What a week!

It’s been quite a week. Last Monday we flew to the UK, intending to visit my mother, Lorna Arnold, in Oxford and attend the ceremony at which she was to receive an honorary doctorate. It soon became apparent that she wasn’t going to be well enough to leave hospital for the occasion, so on Saturday I attended the ceremony on her behalf and accepted her D.Litt. scroll from the Vice Chancellor of Reading University.
After the event, there was a lunch with a couple of dozen distinguished guests – academics, scientists, MoD, and writers. Obviously they had expected to hear a speech from my mother, so on Thursday I had taken my camcorder to the hospital and recorded a short message from my mother to her friends. At the lunch, I simply held up my laptop and played back the video clip. Then I made a few remarks of my own. I hadn’t prepared anything, and I can’t really remember what I said, but it seemed to be well received. After lunch, we headed back to the hospital in Abingdon to give the scroll (and photos and DVD of the event) to my mother.
Yesterday we left Oxford and headed over to Cambridge. We hadn’t got any firm plans – the previous week had been so ad hoc that planning had been the last thing on our minds. On a whim, we decided to overshoot Cambridge and go on to Ely, where we spent a happy couple of hours exploring the Cathedral. The experience was enhanced by the fact that the choirboys were rehearsing for a concert.
So now we’re in Cambridge, at the Best Western Gonville. It’s a great hotel, unlike any other Best Western I’ve stayed at. Today I have meetings in Cambridge, and then tomorrow we’ll catch up with some family members en route to Ipswich.