Country Mouse on Durham

The washing machine has been running non-stop for days and the fridge empties in hours-Harry and Charlie are back from university. Harry has finished his education, but waits nervously for the results of his degree.

His plans seem vague, but, at his age, I was going to be a geologist or a racehorse trainer. Lives and careers rarely take a straight course and editing a magazine was as distant a thought to me as becoming an astronaut. Still, Harry has finished his degree £18,000 better off than his younger brother will, as he was able to get through his course before the Government increased the costs from £3,000 to £9,000 per year. It seems wrong to saddle young men and women with so much debt and for one sibling to be left so much better off than another.

Last week, I found myself back at Durham, my old university, where, incidentally, I paid nothing for my education. It was strange to see a place I knew so well, but hadn’t visited in decades. Great things are planned at the mighty cathedral, with rooms and spaces that have remained hidden from the public to be opened in 2016. The last time I had been in the building was to look at the fossils in the marble pillars. I could never have imagined I would be returning 30 years later to admire it in a completely different way.

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