Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A grand graduation

Statues and sky
Originally uploaded by goforchris.
A family graduation? Need a good background for the photies? Nae bother - Versailles seems a good venue. I don't know if that's how the OU decide where to hold their ceremonies, but it was an excellent excuse for the Blethers family to go on an absurdly OTT trip last weekend to see Neil graduate MBA. Clicking on this photo will take you to all the others taken on the day, as well as to some of the rather super hotel we stayed in.

I was incredibly taken with the atmosphere at the ceremony; "ordinary" graduations are exciting enough for the families of those involved, but this was an occasion celebrating the enormous achievement of completing arduous courses of study while - in many cases - holding down an equally arduous day-job. No wonder there was a big round of applause for the families and partners who had supported the new graduates. It was also noticeable that many of those graduating were, well, old. In fact, the effect was that of being surrounded by University dons of the old-fashioned variety - all those gowned figures well into their supposedly declining years.

We personally enjoyed Neil's moment of confusion over French gadgetry in the plumbing at the venue, when a venerable gent in the dark blue of a first degree was heard to remark to his wife that "That chap may have a Master's - but I'd to help him turn the tap on!" The speeches were excellent, demonstrating pride in the achievement and purpose of the OU, and I was delighted to find that the honorary graduate of the day was Quentin Blake, the illustrator of, inter alia, Roald Dahl's books for children.

Versailles was very grand, treacherously cobbled, and crawling with tourists who seemed bemused by the growing number of gowned figures in their midst. The sun shone, a gentle breeze prevented said gowned figures from keeling over with heatstroke, and the kir they served at the closing reception hit the spot admirably. It even crossed my mind that I should stop wasting my time on blethers and try some course of study for myself.

But it sounds rather like work, somehow.


  1. Why don't you apply to be an outside tutor at Jordanhill? Or is *that* even more like hard work?

    You could always come and do a music course. Get the violin out once in a while... :-)

  2. One of the first things to do in retirement is granting oneself the right to do nothing.

  3. Trouble with doing nothing is that nature abhors a vacuum - and mine keeps filling up with stuff!

  4. A member of 8+ 1 was telling me how wonderful you guys were sounding last night! I may be at this concert - in fact I think I am meant to be playing at it. We'll see...

    Got my anual dress-up as a science freak on Friday. Shall be fun-filled and full of laughter!