One of the nice things about my degree was that it was a joint honours course i.e. I studied two subjects instead of one. In those days before computerised timetabling, a certain amount of work was needed to try to work out when any teaching was going to be done, especially after the first year when there were almost no lecturers and everything was done by way of tutorials.
As the tutorials would change each term or semester (depending upon topic) so your timetable would, too. And to add to the fun, not everyone studied the same combination of subjects (there were only two of us taking my exact degree), which sometimes meant that finding a time that everyone could be in the same room together took a while. In fact, it wasn’t uncommon to spend the entire first tutorial (which would be set at a random time to suit the tutor) trying to find a time when everyone could attend. On one occasion, even these random tutorials clashed and I found myself spending a whole semester having to attend a ninety minute class which began at 5.30pm on a Tuesday.
What I realised rather quickly was that there was very little communication between any of the individual departments. This meant that it was quite easy to schedule events to suit myself, simply by pretending that I had tutorials in my other subject at any inconvenient time that might be suggested. By this simple method, I eventually ended up packing the whole eight hours of teaching per week into the period between midday on Tuesday and midday on Thursday, leaving me with lots of time to do pretty much anything I wanted.
This tactic for some reason endeared me to one of the female students in one of my tutor groups, Angela, and we became friends – something helped by the fact that her best friend was in some of my classes for my other subject.
Another quaint thing which the university had at the time and which has since been overtaken by technology was something called the Publicity Circular or ‘Pub Circ’ as it was commonly known. This was a typewritten sheet – or sheets – which were distributed around the campus each lunchtime. The intention, obviously, was to publicise events taking place around the university, but for a small fee of something like two pence per word you could have your own message inserted in it.
For reasons which are no longer clear to me, Angela and I began sending each other messages through Pub Circ, referring to her as ‘Sid’ after a character in a popular series of commercials at the time.
Being more than a little dim, what I failed to realise was that this was all a form of flirting on Angela’s part – a precursor of the internet dating site, I guess – and so I did nothing about it at all, not even when she agreed to come dry slope skiing with me despite never having skied before.
Eventually, the penny did drop – but only because she came up to me at the Christmas Ball, demanded a Christmas kiss, and then didn’t let go of me all evening. I couldn’t believe my luck, put back my departure home at the end of term by a day to spend as much time with her as possible. And then she dumped me on the day she returned after Christmas. Which was pretty much the course of all of my relationships back in those days.