Among the Travellers | In the Dark


With Nollaig na mBan yesterday that’s the festive season over for me, and time to resume my sabbatical. Joining the crowd of post-Christmas travellers at the airport, today I took my first flight of 2024, complete with last-minute change of gate, apart from which all went perfectly to plan. I won’t be returning to Barcelona immediately, however, as I have a things to do in various different parts of not-Barcelona.

I’m in Cardiff now, where it is fine and dry but very cold, and spending a few days in Cardiff to start with. After that I’ll be taking a train to London to attend a meeting at the Royal Astronomical Society, followed by dinner at the R.A.S Club on Friday 12th January.

Coincidentally, Friday’s dinner is rather appropriately at the Travellers Club, rather than the usual Athenaeum (which is unavailable for some reason). I couldn’t attend any of these occasions between October and December as I was in Barcelona, and for a couple of years. In fact I haven’t been able to attend much at all since the bicentennial dinner in 2020 because of the pandemic and subsequent workload issues. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to go to any others this year either, so I’m looking forward to Friday (despite having to pay the arrears on my subscription) because it is the Parish Dinner, when new members are elected. Owing to the arcane complexity of the rules, and the fact that it all happens after the consumption of a great deal of wine, this usually makes for an amusing occasion.

Meanwhile, in Maynooth, preceded by a few days of revision lectures and tutorials, the January examinations start on Friday 12th January too. Students will therefore be returning from their breaks, swapping the Christmas decorations for the austerity of the examination halls. Although I’m not involved in examinations this year, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all students at Maynooth and elsewhere all the best for the forthcoming ordeals, and the same for all academic staff whose ordeal by marking will come in due course…

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