University of Sussex 50th Anniversary

So, following my week in Brighton, I attended the University of Sussex 50th Anniversary celebrations.

I had chosen to stay over the weekend in student accommodation, and had actually planned ahead. A number of old friends corresponded before the event, and made block bookings, ensuring that we were in the same accommodation.

I booked a flat consisting of 6 rooms, although there were actually 7 of us, as one couple decided to try and emulate their youth by cuddling up together in a single bed. Good luck on that, is all I can say. Other friends had booked into flats nearby, so there were a good number of us who knew each other.

Because I was already in Brighton, I was the first to arrive on Friday, with tea, coffee, milk, bread and cheese.

The student accommodation was nothing like I had seen or experienced before. As I say, 6 single rooms, all with en suite toilet, sink and showers, and a shared kitchen/diner/lounge the size of my own lounge! It was real luxury, the only thing was missing was the flat screen TV. Oh, and the china and cutlery – the university had boasted of the kitchen, but hadn’t warned us that it would be completely bare. Still we managed.

People arrived, one by one, and I kept the kettle busy making tea. It was the usual kind of reunion thing – 20 minutes of polite conversation, after which it was just as if no time had gone by at all.

Leaving a message for stragglers, a crowd of us went up to one of the student bars, and started the evening off in a grand way. After a few drinks, we decided we needed food, only to find that the kitchen had closed at 8:30, not 9:30 as advertised. However, we quickly got the number for the local Dominos pizza who, with persuasion, delivered straight to the bar.

After much pizza, and more beer, we staggered back to the flat, where some switched to wine, and some whiskey. I was in the latter camp, having brought the whiskey, and it was probably a mistake. We finally went to our respective beds at 3am.

I woke up the next morning with a familiar “I shared a litre of scotch last night” feeling, and 20 minutes until the end of breakfast. I made it over there in record time, discovering I was the only one out of our immediate group to do so. I’d paid for it, darnit, and I was going to eat it.

Saturday was a day of events, and we went our various ways, depending on our subjects. I got to hang out in the math and physics faculty with an old friend. We took a tour of the labs, and spoke to some undergraduates, before attending some interesting lectures, including one on the history (and future) of physics at Sussex.

We’d grabbed a light lunch at a math department buffet, so we were all looking forward to the evening food events – fish and chips for some, hogroast of others. Unfortunately, the hogroast consisted of a single slice of (admittedly very tasty) pork in a roll. The fish and chips were similarly “mini”.

Just as I was suggesting that we call out for pizzas again, we were told that they were opening the food bar “without tickets required” for seconds. By this time, many people had already gone in seach of something substantial, so were were able to grab as much pork as we wanted.

I was due to play at the open mike, but we spent too much time over the pork (and talking) that I missed it. So we hit the bar again, although less vigorously than the previous night.

On Sunday, making breakfast was no problem, and then some of us hung out in the coffee shop, while others attended a service. By lunchtime, people were ready to make their way home. I was giving a lift to a friend, so together with another couple, we made our way to Brighton Marina and had a great lunch, before hitting the road.

A great weekend. Some of the folk I had kept in touch with, but some I hadn’t seen since leaving college. Filled with enthusiasm, we all said we would keep in touch in the future. Time will tell.

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