The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester. Three hundred and forty one graduands. And Brian Cox.
Having already graduated once, many years ago, I wasn't sure if I needed to go through all the rigmarole once more. I'm very pleased I did.
There's something special about an Open University graduation. With students ranging in age from twenty two to eighty two, everyone had their own story of hard work and dedication, juggling so many more commitments than your average eighteen year old fresh from school. There was the actress, the Olympic medal winner and the partially sighted woman with eleven children. In hindsight the six years it took me to get a First Class Honours Degree in English Literature didn't seem so bad. If I've made sacrifices along the way, I can't remember them any more.
The setting was splendid. Grand and imposing, and with fabulous acoustics. You really had the sense of being part of a tremendous group achievement. The Presiding Officer did a fabulous job of recognising each graduand as an individual, and any suggestion - made by my husband - that he spent more time talking to the young ladies than anyone else, was in my opinion entirely unfounded.
Then there was the added excitement of the presence of Professor Brian Cox, receiving his Honorary Award. My husband, The Mathematician, was delighted to hear him talk. For my part, I was so intent on crossing the dais without falling over, that I didn't give him a second glance.