Back at work and St Mary's has gone into overdrive to try and get spic and span for the Papal visit on the 17th. It felt a bit ironic just three days after visiting the Michelangelo and Raphael glories adorning the chambers of the Vatican to watch the coffee shop being tarted up with a lick of emulsion.
Of course the visit is a big deal and huge honour for the University and everywhere there are signs of the accompanying make over. From my office I watched as in double quick time the pathway that will lead his holiness from the outdoor sermon to a private meeting with other faith leaders was tarmacked and the surrounding ground re turfed. Meanwhile toilets are being stripped, furniture upholstered, brasses polished and paving made flat; whilst security men and event organisers pace nervously, carry clipboards, talk into radios and stare into the middle distance as they imagine possible approaches, exits and evacuations. Nothing is spared and everything is moved in preparation. Staff who have volunteered to take part on the day rush from briefing meeting to briefing meeting. From the outside it's all slightly surreal.
Slowly we're beginning to make plans for the new semester. A few creaky meetings trying to establish where we'd left off before the Summer in sharp contrast to the hub of activity surrounding the campus. Still it's good to see everybody again and begin to look ahead.