I drove down the coast road after leaving College Street with lots of thoughts. I stopped at a cafe for tea and a cake. How English!
I drove on and turned into a road to take me ‘over the tops’, as I remembered. It did, but somewhere towards Lewes I took a wrong turning and ended up near the entrance to Sussex University. Oh dear!
Without thinking, I turned the wheel and entered the university road. I drove very slowly for it seemed both familiar and distant. It was the summer break so there were mostly workmen building and repairing things.
I drove to the back of the uni and found Park Village where I spent my first year and got to know Trish, Dave, Krishna, Mary,Sally, Ian, Mike,Neil, Usma and many more. I parked the car and set off to explore.
I took lots of photos for I was not sure which house I had lived in, then I found it. No. 28 Park Village – my home for a year and very different from my house and lifestyle in Leicester. Next, I walked around the campus taking photos.
I found the student shop, library, different halls of residence and even the new ones built at the back, the sports centre, student union building, but I couldn’t remember my building! Must be crazy! I turned right at the library and found a view I remembered. It led up steps to the Arts buildings.
I walked up the steps. Came past the big lecture halls I remembered and then into another building. I asked someone to take a photo of me. She smiled and did so. I walked on and found Arts C. I then remembered that I had spent the most important academic three years of my life here. How could I have forgotten?
I entered and looked around the corridor. The same picture was on the wall then a voice asked if she could help me. It was a lecturer. I said I was an old student and just looking around. She said she was new and did not know Prof. Bruce Graham or Dr Pramit Chaudhary – but she had heard of them.
They were the Professor and Dean of Studies when I was there. Both now sadly dead and it seems their reputations are slowly dying – even with the next generation of lecturers! All my lecturers but one have now retired and left the area.
Even the school of studies has been closed. It was The School of African and Asian Studies (AFRAS) in my day but now it is ‘Global Studies’. I continued my exploration and landed back at the Park Village car park where I had left my trusty Corsa.
I drove away feeling both sad and pleased that I had made an unplanned visit to my old uni. I think it was important for me to catch up with time and not have my years at Sussex festering in a time lock. My experiences are for ever in that time but I was happy to see what had happened to the material world where many of my lessons were learnt.
I slowly drove back to Ringmer for a pleasant last evening with Neil and Barbara.