M is also a member of the Royal Geographic Society (being also a geographer) and so from time to time when they have interesting speakers we pop along to the Turner Sims at Southampton Uni and sit and listen. We've seen Ben Fogle, Dr. Alice Roberts and a bloke whose name escapes me because it was several years ago talking about a trip he made in the footsteps of Shackleton. Great Stuff.
A few months ago M (knowing my feelings for Mr Crane) asked whether I'd like to see him give a lecture on mapping, so last night we duly went along and listened for two hours while he regaled us with his adventures. I had a gin, which helped take my mind off the man sitting behind who kept rubbing his knees on me.
I was a bit Star Struck and did come over a tiny bit faint at the proximity of Mr Crane (we were in the second row) and had to pinch my fingers in order to remain calm. I experienced a brief moment of unbridled madness when I considered reaching out and touching him, but luckily sanity stepped in just in time and reminded me that that would be a bit weird, plus I might get arrested and miss the lecture. So I contented myself with asking M whether he thought I should ask Mr C for his autograph. M replied with a story about David Mitchell, who once apparently had a girl ask him to sign her
Unfortunately, the hall decided to go quiet at that moment and so our neighbours were treated to my guffaws and my husband postulating whether that kind of thing might have happened to Mr Crane. When I tell you that the overwhelming demographic in terms of the audience for RGS lectures is around eighty and fairly staid, you'll understand that a debate about whether or not the Speaker may or may not have been asked to sign someone's breasts at the end of one of his lectures is not a topic of conversation they necessarily expected to overhear, especially at a cartography lecture. The knees behind me wobbled even more frantically and I thought the poor old chap was going to have a heart attack.
I had another fit of giggles at half time when I went for a wee and the old lady in the cubicle next to me let rip three ginormous farts in quick succession. I had to stuff my scarf into my face to prevent the giggles getting out, and then panicked when I left in case the ladies queuing thought it was me.
Mr Crane is an Old Fashioned Explorer. He packs his rucsac with minimal kit, grabs a map and compass and sets off to walk mountain ranges, or lines on maps such as 2 degrees West, or ancient trails around the Globe for months at a time with his trademark elegant black brolly seeing what occurs along the way, and then he writes books about his experiences. There are no gadgets, nothing highbrow or technical, just simple, straightforward open-hearted enjoyment of the land and its people and a determined ability to keep going no matter what the landscape throws at him. The simplicity of that approach resonated with me. All he needs to traverse the globe is a map and compass and an ability to reach out to people and engage with them.
It was totally inspiring and completely justified my admiration of him. Go Nick!
In other news, we're off to a Dinner Dance tonight. I have my dress sorted. Nothing too fancy as it's not Black Tie. In the usual way of these things I fully expect the dresses to range from simple to OTT. Mine is somewhere in the middle: a purplish number with an old-fashioned collar that I love decorated with birds (appropriate) from White Stuff, and a pair of flat ballet pumps that cost the princely sum of thirteen quid from New Look. M is treasurer of the Running Club, whose awards evenings this is, so I shall have to be On My Best Behaviour (boo).
I'm not filled with confidence about the meal- there were two choices on the menu and one of them involved Black Pudding. Is that a weird option to put on a limited menu, or is it just me? In days of yore when I ran a pub with my first husband (see what a chequered life I have led) we would not have put BP on the menu unless it was an additional option.
I've just picked up some new glasses which make me look very Studious and Academic. They probably also make me look half-blind as they contain varifocals, which means I have to turn my head now whenever I want to look at something instead of just my eyes, otherwise the blur on the edges makes me feel sick.
'Look with your nose' instructed Chris, who fitted them for me yesterday, 'And whatever you do, don't drive in them until you're used to them.' I forgot that when I grabbed them and stuffed them on my face in order to take L to school this morning (running late as usual through the pouring rain), but there seemed to be sharpness and clarity wherever I gazed and the expression on L's face when he got out of the car at the school gates and as usual ignored my 'bye darling, have a good day,' was his normal Early-Morning-Grumpy-Teen look, so I guess that means my eyes have adjusted :o)
I've got a tonne of college work to get through which is a pain because it's a beautiful sunny day here now the torrential rain of the night has cleared and I'd much rather be outside, although I suppose I have just got back from an hour in the woods with the dogs. I gave a butterfly lecture to the trees. I have to deliver it at college in a few weeks and needed to practice. The trees were all impressed (there were no boos) and they had no suggestions for improvement either, which was nice. Even Pop stopped sniffing a cowpat she'd found in the neighbouring field and sat down to listen with her head cocked on one side. This was a marked improvement on yesterday when she discovered a wet sloppy stinky fox poo and immediately rolled her head and neck in it. Needless to say she had a very cold and unappealing shower under the hosepipe in the garden when we got home and spent the next ten minutes shivering and staring reproachfully at me while Ted hid under a bush in case he was next.
I really had better stop waffling and get started on my Global Biomes assignment.....
I'll leave you with this morning's birdy shots from the garden and wish you all a Lovely Weekend.