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Adventures in Academia
Part Two
Todd has recently started his PhD, whereas I am still working hard in the final year of my MSci. Together we eat soup, visit pubs and struggle with second-year functional programming assignments. This time we set out on an excursion to the Country Girl, with the surprise addition of Owen!

T

Many months had passed since the last Adventure in Academia. A complex timetable mess meant that ‘t boys’ had been unable to gather in a non-soup environment! But that was all about to change, as a date was set and the boys assembled. Our destination? The Country Girl.

We met up in the Computer Science atrium, me coming from a lecture taught by Dave Parker and Todd coming from a tutorial for a module taught by Dave Parker. But suddenly a third ranger appeared - it was Owen! He had escaped the clutches of both the security lot and Ruth, and would join us on our adventure!

T boys on the canal path What have we spotted? (taken by Todd)

Rather than taking the regular path through Selly, we decided to take a scenic detour via the canal path. As we walked the topic of conversation went from life before the Aston Webb Boulevard to, of course, my plans for a light rail system connecting campus with the surrounding areas. We also used our urban planning knowledge to discuss the ‘regeneration’ of Selly Oak. Of course such intellectual talk could not be satisfactorily reproduced here.

My old home! Looking back towards campus!

After a brief spiral via The Dingle and a walk down my home road of Heeley, we arrived at our destination. As we walked in we discovered it was actually quite busy and incredibly warm! Owen suggested an outside seat but Todd wasn’t so keen - it turned out the Country Girl beer garden was fairly naff. Fortunately we could shed most of our layers and return to a more reasonable temperature - even if this did mean ripping into Owen for wearing a jumper as his bottom layer.

It was time for F N C! In a controversial and unprecedented move, all three attendants went for different dishes. Owen opted for the lunch time fixed price menu, which meant he could get cod and ice cream too for a low price! I was suspicious as I suspected the lunch time portions might be smaller, so I went for a classic plate of scampi. True to his F N C roots, Todd ordered the halloumi. Of course all meals were accompanied by an ice ‘n’ slice!

When the meals I arrived I realised that I had made a fatal error - I hadn’t read the menu properly and got garden peas rather than the clearly superior option of mushy peas! What’s more, Owen’s portion size turned out to be exactly the same size as ours - what great value! But there was something even more astonishing about the meals. As always, we were supplied with a wedge of lemon. But these were no ordinary wedges. They were legendary chargrilled wedges. Why were they chargrilled? Nobody knew! It was insane!

The lemon The lemon that caused a commotion

Alas, the meal soon concluded and we had to leave. But there was one more surprise in store… As we were packing up Ed message me asking if I wanted to watch Arsenal’s clash with the Belarusian titans BATE Borisov at the pub that evening! Surely I couldn’t go to the pub twice in one day?

(I did, Arsenal won 3-0, it was good)