading into it.
The rain stopped and then we went to dinner at the tiniest restaurant I've seen in this country. It was called Stravaigin2 (a smaller version of the restaurant downtown.) We were in the fashionable West End and it's full of amazing little bars and restaurants down the mews alleys.
My mother had a Thai-style noodle salad, my father a deelish soup and something else...oh yes, fish and chips. [I roll eyes here] and I had a nouveau Italian aubergine canneloni with the yummiest smoked brie sauce.

Friday morning dawned doubtful and grey. I got into my dark skirt and crisp white shirt, then I developed a ladder in my tights. Fortunately there was a hotchpotch shop across the road that supplied everything you'd need, like tights...Then, with nothing better to do we strolled to the university and went exploring.

We took pics and I will share, once I can get them off my parents' digital cameras. I'm upset that I forgot my film camera with it's perfect lens and long zoom. But, better than nothing.

We spent the morning avoiding the cold breeze and the threatening drops of rain. I spent most of the time draped in Dad's suit jacket and feeling envious that men get so many hidden pockets in their clothing.
But by lunchtime it began to clear, so we had plenty of sunshine for the ceremony. The Christie's alumni began to trickle in and home in on each other, but it was like herding rabbits. We'd bump into each other in all the rush, confidently say "See you later" and then not. For instance, I kept missing Elizabeth's calls and she kept missing mine!

At 1.30 we registered, got our guest tickets, and picked up our gowns. A bit of a picture-taking break in one of the quadrants, and then about 7 or 8 of us went to the chapel for the short dedication service.

The ceremony took place at Bute Hall, which I think is a Victorian Gothic Revival structure. Once we were all seated - the 9 of us from Christie's mostly on the front row! - the Organist taught us the academic anthem. We sang it as the Faculty processed in, preceded by the Bedellus carrying the university's 15th century mace.

Gaudeamus igitur, juvenes dum sumus (x2)
Post jucundum juventutem, post molestam senectutem,
Nos habebit humus, nos habebit humus

Vivat Academia, vivant Professores (x2)

Vivat membrum quodlibet, vivant membrum quaelibet
Semper sint in flore, semper sint in flore!

All of which in short translates as:
Let us rejoice while we are young, after the joys of youth and the troubles of age, we shall return to the earth.
Long live the university, the professors, each member, may they always flourish!

The Chaplain opened proceedings with a prayer by Erasmus and then the Deans launched right into the presentations of the degrees. I was number 7!
Holding your hood in the left hand, you walk onto the dais, hand the hood to the Bedellus (who seems to be some sort of ceremonial officer). The Principal, Sir Muir Russell, at the very first says, "Te philosophiae magister creamus" (We create you Master of Philosophy) but for each subsequent student is shortened to "Te quoque" (and you also).
Bow your head before him as he speaks and taps you on the head with a purple velvet cap. Shake hands, then the Bedellus garottes you with the hood and you collect your degree roll from an official.
We were treated to a number of kilts and Scotsmen with fiery hair or gloaming faces.

At the end, the Principal gave us a "charge" and we all stood for a benediction. We were all processed around the quadrant outside, behind the Faculty, by a splendid Piper!

We broke for drinks and I ran off for my grad portrait. It took me ages to realise that the photographer was telling me, "Put thaat wee hand up therrre and thaat wee hand doon therrre" as he adjusted my position and the roll in my hands. Hehe, I have wee hands! And I always thought they were just little! ;)

I ran back to return the robes, and then the parents and I limped back to the hotel to change and rest.
After we felt a bit civilised, we found dinner at Ashok, Glasgow's award-winning Indian restaurant.

Glasgow is (now) a neat city. It has very much shed its industrial past and is now as trendy as heck. The stone architecture (I only saw one brick) is amazingly uniform, rather like Oxford which I also find intimidating and slightly hostile. I can't imagine it in the middle of a dark Scottish winter. I prefer the friendly, higgledy-piggledy medievalism of York and Cambridge. (And yet, when it comes to the decorative arts I do like the pure crispness of Neoclassicism. What a contradiction.)

Our hotel was a B&B in a spacious Victorian townhouse. The crown moulding and plasterwork were so heavy I thought it should have brought the ceiling down. The wrought-iron stairs were wide, sweeping and spiralled graciously to the top of the house where a skylight brought brightness all the way back to the bottom.


Steliano Ponticos said...

Olivia I really liked your train journey and the way you speak about the scenery, the best in france are when you go from paris to nice..I have once question though.

How do you pronounce "quoque" is it Kwo-Kwi, or Koki..or even another thingy +)

Olivia said...

Welcome back Steli! Quoque is pronounced kwo-kwe'.
I'm glad you like the scenery too +)

Steliano Ponticos said...

Ok I'll try to remember it..its such a funny word kwo-kwe' +)

Olivia said...

If you say it too many times, yes it is!
Quoque, haha! +)

Anonymous said...

ah, wish I couldv'e been there with you.

Olivia said...

As far as I know, you were - in spirit.
I'm glad you didn't come over after all, tho' it was too stressful and tiring and I will admit I got into a mood...