I am back after a long three weeks in the UK. I can definitely say I prefer Luxor although it was fantastic to meet old friends like Steve Simpson and his very hospitable wife and part of the family. I drove from Heathrow to their place and it was good to get behind the wheel of a car again. Thanks to the eldest daughter for letting me have her room in Poole, Dorset. After all the comments about safety in Luxor the news of three deaths including 2 murders in Dorset in my first two days put thing in perspective. Luxor is definitely the safest place I have ever lived in.
Colette Mason made my graduation special being my own personal Sherpa and photographer. Helping me get to Manchester on the train after my own personal nightmare of going from Heathrow where I dropped the car to Euston with a heavy suitcase and limited mobility. We got to meet with Andy Humphreys from PCG days, yes Colette; Andy Humphreys is Andrew Peter Humphreys. Next day we went to the museum for a special tour by Campbell Price. I took a quick video of one bit http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151093540241072&set=vb.528791071&type=2&theater
Graduation was special, I found out when I arrived I had been awarded the Year 4 Best Dissertation; the grin on my face says it all. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151094583396072&set=a.10151092756246072.486140.528791071&type=3&theater I also got to see my daughter for the first time for 3 years, although she did confuse a lot of people by arriving with a small child in tow (she was babysitting ok, and does not have anything she needs to tell me). You can catch the graduation ceremony here http://www.egyptologyonline.ls.manchester.ac.uk/newsandevents/ It was really special. One of the students is a long lost cousin and I got to meet her and her mum for the first time. Also all the great and good in Manchester Egyptology. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151094586936072&set=a.10151092756246072.486140.528791071&type=3&permPage=1
Colette and I had a fantastic meal at this Japanese restaurant http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151094577746072&set=vb.528791071&type=2&permPage=1
I then moved to University Halls in Liverpool, the food was fantastic but the beds were awful. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151095753246072&set=vb.528791071&type=2&theater
On the Sunday I went to the Gurob Harem Conference you can view their website for an update. It was good to get presentations by the people involved instead of just reading the website http://www.gurob.org.uk/
Monday was the start of summer school, I especially liked the presentations from some of the PhD students as every single thing was brand new to me. Sadly I missed my tutor Joyce Tyldesleys talk and the cheap beds at halls got the better of me and I ended up in hospital Monday night is appalling pain. The ‘happy’ pills I was given in triage were wonderful but I didn’t see a doctor until the early hours so had to sleep. Bob Connolly’s lecture was the highlight of the conference for me although others were excellent. It was funny how many I knew from Facebook, Twitter and the blog.
I met up with a few friends during the week and on Thursday we had a conference meal at this fab place called the Quarter near the Uni. Friday it fish and chips at the Marine Bar. The weekend was equally busy meeting friends and ravelling to Leeds to spend the night with my daughter. She told me that we were going to have sea bass for dinner and smoked salmon and scrambled eggs for breakfast but when I got there she didn’t feel like cooking and I was dying for a Chinese and she had eaten the smoked salmon but she made up for it by cooking this fantastic Sunday lunch complete with apple sauce which she dashed to the shop to get.
Then it was back to Liverpool by coach and halls, they had replaced my mattress and done their very very best but I was really looking forward to getting back to a firm mattress. So there I was sleep deprived and it was hieroglyphic week which I was not looking forward to at all. In fact I was dreading it. Glynn Godenho who taught my online course started us off. He was fantastic and if you have struggled with glyphs get on a course with him. He demystified it, gave me confidence and I finally cracked it, loads of light bulb moments also Roland Enmarch was massively supportive and made things make sense. We also had two PhD students assisting at the practical sessions Haley Meloy and Dan Potter who were massively helpful. Most of the students left at Friday lunch time but me and one other stuck it out to the end and rewarded by cake from Haley.
On my last night at halls I had a visit from relatives, 15 of them!!!!! My uncle 3 out of 4 cousins and their partners, some of their children and even one of their partners. We had a little party in the reception area and the lovely catering staff were doing a buffet upstairs and brought us all the left over’s. We had loads of food and talked over old times. They all remember my parents and of course my wonderful grandmother who first got me interested in Egyptology http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151124650556072&set=a.10151092756246072.486140.528791071&type=3&permPage=1
Saturday was another challenging day for one of limited mobility as I had to get from Liverpool to Brighton which I did by coach. My friend picked me up from the coach stop and we had a huge Indian meal which was another thing I really craved. Finally some shopping on Sunday for Eid clothes and then on Monday, at last back at Heathrow for my flight home.
It is so good to be back home, with my nice firm mattress, I can tell you I slept well last night. And the fairies had been while I was away leaving me lots of goodies from the UK which I hadn’t had time to buy.