When I say “old friend” I mean a friend for a long time, rather than someone who is old. Although, at age 46, when we’ve known each other for over a quarter of a century, both definitions arguably apply!
Dr Nick, whom I met at Wolverhampton University back in 1991, stayed in academia and now has a lovely wife, family and home. I only saw the latter during my visit as the two former had left us alone to drink, swear and catch up – all of which we did, in abundance.
It was particularly nice to have nothing to do except talk: about our families, our children, our work, our experiences with depression, and about old times; but mostly we discussed current affairs. Sort of. Dr Nick’s an academic, so I was keen to hear what he thought about stereotyping, about safe spaces and trigger warnings in universities. Basically, anything we found mutually interesting – which was a lot – and it was nice to have a proper, lengthy, intelligent discussion, not least because it made me feel smarter.
Cardiff was really nice, too. Big enough to be interesting, but small enough not to overwhelm during the course of a 36-hour visit. We visited quite a few great pubs, serving all manner of weird and wonderful beers, many of which I tried, and some of which I enjoyed.
I was able to visit thanks to the exceptional generosity of my friend Liz, who drove us to the Ridgeway; my parents, who lent me their car to getto Cardiff; and Dr P, who put me up and paid for all of our (not inconsiderable!) food and drink. Thank you all!
Dr P’s generous offer to pay for everything wasn’r because an academic’s salary is so genrous, but rather because a freelance writer’s is so meagre. Money has been getting a bit tight at home, as both my income and savings have been falling… Fortunately, there’s been some very very good news on that front, as I’ve been offered a new job, this time at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society as their Digital Content Lead, an interesting job, a nice team, an exceptionally good salary, and – perhaps most important of all – an office in the centre of London with a not-too-arduous commute. 🙂
In fact, everything about the job seems so good that it’s making me nervous – am I definitely up to this job? Thanks to everyone who’s pointed out that I passed every test and exercise they set me, and was completely honest during the interviews, and they still chose me, so fingers crossed, I really am the person for the job.
I start on Monday…