Durham: Ten Years On

It’s ten years this week since the Gap Year I’ll Never Be Accused Of Talking Too Much About * ended and I began a social sciences degree at Durham University. I spent the whole of Freshers Fortnight a) in queues b) listening to Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine by The Killers, which I didn’t realise is actually about a bloke accused of rape until about a year later. I applied to Durham because of a passing recommendation by the first ever person I interviewed for a long piece of journalism, who was a 30-year-old alumnus trying to make small talk with an awkward 17-year-old budding journo in the only way she could. Not the smartest way to choose a university, but I’ve met some of the nicest, most extraordinary people I know as a result – not only among my contemporaries but more recently through work too – so I’m very glad I did. I don’t want to write a proper Ten Years On reflection right now, as I’m madly busy with other things, and trying to box my life back into something called a shape. Hopefully in another three years’ time, when it’s been ten years since graduation, I’ll have done that and be in a more secure place. I’ll never pass up an opportunity to post pretty photos, though, so have a look at these. Some were taken during a recent flying visit back on the way to a Work Thing, others are from my geriatric undergraduate digital camera. You can probably tell the difference…

Probably one of the best known views of Durham
Probably one of the best known views of Durham
Always takes your breath away no matter how many times you see it
Always takes your breath away no matter how many times you see it
Framwellgate Bridge (I think)
Framwellgate Bridge (I think – there are so many bloody bridges in Durham I’ve forgotten them)
College grounds
College grounds
The bit they don't show you in the brochure
The bit they don’t show you in the brochure
Playing with filters
Where I lived in the first and third year. Not normally as spooky as this.
My walk to lectures
My walk to lectures
The winter it snowed
The winter it snowed quite a lot
My bedroom in the first year
My bedroom in the first year, newly renovated (before that, all the rooms looked like 70s Tube stations…) Seeing George W. Bush’s perplexed face daily from my bed was disconcerting, yes…
Demo
This was on a day trip to London to protest Bush’s state visit. The blonde blob is me, post-Fresher’s Fortnight. I’ve no idea who the girl next to me is, and I’ve never had anything to do with the SWP; I assume she Just Turned Up the way they Just Do.

* …because the furthest I travelled during it was to visit my aunt, and the only drugs I took were beta-blockers. Which didn’t really do anything. In that sense, I might actually have had the only interesting gap-year memoir in the western hemisphere, if I’d felt up to writing it…. (incidentally, 2011-13 have been crazy years, much as 2001-3 were: is there some rule of thumb related to having a crazy two years once a decade!?)  

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