I have said goodbye, with I trust adequately concealed relief, to two absolutely ghastly seminar groups. I think their brains have been full since about week 5. These are groups, that is to say, where I can put up entirely new material on the wall via powerpoint, and half of them do not even look up, but continue to stare woodenly at the desk in front of them lest they catch my eye. As Dorothy Parker once said, you can lead a whore to Vassar, but you can’t make her think. Anyway, I was approaching the end of this marathon term with at least the thought that I’d written all my lectures for this session. But a colleague emailed in about lunchtime to say that she wouldn’t be able to give her lecture tomorrow, just before I went off to teach for four hours. There will be a lecture, of a sort, because I have cobbled one together in the course of this evening. The first year, a good deal of the time, give the impression of having no manners, no information, and almost no wits of any kind. If one encounters them a couple of years later, as I quite often do, there is sometimes a quite staggering transformation. I don’t expect the little blighters to be in the slightest degree grateful — but if we take them seriously, and treat them with respect, then this sometimes causes them to start taking themselves seriously, as time goes by, and sometimes, further down the line, even taking us seriously. It’s a blasted nuisance but there you go. At least it’s week 12.