St Andrews & New York
November 30th was St Andrew’s Day.
I was one of the first students from my school in London to go to St Andrews University. It is an old town on the east coast of Fife and as well as a renowned university, and well known as the home of golf. There were three main streets, one supermarket, a coffee shop, a fish and chips shop, a baker, a chemist and a charming shop selling watercolours. (It was some time ago!) There were a lot of pubs and it was a wonderful few years. I loved the architecture of the older houses, the beaches and skies, the inspiring stone remains and traces of history bound up in St Andrew’s Cathedral. Behind the town we could explore some of the extraordinary landscapes that shape Scotland.
It was a good choice for many reasons. My grandfather was an outstanding golfer playing many tournaments on the Old Course whilst my father had played there as a child and was pretty good as well. I did manage to play a round (at student rates) but decided to admire the art of golf instead. Otherwise I turned my hand to dinner parties and a few excellent practical jokes. My flatmate, nicknamed Smiles, was a great cook and I learnt so much from her. I do remember being the cox for a rowing team in the summer term and got stuck in the mud; whilst during the winter terms, a friend, Charlie Barclay, and I ran the Scottish Reeling Club.
The university is rightly proud of its achievements and heritage. I very much appreciated the range of subject courses I could take, from Logic and Metaphysics, to Anglo-Saxon within the English course, Moral Philosophy as well as a Russian literature. I still pick up books today from those times to help focus or relax. From Anglo Saxon grammar, however, I have moved towards Middle High Egyptian Grammar given the family I have married into and the need to know more about this fascinating subject when we were constructing our Egyptian Exhibition in the Castle cellars!
Above all the process of learning, the analysis which hopefully teaches skills for life, to try , to stand up and regroup when it has all gone rather wrong, to be kind and get on with people. I am hugely grateful for my education it was the one thing my parents kept saying they wanted to give me and my sisters.
Soon, my husband and I are off to New York for 3 days to a gala event to give an auction prize, to fund raise for St Andrews, so others can benefit, and to do a tiny bit to help. St Andrews has always had strong connections with the USA and I am sure we will have a good party and it is for a very good reason: 600 people for 600 years of an ancient university and seat of learning. Since it is at the Metropolitan Museum, I might even be able to test my hieroglyphics! I have occasionally written place cards for dinner here in the Dining Room in hieroglyphics and it took everyone ages to sit down….
The St Andrews auction details are now available online, please visit http://gavelandgrand.com/auction/standrews for more details.
Dear Lady Carnarvon ,
What a very nice story about St. Andrews and your involvement through studies !
I wish you a great gala-event and what fun it must have been with the place cards you did in Hieroglyphics and the confusion that caused !
Kind Regards , Sophie Lamping .
Lady Carnarvon….. I am still chuckling over the last line of your post. What a wonderful way to start a dinner party. Hoooo-rah for you !
The placement idea certainly broke the ice…
I bet you have very elegant dinner parties.
Lady Carnarvon I hope you have fun in New York! While you are there you should watch a musical, I hear there are some very good ones.
Dear Lady Carnarvon. We had the pleasure of visiting St Andrews in January this year. So very beautiful and to be able to walk around the golf course was truly a very special experience. Coming from sunny South Africa to the wintry skies of Scotland over the New Year period with all the wonderful restaurants and oh … such special people will forever remain a glorious memory. Best of luck with your fund raising and don’t forget to pack extra warm clothes for NY what with the polar vortex etc.!!!
I have always admired the university system of Great Britain which seems to emphasize learning over learning to get a job. I’m sure your event at the Met is completely booked and that the response will be enthusiastic. Best wishes! Jeanne RIfe
I think the Met is an amazing building and museum – 1,400 of beautiful Egyptian antiquities from Lord Carnarvon’s collection were sold to it in 1925/6 to pay death duties. We have the remainder and we have the story! It has been delightful to get to know some of the curators there…
Lady Carnarvon ,
I can certainly see a pleasant picture painted of your
college memories, and it sounds like you had fun!
I took Golf lessons in college, shortly after the
Golf teacher resigned, I tried not to feel some responsibility.
Of course along with the memory flashback
I first noticed mention of Fish and Chips. That’s
how my mind runs!
Have a great time in the Big Apple!
I still love a proper fish and chips and every so often Pat our decorator does a fish and chip shop run here and we are sit together silently happily eating the fish an ships out of the paper wrapping on the floor here in the latest building site. Magic
I travelled to St. Andews about 8 years ago with my familiy including my parents (who were avid golfers). We were able to experience the Women’s British Open, explore the ancient castle ruins and shop in the lovely town. My daughter (who was 14 at the time) spotted Jack Wills for which she is now a fan. We drove along the coast to a lovely town where we took take-out Fish and Chips and sat on the sea wall and ate them. This was such a poignant trip since my father died a few years later. However it left an wonderful memory for my daughter who is now living and working in London (as we are Canadian). Have a lovely trip across the pond. Someone will likely bid very well for the auction item. I am looking forward to coming to visit over Easter with my daughter (we have our tickets already).
There was a famous fish and chips shop in one of the little villages – I had fish and chips (in paper in our gift shop stock room which was all upside down as it had been so busy) with 3 girlfriends who all work with me – clearly I am focussed on fish and chips…. glad you got your tickets as Easter is sold out now. I hope there is some spring like weather for you!
Fantastic blog as always Lady Carnarvon I do enjoy reading them,
I’m sure you will have a great time at the 3 day party in New York 🙂
I just left NYC for home in Tennessee. We went to Radio City Music Hall for the Christmas spectacular. This is a must see. We also saw the Carole King story “Beautiful” which was terrific. You may also be able to catch that in London but the lead in the NYC show is perfect. Enjoy the Big Apple.
Welcome to America, Lady Carnarvon! I hope you have a marvelous time.
I am sure I will
Oh! Enjoy New York City! I live in a hamlet called Water Mill, founded in 1644 by English colonists… and, of course, they built a water-powered grist mill, so, we are called Water Mill. That building is now our local pride and joy, still standing as a museum and functioning grist mill! (I volunteer there)
I’ve been to your home, loved touring all around Highclere, in and out. So, welcome to NY, and enjoy your time here!!! You may like to see the museum at the NY Historical Society, just across Central Park from the Met. Do try to avoid the mad crowds all in nyc now because of Christmas tourism. Have a great trip.
Thank you – I have got some press booked in so I am not sure what time I will have! A good walk round Central Park would be nice…