Last summer I spent most of my holiday down in Southampton working the summer Open Days and practising with my band. By contrast, this summer I haven’t been in Southampton at all since I left after the Grad Ball in early June. However, during the last week, I have visited Southampton twice.
If you’ve been on campus, have friends in third year or follow the University of Southampton via social media, you’ll have noticed that the two week graduation period got underway last week. On the first Tuesday of the graduation period I went down to see and support my sister and my girlfriend, who were both graduating with History degrees.
It was a strange day for me. On one hand I was a very proud brother and boyfriend, but on the other, it was sad to see them, and other Historians I knew, leaving the University. Of course, I will have all the pomp and circumstance to look forward to next year when I graduate and wave goodbye to the University one last time.
A very proud brother
My second trip down to Southampton was for a mini holiday of sorts with my girlfriend. We set off on Friday and drove down to Beaulieu in the New Forest to visit the National Motor Museum and the Beaulieu Palace House. As you will have seen from my last blog post, I am a massive fan of Formula 1 and cars in general, so I was like an excited child on Christmas morning walking through the museum and seeing all the cars I can only dream to own.
Is it obvious I like F1?
After admiring the collection of classic cars and riding the monorail (with its ridiculously low ceilings), we headed towards the Beaulieu Palace House. It was now my girlfriend’s turn to get excited as we had a guided tour through the parts of the house that were open to the public. Both the interior and exterior of the house were very impressive. Each room seemed to have its own history and, as the tour guide explained, its own supernatural entity.
In the evening we made our way back to Southampton, just in time to see my fellow Life at Southampton writer, Robin, perform in the first preview showing of The Importance of Being Earnest, which is being taken to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year. I would highly recommend watching their gender-swapped adaption if you get the chance to see it, because not only is it extremely well acted, but seeing Robin dressed as a woman is priceless!
Bizarre as this may sound, we ended our mini holiday together the next day on a cruise ship. After heading down to Southampton docks, boarding the ship and going through customs we were given a tour of the giant vessel. We were guided round some of the luxurious penthouse suites and then taken to see the public areas, which included a theatre, a spa, several swimming pools and even a roof-top garden with real grass! The morning was concluded with a cocktail mixing performance, which inevitably involved many glass bottle being bravely juggled, before we were whisked away for a fantastic three course lunch in their sparkling dining hall.
If this trick had gone wrong we would have been soaked!
All of this sounds incredibly expensive, but fortunately we didn’t have to pay a single penny because my mum had won the tickets for the event in a raffle at work – hooray!