I almost forgot to tell you about my weekend in Saint Andrews a fortnight ago. For some reason the only photographs I took over the four days I spent there were all of whisky glasses - which perhaps explains why I almost forgot to tell you about it. Saint Andrews is a fabulous place - all town and no gown at the moment because the students are still on vacation, and we had warm, sunny summer weather on all four days.
I was there for a conference - a great success with plenty of familiar faces and interesting papers. My own paper wasn't booed off the stage so I'm counting it as a success too. Highlights of the conference social programme were a wine tasting with Billy Kay (the author of Knee Deep in Claret, a book I still find fascinating) and that whisky tasting - 5 malts. I also enjoyed a fruitful half-hour rummage through the shelves of a second-hand book store.
We were all accommodated in Halls of Residence which made me feel as if I was eighteen again - those halcyon days when all of my worldly possessions fitted comfortably into one small room; when I could eat what I liked without getting fat. In memory of those days, I partook heartily of the black pudding and eggs and hash browns and bacon, and lorne sausage on offer in halls every morning. Continental breakfasts could do with a bit of beefing up really, couldn't they?
It just so happens that a couple of my old flatmates live in Saint Andrews so I stayed on for an extra day to spend some time and drink some wine with them. Although we've kept up over the past years, and met up for lunch quite often, I hadn't seen their children for a very long time - turns out they're fully grown adults with responsible jobs and cars and deep voices, which was a little disorienting because I half-remembered them in pushchairs. Good job I didn't take them any presents because they've obviously passed the tube of smarties stage.