If it’s good enough for J.K. Rowling...

Gandy Street
Gandy Street
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Blogger Trish Burgess writes for the Free Press

Was there something in your eye? Apologies to those of you who read my column a couple of weeks ago about my son heading off to university. I was quite emotional reading it too, even though I had written it so knew what was coming.

You’ll be relieved to know I was very brave when we said our goodbyes and, although initially a little wobbly, it’s not been as difficult as I’d expected.

Rory is enjoying student life: has survived Freshers Week, done his first lot of laundry and attended his first lecture. The fact that he responds to texts and the odd email is very gratifying, though I am trying hard not to bombard him with questions and motherly advice. Today I asked him if he was eating enough fruit and suggested that new season satsumas were now available. What was I thinking?

Since he left I am having to do far less washing and the shopping bill has reduced significantly. The chair in the bathroom is no longer piled high with clothes and I have a whole cupboard full of uneaten crisps. These are all very positive changes, but it’s not the same without him.

It might have been easier if he had been closer to home, but he has gone to Exeter which is five hours drive away. I didn’t know anything about Exeter when he applied but when we all trooped down for a visit we were quite smitten with the beautiful cathedral city with its castle, Roman walls and cobbled streets. I can quite understand why he accepted their offer.

I wondered who else had been to Exeter University and discovered a whole host of interesting alumni. The Chancellor is Floella Benjamin, formerly Play School presenter and now Baroness Benjamin, a Life Peer. According to Wikipedia, she hugs students at the graduation ceremony rather than shakes hands.

Princess Anne’s children, Peter and Zara Phillips, both went to Exeter, as did comedian Rhod Gilbert and Pop Idol winner, Will Young. The name that jumped out at me the most, however, was author, JK Rowling. I have already told Rory there is a pub, The Old Firehouse, which is said by some to have been the inspiration for the Leaky Cauldron in the Harry Potter books. Gandy Street in the city is supposedly the reference point for Diagon Alley and the Hufflepuff lavatories were apparently based on an old psychology building.

Although I’m sure my son will be checking out these literary references, I do hope he gets some work done in the next three years. He is studying politics and, post the Scottish Referendum, I can’t think of a better time. People have asked me if he is going to be a politician. I tell them I have no idea, but if he could use the experience to pen a series of best­selling books which would make him a multi­millionaire, his mother would be pleased.

Follow Trish on Twitter @mumsgoneto and read her blog at www.mumsgoneto.blogspot.com