It's a bit strange to spend you afternoon saying officially goodbye to two people and then being told "see you Monday" by both. But that's the way things are going! James has actually moved, but is back for a few days to sort some last things out up here. Paul has decided he won't move until he's sold his house. They would both be in the office the Monday after their goodbye do!
James had already said goodbye to his nearest and dearest. Paul still might. But the school wanted to say farewell to one employee of 32 years and one that had been around for half that time. Due to circumstances it was organised by the previous head of school. For me the timing was somewhat awkward; the module I was teaching,which had officially been James' but had been taught last year by Paul, had a guest lecture in the middle of it. Oh dear.
I met the guest speaker, Professor Tavi Murray from Swansea University, before noon, as she was also the lunch seminar speaker. After her excellent lecture we took her to the pub for lunch. Not an awful lot later the goodbye ceremony started. I sat with Tavi; just when she said "shall we go to the lecture room" the former head of school stood up and requested everyone's attention. Unfortunate timing! But what can one do. Paul had booked this lecture...
We went to the lecture room, and got her logged in and set up. I introduced her but then I ran away. I had to get my access card as the doors of the buildings close at 4PM instead of 6PM these days. I just caught the last bit of Chris' speech! And then I caught both James and Paul's return speeches. Good!
After the official bit we went to the pub. I am not keen on pub visits; I'd rather go home early and sober. But it was a special occasion! I nursed a pint and a half while I first chatted with some colleagues, and then joined James' table where he was telling his tallest stories. And tall they are! But then James went away and several others went off for dinner, so I went home. I gave James a hug; in a way this should be the moment of farewell but I'm not sure it will actually feel that way.
What the school will do with this serious damage to Geological Oceanography is not decided. They do want to replace James but I heard some rumours that higher university management doesn't want to spend the money. I hope the damage won't be too severe! James gone is a serious amputation; if nothing is allowed to grow back it will be quite a disaster. The wound could even get gangrenous... but let's not despair too soon. At least this term the programme runs as normal! And it looks like James is settling in nicely in the south. And that's important!