Wednesday 20 July 2016

Nostalgia in Lancaster

The Romantic Novelists' Association held their annual conference in Lancaster the weekend before last. You may have noticed the photos and reports sloshing around the internet - serious talks and not so serious pics of people holding wine glasses. I went, and yes, thank you, I had a wonderful time. Not without it's sad moments, as last year I only made it to 4 am on Sunday morning. That was when the call came to tell me that mum was in intensive care again. I know she would be pleased that I stayed the course this time.

Anyway, this is my conference post, but not talks and wine glasses. The trip to Lancaster was one I wanted to make, not just for the conference, but because it was where I was at university - as an undergraduate and later as a post graduate. And no - I am not going to tell you when, as we all know that I am not a day over 35 and you might get strange ideas about the way I do maths. 

A lot has changed in the time between then and now. A LOT. Like - er -  most of the campus was not in the same place. And the bits that were still there were different. Which is making me think about the passage of time, and about memory, which is a concept that has interested me ever since reading Pinter for school exams. My walks around the campus were a useful aide memoir of things to look for if you are writing in two (or maybe more) time periods.

  • Lifestyle changes - residence blocks demolished and rebuilt as students now expect en-suite rather than communal showers and toilets.
  • Nature - shrubs and bushes don't stand still as years pass.
  • Some things are less likely to change - nature again - hills and rivers. And large infrastructure - motorways and bridges. A view might be different, but the bones probably remain the same. 

I'm sure it will come out in a book someday. Or more than one. Or maybe it already has?
In the meantime, here is my picture gallery. 

View out of my bedroom window.
The new version of Cartmel College.
Um - it used to be on the other end of the campus. 
Those with exceptional eyesight will just be able to make out the rabbit in the top left corner of the grass. This was nostalgia - they would be having breakfast every morning when I opened my curtains.  
Furness College. Where I used to live.
The residence blocks have been replaced and my  department - history -  is not there any more either.
The bar is in the same place!
I seem to remember this bit of the campus was grass with a few saplings.
I think the trees have grown just a bit. 
The view. Still green, with a small stretch of motorway visible. I used to like to see the lights from the traffic when going home in the dusk by way of the back road around the campus. The perimeter is a lot longer now!



  1. Always interesting to go back to a familiar spot. I'm pleased you enjoyed the conference this year - you deserved it.Angela Britnell

    1. Thanks, Angela. I did have such a good time. Hope to see you there again one day.

  2. I was sorry to miss it this year - Lancaster was my university too. I was in Bowland College - and I remember the saplings. I think we might have been there at a similar (if not the same) time. I'll make it there one day. It's good to take stock. x

    1. Hi Juliet - Sorry you didn't make it - you would have enjoyed it, I know. Bowland was more or less in the same place - and the tower was still there. I suspect the the old Cartmel had been incorporated into the main buildings, but I didn't investigate :)