Lucy Butterfield

LUCY BUTTERFIELD experiences indecent exposure. And public humiliation. In one day.

bike Cantab Cindies dissertation lucy butterfield Sainsbury's Sidgwick Site stress supervisor UL week zero

“Do you ever feel like you’re on a knife-edge between things being seriously great or just a bit shit?”

Not exactly the gyp room repartee I expected from Maud as we sampled Covent Garden’s finest edible delights. Perhaps it was the Chaucerian tome lying resolutely shut on the table between us that yielded such a gem. Nevertheless, crashing determinedly on towards Week 3, the empire of paradox we inhabit becomes ever clearer.

Start of term is always great. Great reunions, great intentions, great piles of untouched holiday work. No sooner have you pulled on your dancing boots for Week Zero Cindies than an email pops up from a supervisor expressing their excitement for reading the hyped-up dissertation draft you managed to stall for the majority of the previous term.

Perhaps you’ll hit Cindies anyway, before remembering when you get there what an absolute dive that sticky-floored, DJ-inhabited hell-hole actually is (“OGGY OGGY OGGY!” Bugger off.)

Maybe you’ve been looking forward to a much-needed burst of independence, after barely clinging to sanity over that most familial of festivals we have recently left behind. But then you remember the kitchen cupboards don’t replenish themselves and you’ll actually have to like, go to Sainsbury’s to procure food.

Even simple pleasures like being reunited with our rust-bucket bikes are easily soured. My pleasant ride to Sidgwick last week was rudely interrupted by what seemed to be a small typhoon. Looking like I’d had an unfortunate encounter with The Thief’s Downfall, I also realised upon arriving that my oh so very on-trend midi-skirt had been caught in the back wheel for the majority of the journey, not just ripping it to shreds but kindly revealing my posterior to most of the world. I had thought people were nudging each other in joint approval of my classically quirky Cambridge style as I pedalled regally past the UL.

They just wanted to know why my arse was hanging out.

Mind-stretching and brain-shattering, heart-warming and vomit-inducing, life-enhancing and soul-destroying, we face six more weeks of unadulterated intellectual and emotional pandemonium. In the words of my most revered uncle Brian, (congratulations to those who spotted the connection) “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is perhaps the end of the beginning. And Saturday, is treat day.”

Onward Cantab soldiers. Onward.