Lovely spring day, yesterday. The previous owner of the house, a Professor Whittaker, was a keen plantsman who contrived that there be blossoms at all seasons. So I watched the butterflies and bumblebees and bees in the garden as I lunched well on Canteloupe and Prosciutto [notice the Father Zed touch here], and then fell asleep in the sun. We walked down to the Isis to see the last day of Torpids: Senior Grand-daughter's College was Head of the River. How noisy these triumphs do make the young people! My own college, Hertford, achieved Blades. Even that created massive decibels.
Then on to Holy Rood, just a stone's throw from the river, to sing the Ordinariate Vigil Mass at 6.00. Among the visitors, from all over the world, a lady with Anglican Previous who expressed great pleasure at again hearing We do not presume ...
Simple pleasures, all of them.
Senior Grand-daughter is sitting Prelims this week. Perhaps those of you who believe in a helping-hand prayer for nervous undergraduates ...
8 March 2015
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Oh, that explains all those boaty chaps and chapesses coming away from the river as I was heading towards Holy Rood. If I'd known in advance, I'd have gone along to watch.
Father, I will gladly say a prayer for your granddaughter in her hour of need, but could you explain to a redbrick oik ("the Godless institution in Gower Street", thank you, Dr Arnold) exactly what a Prelims is, or are?
I rather like your 'godless institution'; a friend had dining rights there and I very much enjoyed joining him.
Prelims is simply the Preliminary Examination which the young people take one, or two, terms after going up (Oh dear, is that another piece of Oxbridge condescension?). Pompous subjects such as the one I read (=studied) had instead a bulkier examination after five terms of a four year course. The Final Examination is called Schools; or rather, it was until undergraduates started adopting redbrick (your term!) lingo. (Some of them now even use the vile term Yewnee.)
Thanks for the prayers!
Father: Some Prelims now take place in Trinity - well, I say 'some', but I really mean 'English Prelims'. When the new syllabus came in, English Mods became English Prelims. Disgusting innovation, that's wot I says.
Well, Father, when I was an undergraduate at THE redbrick institution, Birmingham, nearly half a century ago, we still "read" our subjects, went up and came down. But on one matter I must take you to task: "uni" is no more objectionable than "varsity" . (Compare Alec/Sandy.)
In my day Jurisprudence had Mods, not Prelims; I think that is still the case.
I was told that there is a difference, that for one you have to pass every paper, for the other just pass overall, but I don't know if that is true (and cannot even remember which way around it was supposed to be).
I rather agree, Alan. See my 17 November 2014 (footnote).
On Paxman's University Challenge, I always listen carefully to see which of them are Studying and which are Reading.
I always thought you read for a bachelor's degree and studied for a higher degree. I'm so glad however that everybody clearly understands the difference between Torpids and the May Eights.
Is it Patrimony to 'Read for Orders'?
Between this column and reading Brideshead Revisited (which I started recently) I am definitely in need of an Oxbridge-English dictionary. However I am glad to see people hanging on to their vocabulary and not allowing themselves to be assimilated into the homogenizing of the modern world.
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