Mission Accomplished

Despite the tiny size of the available car, I was able to retrieve the Charleesi from university yesterday. Even better, I was able to do so in one round trip. We’re still not entirely sure how we did that – there is a suspicion that the Fiat500 is actually a Tardis.

Fortunately, while playing Tetris with bags, books, and assorted household goods we had sunshine and a gentle breeze. Even the Charleesi’s traditional moment of locking herself out of her own flat was taken in good humour by the concierge who ambled over to let her back in to empty the recycling bin.

And so there it is – the end of one chapter, and the beginning of another for the Charleesi. I still can’t believe we fit all that in such a small car…

Rescue Plans

Its that time of year when we remember that the Charleesi is still stuck at university and that we really should look at how to bring her home safely.

So Sunday has been set as our target, and we shall retrieve her and her worldly possessions. Somehow. I say this because our car is in for repairs and we have a tiny Fiat500 as a courtesy vehicle in the meantime.

This, as they say, will be interesting. We might get our car back before the weekend but I’m not counting on it. I shall instead be seeing if we can arrange a series of journeys over the next few days.

What’s the worst that could happen?

The Charleesi Is At University

This time last week, we dropped the Charleesi off at her brand new accomodation at Oxford Brookes. By brand new, I mean that it had literally been finished about a week before.

Oh no, its a confusion of MaidmentsAccompanied by her three parents (myself and the former and current Ladies M), the Charleesi learned she had one of the biggest rooms on the landing (due to an architect’s measuring error), and got to grips with the RFID electronic keys managing security and room access. An initial unpacking, a quick shop for provisions, lunch and some minor parental flapping later, she was free to nest and unpack properly as we got out the way.

And barring a quick resupply of bed linen as the bed was larger than anticipated, we’ve largely left her to enjoy Fresher’s Week.

Small snippets of information have been carefully unpacked in our direction by the Charleesi to reassure us: of being walked home from the pub; of an evening in a speakeasy that required riddle answering to gain entry; of tempting other English students to her room with offers of Prosecco and Guardians of the Galaxy; and of a massive fresher’s foam party last night.

She has described it as a mixed week – of good bits and not so good bits, and that’s largely a function of her introvert nature reacting to the social maelstrom around her – but overall it seems to be a good start.

Oh, and she’s been asked to write an Introvert’s Guide to Fresher’s Week by The Tab – so welcome to the writing profession Charleesi!

On the University Open Day Trail

One of my brothers helped immeasurably last week by loaning me the use of his visitor parking permit while the Charleesi and I made a lightning visit. These last few weeks have seen the ex-Lady M and I splitting out the duties of escorting the Charleesi to a number of university open days around the country. 

Last week was Durham and Cambridge, with Exeter, York and Bristol having previously featured in what must feel like an erratically plotted band tour itinerary. We’ve collectively managed to keep our spirits up through the travel fatigue despite the best efforts of public transport, but driving to Cambridge did feel like a luxurious option, it must be said.

The Charleesi has certainly taken a lot on, and has now started to complete her UCAS form and practice her personal statements. Her tutors have been pushing her towards Oxbridge options most if the year, but I was proud to hear her put her foot down and say she wasn’t applying for anything until she’s seen it. She was heard to ruefully mutter that she’d hoped not to like Cambridge after our visit, so I think another stretch goal has been added to her personal targets this week.

At least her AS levels are complete now, so some of the pressures she’s taken on have eased for a while and she can contemplate some form of summer. Hopefully there will be some work in there so she keeps busy, but it’s nice to see the sunshine begin to reemerge from behind the clouds of stress.

So, another week; let’s see what’s in store now…


The Charleesi has reached that time in her life where she has started to consider what comes after her A-Levels. Actually, that’s not entirely true, she’s been thinking about it for a while, it’s just that the process of looking at universities has begun in earnest this week.

Over the next few weeks, accompanied by either myself or her mother, the Charleesi plans to visit the places she is considering for reading her degree. I’m both relieved and bemused by how far and wide she’s looking. Relieved because her proposed choices are based on the courses of study and reputation rather than proximity to home and familiar territory; bemused because of how much travelling is lined up this month as a result.

This week saw the first visit, to Exeter. It’s one of the places I looked at when I was her age, so when I next see her I’ll be interested to hear what she made of it and how it has changed since my visit. For now, I have the photos she’s sent me and the chatty messages describing her journey.

If I had any doubts that she’s grown to be a formidable young woman, her excitement and focus in arranging her itinerary and areas of proposed study would have firmly dispelled them. I couldn’t be prouder, and I must admit to being envious. My recollection is of being nowhere near as driven and organised as she is.

Holiday Plans

Or rather, a lack thereof, certainly for this year is exercising this bear of little brain’s mind. It’s just as well the library work is staying part time so I can keep time for myself and the writing.


It also means that finding time to help get the Charleesi to visit upcoming university open days will be a bit easier. We’ve just started to work out the next few months’ logistics and hopefully I’ll only need a few strategically placed leave requests to handle some overnight stays.

So that’s good, if mildly terrifying, to contemplate. As with most things she contemplates, there’s a certain organised inplacability about the lists of prospectuses ordered, tickets being ordered and likely grade requirements being produced in the handouts she’s producing for us mere mortals her parents…

So, probably no Disney or wild extravaganzas to be detailed here a while, but we do have some plans for Christmas 2017 that should be pretty awesome.