Porter was right, as usual. Things seem to be back to normal. Head Porter looks at me with little hurt eyes but I pay no attention. I hope he is not expecting an apology.
This afternoon, I have yet another meeting to attend to. Something to do with maintenance works during the Easter break. Realising I have left my notes in my car, I decide to make my route to The Desiderius Room by way of the car park.
As I make my way to my (badly) parked vehicle, I spy The Dean’s car. The driver’s door is open. As I draw nearer, I see The Dean lunging out of the driver’s seat in the most ungainly fashion. I also notice that The Dean is swearing profusely.
“Deputy Head Porter! Deputy Head Porter! Don’t…go…anywhere!” he squeals. Good Lord, I think, my pace quickening towards him the man is having some kind of seizure!
“Hold on, Sir!” I reply, running to his aid. The Dean leaps from his car and stops me in my tracks.
“Good. I’m glad you’re here,” I’m glad you’re not having a seizure. “My dashboard is showing a fault, I am trying to see if I have a brake light out.” Interesting method of checking a brake light. I thought reversing up to the nearest wall was the usual method, but this man has a PhD so I decide not to question his logic.
“Very good, Sir,” I say, very happy that my day just got easier. “You get back in the car and I will check the lights.”
The Dean hops back in his car and I position myself at the rear of his vehicle.
“It’s the driver’s side brake light, Sir!” I call to him when the little red light refuses to illuminate.
“What? Which one?”
“Driver’s side, Sir!” The Dean hops back out of the car and joins me at the inauspicious location of the back of his car.
“Which one?” he asks again. This is proving more difficult than I first thought. I place my hand over the left hand brake light.
“This one is working,” I explain carefully, before moving my hand to the right side. “This one is not.”
“Bugger bugger bugger,” The Dean curses, albeit far more politely than earlier. “So damned inconvenient! Bugger, bugger!”
“Bugger indeed, Sir.”
“Right! That will be all, Deputy Head Porter”
“Very good, Sir.”
With that, The Dean angrily returns to his vehicle. As I am collecting my notes from my car, he spins his car round and drives ferociously towards the exit. I can’t help but think The Dean is brilliant when he is annoyed. Which is often.
Still chuckling to myself, I continue to The Desiderius Room, notes in hand. As I cross the bridge, the whoops and cries of (very) amateur punters enjoying the river bounce off the walls of The Master’s Lodge and into the crisp spring air. I really must find the time to get out on the river.
The meeting today is being chaired by Junior Bursar and Senior Tutor. There is tea and coffee, but no biscuits. This is probably a good thing, following the fiasco of Senior Bursar’s Biscuits. The meeting is routine enough, until Head Of Maintenance starts talking about the new WiFi installation in the older part of College. Senior Tutor puts down his tea.
“How far does the WiFi extend beyond the actual building?” he asks. Before Head Of Maintenance can reply, Junior Bursar turns to Senior Tutor with an uncharacteristic glint of mischief in his eye.
“About six feet!” He exclaims “Why? Do you want to sit in the car park and download porn?”
There is a split second of shocked silence before Junior Bursar erupts into guttural laughter, shortly followed by my own involuntary giggling. Senior Tutor just looks at Junior Bursar in amusement and disbelief. The likelihood of Senior Tutor downloading pornography in the car park of Old College is negligible. Either way, I’m not one to judge.
As I make my way back towards the Porters’ Lodge, I question the challenge of my own professionalism when Junior Bursar sees fit to make jokes about porn in a formal meeting. I cannot wait to see the look on Head Porter’s face when I tell him about this.