End-of-term statistics

So, it’s already the Winterval holidays. 10 weeks gone by in a flash. Since the start of September, I have:

  • Some essay or other.

    Had 39 hours of lectures, and a further 39 hours of seminars – enough time for Roger Bannister to run between Kingston and Brighton 32 times.

  • Written four essays, totalling twice the length of the US Constitution.
  • Produced ~10 blog-posts, which is more than Margaret Thatcher managed in her whole term of office!
  • Taken 48 books out of the library (the Old Testament only contains 39 books).
  • Returned 2 books to the library (even renowned international book-thief Tony ‘overdue’ McGregor only stole 15 items each term)*
  • Spent about 75 nights in Sussex: so a bit longer than Edward V enjoyed as King of England.
  • Printed 447 pages of paper, roughly 3.5% of the entire Talmud – although not one item of my printing was Talmudic.
  • Forked over £16.73 for printing, and thus paid off one-60528950845th of the UK national debt** (That’s enough silly statistics. -Ed.)

*Not true.

**I know nothing about economics so probably not true.

Oh, and just because fate wouldn’t let the term end on a complete high-note, it was this week when I discovered that the Sussex Students’ Union has rebranded its (‘her’?) Annual General Meeting as Students’ Decide. Insert vomit here. (I think it’s the misplaced apostrophe that offends me most.)

Water pity

The Sussex University Housing Office has a list of repairs and their expected timescales. At one end of the scale, broken desk-drawers etc. should be repaired within a month.

At the other, gas-leaks should be fixed “within 24 hours” – I can just imagine Jack Bauer lying on the floor in the last episode of the season of 24, gasping, as the Porter finally gets round to clearing out the noxious air after 23 hours and 58 minutes (including commercial breaks).

In fact, I don’t even have to imagine it.

Me being cold, wearing an Eskimo jumper and drinking gallons of tea from an oversized mug

However, what was actually quite disturbing is that ‘lack of hot water and heating’ has a target-time of “within 5 working days.” And this isn’t just an absolute maximum. It’s actually how long it takes. As I found out (see left).

Flat 115 was deprived of its heating and water (‘her heating and water’?) on Friday morning, and didn’t get it back until Tuesday afternoon. On Monday, we went down to the Estates Department and asked why nobody had even come to look at it yet. “Because they don’t do jobs after 4o’clock.” I guess they must be one of these overstretched public-sector workers we’re always hearing about!

When a plumber finally deigned to visit us on Tuesday morning, he managed to get it all fixed within a couple of hours, so it’s lucky he delayed his arrival by almost five days. The Housing Office can now be expecting a very stiff letter asking for compensation! Very stiff. On cardboard.

(Oh. And then after I wrote this, it broke again. On Saturday. So we called the 24hr porter – not to be confused with the non-24hr Porter – who flew round on his motorbike immediately and fixed it straight away. And the problem? Someone who had access to the locked boiler cupboard switched it off. Who has access to the locked boiler cupboard? The non-24hr Porter. Hmm.)

The sun never sets on the British Empire (except when the damned heating’s broken…)

We had one lecture on The Age of Empire, with particular focus on how nasty Belgium was in their treatment of their colonies. Of course, I knew all this already, having read Tintin in the Congo


This Tintinesque excerpt doesn’t necessarily represent the opinion of the blog author or of the University. And what’s more, the use of the word ‘necessarily’ doesn’t imply that the excerpt actually does represent the opinion of the blog author or of the University.

The Awards Corner

This week’s Least Suicidal Nation Award goes to the United Kingdom (You’ve plagiarised the phrase ‘United Kingdom’ from some book, I think. -Ed.) because, according to the BBC:

That said, there’s not really a decent alternative to life. Next up, the Sarah Palin Order of Merit for Insightful Social Commentary is awarded to David Cameron:


The Best Public Protest of the Week Prize goes not to the striking workers, but to a snake-charmer from northern India:

The This Must Have Ruffled Some Feathers Prize naturally has to go to the subject of this (surprisingly, genuine) BBC News story:

A Christmas Campbell – with real Scrooge

where's the wally
“Where’s the wally?” – Spot the foolish, self-important MP in this photo.

I found myself unable to resist the allure of your friend and my alter-ego Sir George Campbell M.P., so I took a break from researching an essay on 19th-century politics to look him up online. It turns out that I’m not the first person to poke fun at him, but have simply joined a long line of people who’ve noticed quite how ridiculous Sir George was.

An 1870s journalist recorded how “Campbell was positively and literally hooted as I have never heard a man hooted in the House of Commons.” And that journalist should know all about being laughed at. His name was Sir Henry Lucy.

Lucy revealed how, on one occasion, Georgie C spoke about “a band of devoted guerillas,” but when this was mis-heard in the predictable way, he was laughed into silence. (I have to say, I prefer the idea of devoted gorillas.)

Anyway, this week’s Campbellism shows the great man in 1885, whining and complaining to a Parliamentary committee about the streets of London being “thick with telephone wires” and threatening to cut them down with an axe. Telephones? Bah humbug!

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