Sunday, 18 September 2011

Summer's Over - Back to Uni

Well the summer's almost come to an end. University properly gets going again on Monday. We were relatively curtailed in our activities over the summer as my mum's been in hospital for quite a while, but it was good to spend some time back with the family. After some anxious waiting, my sister got her Highers results in and got a brilliant 5As. She should stand a good chance of getting to do her preferred course (Law) at University when she applies later this year. I'm really pleased for her as she worked hard and is really focused on what she wants to do. I spent two weeks working at my old school as a caller in their alumni fundraising campaign which was challenging but good fun.

I went along to the Pie and Bovril 5s in June, which, is a football tournament held by Scotland's biggest online football forum. It's always good fun and an excuse to have a few beers and a chin wag with the people behind the avatars. Whether it's a St Mirren fan in Cambridgeshire exile or a Linlithgow Rose maths geek, they're all a great laugh. This year the post-tournament venue was The Arc in Glasgow City centre which is a great venue and the weather was good enough for us to sit outside. One of the highlights of the evening was watching the initiation ritual to which the Welsh National Fencing Team were subjected, namely trying to eat a whole raw leek as quickly as possible without vomiting!

Dad and I spent the summer tentatively looking around for my first car. I've said before I really want a classic rather than just a new hatchback, and sharing my dad's enthusiasm for older cars, I was prepared to put in the time to restore an older car if required. The problem with it being based in Aberdeen is that there aren't that many cars within close distance to go and take a look at. I was especially keen to acquire an MG B or Midget, as my dad also owns an MGB GT which is a cracking wee car. We first took a look at a car we found on eBay that turned out to be a complete rust-bucket. The driver-side door wouldn't shut after we opened it and it would have required thousands of investment and substantial rebuilding to become roadworthy. A few weeks later we decided to take a look at another GT, which whilst very tired and in need of a fair bit of work was at least a solid enough shell. The guy looking to sell it runs a classic car business and had panels from other cars he was willing to include in any deal to help us with a rebuild project. We gave it serious thought but in the end we concluded that for the moment it wasn't something we could be sure of committing to, but it's definitely something we'll look at again. It was certainly a valuable learning experience and whilst I would want to consult my dad when buying my first car, I now feel as though I have a much better idea of what to look for as "tell-tale signs" of problems in a classic.

I caught up with old school-friends, most of whom I don't see so much of now they're in Edinburgh. I don't say it much, but they're all great people. I look forward to catching up with them all again at Christmas, if not before then. I'm sure I'll head across at some point over the next couple of months. Quick shout out to Chris Dyer who is on his languages year abroad studying in Malaga and Milan.

Since getting back to Glasgow I attended Nick Clegg's well documented meeting with Lib Dem activists in the city, replaced a broken cooker hood, been to a few Thistle games, and finished a summer marathon viewing of The West Wing. Whilst the summer has been light relief, it has latterly dragged on a little and I'm actually glad to be getting back to work at Uni. With this being my junior honours year, I'll be focusing on honours courses of my own choosing rather than solely taking core courses, which I hope will be more rewarding. I'm especially looking forward to my Law course about the Scots Law Human Rights context and my second semester Politics option on Egalitarianism and its Critics. Whilst it will be good to see people again, it will be a fair bit quieter this year, especially in semester two, as lots of people will be studying abroad. John's already in Toronto and seems to be enjoying himself with a frenetic workload and ample other stuff to keep him amused. He was impressed with Thistle in their 1-1 draw against Hamilton when I roped him along to Firhill in August so hopefully I can persuade him back when he returns! I'm looking to get more involved in the local Lib Dem and the Uni Debating scenes if time allows!

After a difficult start, Thistle are really picking up some form. Just yesterday we dispatched Ayr in a comfortable 4-0 victory. The First Division is really tight after 6 games, only 2 points separating 2nd top from 2nd bottom. We look really settled as a team now and McNamara could really make a big impact if we keep this up.

Who knows what the next year holds? Bring it on.

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