The yellow daffodils for which I have such an unfair dislike are done, and made way for May and June’s whites, blues and purples of narcissus, iris, ceanothus and ajuga. It's almost time for the great blue Agapanthus (pictured), which will appear in several College gardens during the summer. April saw warm sunny days, and a few overnight and early morning frosts. May has seen trees come into full leaf, and heralded the great Chelsea Flower Show (which I managed not to visit again, this year). Madingley Hall (our Institute HQ) has its own Open Gardens as part of the National Gardens Scheme this Sunday (May 31st), and the gardens here are looking magnificent. (Although the Hall is not open, you can visit the gardens during your stay if you wish.) As to the weather, it hasn’t become consistently warmer and drier as my elderly tortoise will attest, but then, this is England. It is at least staying lighter very much later into the evening. In short, it's June already (well, very nearly so, at the time of writing). Cambridge is preparing itself for the spectacle of full summer, and for your arrival.
We are making the last-minute preparations to the University of Cambridge International Summer Schools, too. The very last titles for plenary talks are coming in, our Cambridge Student Assistants (CSAs) have been appointed, and the countdown to the start of the programmes has begun. Exciting times!
Enrolments have grown rapidly since my last blog, with new enquiries and applications arriving daily. Bookings for excursions are mounting too. Several accommodation options are fully booked, but space is still available in the others. With regret, a very small number of courses has had to be cancelled: we can never predict application levels for particular courses. Everyone involved has been contacted, and places in alternative course choices have been assigned. Other courses are filling, but there are still places available for anyone who now finds themselves able to join us this summer. Latest news: we’ve been able to extend deadlines for the online booking option, for your convenience: full details appear on our ‘How to apply’ page.
Some very exciting plenary speakers and titles have been added since the last blog and the titles have now been added to the relevant plenary sections of the programmes accessible via the links below. There are too many to list them all here, but they include: Professor Sir Colin Humphreys on Illuminating the future and Dr Seán Lang on The BBC: broadcaster to the world (ISS I) Dame Barbara Stocking on How to change the world – climate change and food security (ISS II); Professor Chris Abell on Changing the way drugs are discovered and Professor Andrew Wallace-Hadrill on Herculaneum: a new light on the past (ISS III); Dr Judith Croston on The curious behaviour of black holes and Professor Andy Woods on Curious fluid flows (Science); Dr Frank Woodman on King’s College, still influential after 500 years; Professor David Carpenter on The texts of Magna Carta: new discoveries (Medieval Studies); Kelly Grovier on Word and image and Rachel Calder on The literary agent’s view (Creative Writing); Dr William Foster on Bill Colby and the CIA and Dr Florence Sutcliffe-Braithwaite on The Iron Lady and her enemies (History); Dr Joe Moshenska on “You’re laughing at yourselves!": the tragedy of laughter In Shakespeare and Cervantes (Literature); and Professor Catharine Edwards on Parallel lives of Boudicca and Agrippina the Younger (Ancient and Classical Worlds).
Aside from completing the list of c165 talks to complement the 186 courses we’re running this year, we’re just tightening the nuts and bolts, and oiling the cog-wheels of the machine that is the Summer Schools (that is, getting the logistics in place and cross-checking lists to make it all happen as it should).
And then we’re planning for 2016! Anyone coming to us this year plays a part in our future planning: we’ll be providing a feedback form for each programme, and we’ll want to hear your views before we make some of the decisions about the next cycle.
We’ll hope to see you here in Cambridge, very soon.
Sarah J Ormrod