On Saturday 13 July I finally, properly, celebrated my 40th birthday and being awarded my PhD. I submitted, as you know, at the end of last year and passed the viva in January. Which meant November and December were far too busy to organise anything as complicated as a party. I didn’t quite envisage it taking until mid-July to arrange, but I am rather glad it did. We did not need the ‘dreary wet day’ option of the church hall, because Saturday was hot, sunny and splendid for sitting in Castle Park.
I had a splendid time, despite a few mistakes (time, sandwiches, forgetting about the ice I’d spent ages preparing) – and was utterly, overwhelmingly amazed and – yes – humbled, and not in a Rupert Murdoch way – that so many people joined in. (Or were prepared to, but were prevented by traffic). There were the Twitter contingent from Plymouth, Southampton, Mansfield and Stroud (as well as closer to home), Vanessa and Sophie had adventures on the train from Matlock and all those who ‘just’ travelled from various parts of London. Friends from many parts of life – school, university, previous jobs, London and Colchester churches, and of course my steadfast and loving family.
Thank you, everyone, who baked cakes (and scones), and for just generally showing up to enjoy the afternoon in the park or the evening in the pub. I had some pretty dark and lonely times during the PhD journey, and I worried a lot that once it was over, life would have nothing to hold the loneliness at bay. I wonder, if you had told me then how much fun was there to be tapped, if I would have believed you? Certainly, I want to bottle the glorious sunshine, summeriness and splendour of Saturday to be able to take it out and enjoy the fragrance on a dull, wet November Sunday afternoon. But perhaps I won’t have many of those again, or if the first half of 2013 is anything to go by, I will be grateful for the space and rest.
This is a bit of a gushing blog post. Sorry. Well, I suppose it makes a change from a rant. But I do want to say how utterly and completely blessed I am, and how I’m still quietly bouncingly praising God for his gifts of friendship and for seeing me through the bleak PhD times. I’m still not quite done with the thanks and gratitude for the Holy Land trip, which I am aware I have yet to blog a single word on…
Claire Maxim has some interesting thoughts about the tweet-up aspect of the day here.