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We went to vote for the new chancellor of the university yesterday.  It was the first contested election since Prince Albert narrowly won it in 1847.  We were both eligible to vote, I having taken my MA (without, I should add, any additional work being required) three years after my degree, and Michael having taken his in a hurry in absentia last month. Thus do we exercise our democratic rights.

We queued up outside the Senate House for half an hour or so. It was a delightful autumn day.  The sky over Great St Mary's was blue without a wisp of cloud, the sun golden, the breeze slightly sharp and hinting of winter. 

The queue was divided between academics who had their own gowns and those of us just doing it for the entertainment value who had to borrow one.  There was a tent outside the door where we could leave our bags and be invested with our borrowed gowns (each one bearing a small Cambridge blue patch presumably to identify university property in case we tried to walk off with them).  Unfortunately we forgot to bring the camera so you'll just have to imagine us in our finery.

We went in, we were separated into alphabetical order so that our names could be found on the list, we voted.  While we were waiting to vote we admired the ceiling with its extremely elegant plaster mouldings.  The voting was very similar to a council election except that there was a single transferable vote.  Neither of us had made out minds up who to vote for before we were separated but we ended up voting for the same person (who didn't win).

Then we went upstairs to the University combination room for a cup of tea or coffee and a bun (or, in Michael's case, more than one bun).   I couldn't remember ever having been in there, and the ceiling again was excellent - long oak beams and lovely mouldings.  It was a very good humoured occasion.  All the people marshalling were extremely friendly and cheerful.  Oh well, we can look forward to the next one in another 164 years' time.

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anef

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