Text message reads: “I’m doing the red robe shuffle this afternoon if you fancy coming.” A red robe what? John’s full of little textual codes. Best thing to do would be to call him. He answers, and as soon as I hear his voice it dawns on me. He is being made a doctor by Trinity. Of course I’d love to be there. His PhD has been a huge amount of work and stress for us – even for him. This is just John alright. He lets us know that he is graduating on the morning of his graduation. Lucky for me my own university qualifications have left me with a considerable amount of free time. Shower and shave, make sure I have matching socks, and then make sure I don’t outshine the bride. Rushing in through Front Arch I realise that I have missed the exeunt omnes procession, and so head straight for the bun fight in the dining hall. I am surprised that they still allow me in. Typical – there is no sign of John, but there is plenty of free wine and a few nibbles. For all that tuition costs, the nibbles are always slim pickings. Getting in ahead of the herd is the key.


Don’t worry, at length I found him with his proud mam and dad, and his piano teacher Albert, looking dapper in his 007 getup and red and gold cape. I’m proud of him too. It is great to see this mammoth job of work finally done and dusted. Something about Buddhism by all accounts, and there were a great many accounts. All of this reminds me that it is high time that I get back to the books and do another Hogwarts type robed shuffle of my own, but perhaps not a red robed one. The plan was that I would do the same, but the funding dried up. Yes, it was upsetting, but in hindsight it has worked out well. In the meantime I don’t need a doctorate, and I am in the privileged position of knowing a good few doctors now who I can ask to do the doctor things I need done. What is funny is that when I landed up in the hospital not a single one of them were much good. In fairness they were all banned from the wards due to a flu bug apocalypse at the time, but none of them know the first about medicine anyway. Congratulations to John and all the philosophical doctors I know.

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