A week ago on Saturday I took a trip up to York for the first ever Halifax College reunion ball at the University of York. I must confess that before I departed from Swindon on the long 200 mile journey Northwards I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. In some cases I hadn’t even spoken to some of the people who were going to be there since I left the college and guess there was a small part of me that thought we wouldn’t have all that much to talk about. Thankfully my doubts were completely unfounded and I ended up having a most enjoyable weekend.
I drove up to York on the Friday night and stayed in the Monkbar Best Western hotel which was a very pleasant experience. While I was rather tired when I arrived I had an opportunity to chat with Heather on the phone and then I was already in York on the Saturday morning which meant I was able to enjoy the whole day. I met my family for lunch in Bettys as coincidentally they had come up to the city to drop Hannah off for her final year at the university. As ever lunch at this practically world renowned tea room was thoroughly enjoyable and while my parents had to dash off home I had a chance to wander around the city a little more and get a present for Heather before going back to the hotel to get changed for the evening.
The evening its self was held in a collection of function rooms upstairs at Kings Manor. Despite having dated an archeology student for some time while at York I never knew there was so much space in their departmental buildings! I met up initially with Helen who was waiting near the entrance for people to arrive. We then went upstairs where I met with Noel and James. Despite not having seen Helen & Noel since leaving the last college committee meeting back in 2005 it very quickly felt like we hadn’t been apart which was great. I managed to speak briefly with Mark Evans (old college provost) and Sally Brabyn (current Dean of the college) both of whom I had liased with regularly while on college business. Already it was beginning to feel like the good old days!
The meal had been chosen superbly by the organisers and there were no complaints with respect to the food provision or table service. Wine was reasonably priced given the setting and we were very quickly taking pictures of groups of attendees with the disposable cameras provided and laughing and chatting about the “good old college days”. Shortly into the meal we were happily joined by Katy who I had gotten along with very well while at Halifax. We’d meant to keep in touch but despite both still retaining each others phone numbers had neglected to do so. We vowed to do much better after the evening was though and spent a good while filling each other in on what we’d been up to.
Towards the end of the meal Mark got up and made a speech which really brought back some of the best and brightest moments of my time at the college. After the speeches a jazz band struck up and after a few more wine related purchases most people were up and dancing. At the end of the dancing I suddenly felt myself being transported back in time and as the band finished their last number I found myself at the microphone thanking the band and reminding people to leave their cameras at the front before leaving because I’d be putting the photos on the website – some things never change!
A select group of us decided to continue the evening on in town which was great fun. We had film left to use up in the cameras and with the formal wear we had donned for the occasion were also some of the smartest dressed in town! After a bar or two we parted ways and vowed to do a better job of keeping in touch. Those attending will be able to find the photos on this website soon and of course the official ball website.
I’d like to thank those old friends of mine for attending and really making remembering my old college days a fantastic experience. The time I spent in the college and the people I met there really were and always will be some of the greatest moments in my life and I hope to enjoy attending the reunions and other such events for many years to come.