lizwilliams: (big gothic)
[personal profile] lizwilliams
Flying visit to Cambridge at the weekend, to go to one of Magdalene's NRM (non residential members) nights: I have dining rights at the college 3 times a year, and they recently realised that people weren't taking these up because they weren't sure if it was OK to just show up, etc. So now you get a tour of the library, drinks with the Fellows and dinner at High Table as a more formal event. Trevor has not been in the Pepys Library and enjoyed it: Pepys specified in his will that nothing could be detracted or added, so it's much as it was when it was in his house in London. And they had some diagrams of the Great Worme Engine, which he was, IIRC, involved with (it's an early fire engine pump).

Magdalene is not unlike a bit of Hogwarts, since it's full of passages and entrances behind paintings etc, and much of it, including the dining hall, has no electricity and is candlelit (speculation that this is so you can't see what you're eating is unfounded). Partners have to be separated throughout, rightly, so I talked to one of the Fellows, a very interesting woman, and my neighbour, who is the bursar of one of the Oxford schools. Looking down the ranks of undergrads, there is a noticeable change from the rugger buggers of yesterday, to young Asian women. To the surprise of absolutely no-one, allowing women (including me) into the college in 1988 has resulted in a meteoric rise up the academic charts.

We had terrine, salmon and then a choice: years ago, one of the scientific members deliberately poisoned himself with nerve gas (and his department - one of the Fellows remarked, rather wistfully, 'One can't do that these days' - however tempted, no doubt) in order to try to find a treatment for it. I think he may have been partially successful but ruined his digestion, and thus they had to serve bland food: rice pudding is still on the menu in his honour, so I had it.

Then we went upstairs, which was also candlit and had a log fire, for port.

In the morning, Ian Whates turned up with copies of the new short story collection and we did a big signing at Kari's house, before T and I headed into Mill Road to raid the Asian supermarkets for things we can't get in benighted Somerset, and lunch at the Kingston Arms. Great to see everyone, and a big thank you to Ian for producing the book and to Kari for writing the introduction.

We're now back and into the last stage of apple bagging for the local cider farm: I have not been nearly as experimental as some of the f-list in the matter of apples, but we're not doing too badly. We overcooked things socially this month, basically by thinking 'oh, it's November, nothing happens then' so have had racing, Samhain, the cinema, Bonfire Night, Cambridge, more racing, then the town carnival and Frost Fair, then a visit to London, and it turns out that the earliest I can arrange dinner with a friend is December 11th. But it's all good.

Date: 2015-11-10 10:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] anna-wing.livejournal.com
I'm glad everything is going well.

It sounds as if the food at Magdalene took a sharp upward trajectory as well, once women were allowed in. I remember how ghastly it was in the old single-sex days (the decision to change had just been taken when I was in Cambridge; various pitiful types walked around with black armbands, the easier for everyone to laugh at them). I hope the sanitation standards went up as well, though they could not really have got lower.

I am looking out for your book, and the Tanith Lee anthology.

Date: 2015-11-10 11:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mevennen.livejournal.com
Thanks!

Yes, I think it did. I remember the black armband brigade: one of them (now, God help us, a MP) subsequently apologised.

Date: 2015-11-10 01:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] anna-wing.livejournal.com
Well, that's something. People do grow up, quite often.

Date: 2015-11-10 01:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mevennen.livejournal.com
I have to say that this is not the sort of person who is usually one of them - but he did apologise, so I'll take it at face value!

Date: 2015-11-10 03:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] expelle.livejournal.com
All sounds really fab!

Date: 2016-02-26 06:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] spacedlaw.livejournal.com
Happy birthday, dear Liz!

Date: 2016-02-26 08:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mevennen.livejournal.com
Thank you! :-)

please revisit winterstrike world!

Date: 2016-06-07 02:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kat s (from livejournal.com)
please please continue the story of Winterstrike! i loved that book and really hope you continue the story! k.

Re: please revisit winterstrike world!

Date: 2016-06-08 06:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mevennen.livejournal.com
Thanks! There might be a novella coming out next year with a small press. I'll keep everyone posted.

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