Monday, 30 July 2012

Horsing around in Greenwich

As the colourful banners go up all around Greenwich so we have settled into our roles as the Clearing Reception team.

We’ve had lots of fun with my camera.  Two weeks ago was graduation week and the Maritime Campus was filled with graduates looking amazingly spick and span in their flowing robes accompanied by families bursting with pride.  An undergraduate degree is such an achievement and represents more than just meeting the academic requirements of the course as students learn to study independently, juggle precarious finances, and achieve a work /life /study /social activities balance.  So often it can feel easier to just chuck it all in and do something a lot easier.  I know that feeling so well.







I also met some of the graduates of the masters and doctoral programmes. Getting through those programmes is such an amazing achievement and the golden robes of the new doctors shone in the summer sunlight. The ceremonies took place in the superb setting of the Painted Hall and the Chapel on the Maritime Campus.  The beaming family members bustled around bursting with pride as they posed for pictures we put up on the uni facebook page uniofgreenwich.

With the graduation ceremonies over, it was full steam ahead to transform the campus into a magnificent entrance way for the Olympic Equestrian events in Greenwich Park.  We now have a bridge across the main road, banners flapping everywhere and hospitality tents that have sprung up everywhere like giant mushrooms unexpected places.  Lunch-time becomes a veritable obstacle course as we negotiate our way through tourists, Olympic ambassadors, and summer course students.  It is very lively made even more so by the very welcome sunshine. 

Banners

Road sign

Road bridge

The View from the third floor of Queen Mary Building

Amongst all this excitement, we now have our three reception areas set up in Queen Anne and Queen Mary buildings on the Maritime campus and in the Student Common Room on the Mansion site in Avery Hill.  We are meeting a variety of people who pop in to ask mainly about clearing but sometimes for directions to the loo and to other educational establishments completely unconnected to us.

In between chatting to people, we are doing Live Chat, an MSN service where we are ‘meeting’ people from all over the world.  I thought I would get really stressed out doing it because I thought I was a really slow typist but I am learning that there are lots of people slower than me which is great for my confidence.

Today was the equestrian eventing in Greenwich Park and you could tell when something exciting was happening from the whoops and cheers coming across to us from the park.  There were 50,000 people in the audience and the atmosphere was electric.  At lunchtime I popped out to watch some of it on the Big Screen set up by the river.  People sat in the deckchairs transfixed by the action and the skill of the horses and riders. I was lucky to catch the British athlete Mary King competing to the extra loud roars of the crowd. The jugs of Pimms were very tempting but with an afternoon of work still to do I had to resist the temptation.

Big screen
I do not have tickets for the Olympics this year so I am very glad I got to go to the trials last year with my horsey daughter Kate.  We got to see the course and watch the British riders testing it all out.  I was worn out by the end of that day as I trailed behind a very enthusiastic Kate rushing around to watch all her heroes – and actually I must agree with her that William Fox-Pitt does look rather good in his jodphurs. 


William Fox-Pitt - see what I mean?

Picture Credit: Willaim Fox-Pitt jumping: http://www.highoffleystud.co.uk/stableexpress/images.asp?id=1260
                          William Fox-Pitt standing- taken at the equestrian trials Greenwich Park 2011

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