The fact that I will shortly be starting a PhD has finally begun to seem real to me (the prospect ofbeing given a list of jabs as long as my arm, probably with a needle that is also as long as my arm, does appear to do that). And so, after four years, three departments, half a million angry Friends, enough cups of tea to fill Boston Harbour and the opportunity to say "I'm sorry ma'am, Kew doesn't have a position on baboons eating flamigoes" I have finally handed in my notice and will be leaving Kew on the 20th of September.
While I'm looking forward to having weekends again (I can distantly recall those regularly spaced periods when all your friends are off work too), and I do anticipate the company of filth-flies being rather more pleasant than that of the great British public, I will miss the Gardens themselves a great deal but more importantly all the lovely, crazy, creative people trapped behind tills or in offices that I've had the priviledge of working with all these years.
I've managed to either time my departure rather well or rather badly, depending on your perspective, and will have to have two sets of leaving drinks, one on Friday the 19th for the people I work with during the week, which I have arbitrarily decided will be in The Botanist, and one on the 20th after my last gate shift, which'll be in the Kew Inn. Whichever department you've worked with me in though you're welcome to come to either or both (or neither if you'll be glad to see the back of me after having been impaled by a flailing knitting needle in the ticket box once too often).