Treated myself, and my PhD student Steve (well, we split the bill) to a rarity for me, a working lunch, courtesy of the huge Tai Wu restaurant that sits just next door to the campus. And the dim sum were very fine. I’m still glad it’s Friday, though.
On 4th December 2020, a year ago, I had my one and only day of face-to-face teaching in the whole of the academic year 2020-21. The students last year had a difficult time of it for reasons that were totally (taken) out of their control, but most of them made it through. Including Mithila, seen on the left here, who as a result of having finally received her results, invited me to have a mulled wine on her at the Christmas market. Cheers, and well done all. (And hi to the colleague too, who clearly wanted to be in on the photo as well.)
Perhaps it is a little unfair to return to this theme again, because coming back through Manchester city centre in the afternoon, it was busier than I have seen it in a very long time — probably since Christmas 2019. The British populace is supporting the hospitality industry in its time of need, put it that way. But the teaching spaces at uni remain unused. However, I have some one-to-one meetings to organise and this gazebo looks a good place to check out. Like everyone else, I hope the sunshine continues for several weeks.
Misty and cold at home, but sunny and mild in Manchester all day, sun which filled the public spaces of campus with students, at least compared to how it’s been for the last two months. ‘Without making a political point out of it, the idea of ‘lockdown’ is just no longer being confirmed by observation. Small businesses are still being shafted, but otherwise, many people have obviously just returned to living their lives.
For the first time since the 6th March, face-to-face contact with actual University of Manchester students. And even then I should apparently not have been doing this. However, I’ve kinda stopped caring. I like this picture because it was just the shot I wanted to take when I pressed the shutter, and I got it on the first attempt. Mug, mask, maze of wires and all.
First trip to campus since March 8th, which as it was a Sunday, already had a desolate, end-of-the-world feel about it that the subsequent closure has cemented in place. On the few days over lockdown that I have visited, all of the city of Manchester has seemed like a coma patient. There is a certain amount of internal activity, things moving around from place to place, but there’s no real life or consciousness to it. This guy looks very much like he’s pondering his future and so should we all. Plants are doing well, though.
2017-18 is my thirteenth academic year at the University of Manchester, meaning that today was the 39th opening day of a term there. Samuel Alexander has seen more than me, certainly as a bust in the foyer of his eponymous building: but according to his memorial he did 31 years as a functioning professor (of Philosophy) so I’ll catch him up in, er…. 2036.
It’s student video-making season: Sissi (bottom left) becomes the latest to come to my office and point a camera at me for sundry purposes. While she reviewed her footage, I became intrigued by her tripod. This is an inanimate object with a secret inner life if ever there was one. People go to certain clubs dressed like this.