31st March

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Today we went to a Applicant day at the University of Hertfordshire which is one of the universities our daughter is considering for the next step in quest to become an engineer. We came once before when they had an open day but this was meant to be specific for the people who had applied for the course. The agenda showed there was a campus tour first and suggested that if we didn’t want to go on that we should arrive in time for the light refreshments at 13:15.

So we decided to go into Hatfield and have a look around. I’d never been before but knew about the Galleria that spans the A1. We headed into town and had a look at the main shopping centre which, apart from Asda, had very little going for it – I half expected to see tumbleweed blowing down the street. So we drove over to the Galleria as it seemed just that little bit too far away from the rest of the town to make sense, no wonder it’s such a mess. The carpark was awkward and expensive and once inside it didn’t, on first glance seem worth the effort. I couldn’t help but notice that all of the cashpoints in the mall were one’s that charged for withdrawals – just seemed to be a bit nasty that! Anyway we decided to have something to eat and ended up in Burger King.

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Once at the university we were less than impressed with the organisation which meant there were no signs or people to point us to the registration area. I dropped them off and went to park the car and while I was parking Sarah found out that the “light refreshments” were in fact a buffet lunch! In any case all the sandwiches were either vegetarian or seafood so I was glad we’d already eaten. She also found out that we’d missed our chance to see the accommodation as this had been included in the campus tour – not that she’d been told that when she’d e-mailed yesterday.

Anyway we went off to some talks (most of which we’d already heard at the open day) during which I was highly amused by the senior lecturer’s inability to control a powerpoint presentation. After this we were separated into parent groups and student groups and taken on a tour of the department (all of which we’d seen at the open day!) There didn’t seem to be any differentiation between the talks for students and the one for parents and as exciting as the tensile strength of bamboo is and it’s potential as a future material for racing cars or aeroplanes we had heard that last time we were here. And yes we know you’ve got a F1 simulator!

So anyway the main objective of the day was to decide between Herts and Sussex and even though Herts may have a superb course it just lost out on the overall package – really Brighton vs Hatfied? No contest really!

One of the other exciting things of the day was that as we had then to go and pick up the other childroids from the Mother-in-law’s house it meant that we ended up doing an entire loop of the M25. We’d started at J2 that morning and travelled round to J23 for Hatfield. Afterwards we went back to the M25 and at that point we could have gone either way as the junction we needed to get to was equidistant from J23 which ever way we went so we decided to continue anti-clockwise to avoid the bridge. We came off at J6 to collect the kids before returning to the motorway and going back round to J2 to head home. Curiously we didn’t get stuck in traffic once all day but I still wish I’d had the rocket car (below and above) we’d seen at the uni to do the journey in!

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