I’ve met Princess Anne, Gordon Ramsay, and one of the Last Samurai, but I am now most excited to be able to say that on Wednesday I met the lady who used to read the birthday messages with Gus Honeybun — Judi Spiers.
I was asked to go along to the BBC Radio Devon studios in Exeter this week, and talk a bit about my adventures in Japan, and activities since the earthquake. It was a live interview as part of the Judi Spiers Show. She looks exactly the same as she did what must have been 30 years ago in the Gus Honeybun days, and still has that beautiful voice! She was really lovely, and did a brilliant job of keeping our conversation really upbeat, when it had the potential to be quite sad in places.
We talked a bit about what first took me to Japan, and then about Being A Broad and Go Girls, before moving on to my school-based activities since the earthquake. She finished off by bringing up the Safe Sex Ball, that I founded back in the early nineties and for which Exeter University has now become famous, so it was nice to remember that story too — Judi is a patron of one of the charities that is still supported by that ball today. Just a few days earlier I had been looking at the university’s website and found a “trailer” for the 2010 ball — the entertainment at the event these days is just incredible! Check this out!
I was told by the producer that the interview must have been considered a good one by Judi’s standards as it went on ten minutes longer than they usually do (I prefer to believe him rather than what is possibly more likely and that is that I can talk forever if anyone will let me!). I actually really enjoyed myself — it was nice to reflect on some of the things I’ve done both in Japan and in England. I’m usually so busy thinking about the next thing that I don’t actually take much time to reflect in that way.
The rest of the time gave me even more of a chance to reflect — I’d made my way to Exeter for the interview with a uni mate and his daughter who wanted to camp in a massive garden that belongs to another of our uni gang, who I was staying with for a couple of days. After the interview I joined them at Dawlish, near where I did my first teaching practice, and to where I would often drive at night and walk along the beach. And the following day, we decided that we would drive around campus reminiscing — Exeter University still remains to me to have the most beautiful campus. They’re in the process of rebuilding Duryard Halls, which is where we all met and lived during our first year, but we still managed to drive right up to the warden’s house in the middle of the site, and have a bit of a look around.
There are loads of new buildings on the main campus where most of the lectures took place, although mine were on the St Luke’s Campus, on the other side of town. We drove over to there, passing all sorts of places that brought back memories along the way, and pointing out houses that we or our other friends lived in at one time or another. Such very happy days, and with lots of 40th birthdays coming up, plenty more opportunities to reminisce, I hope!