I leave tomorrow at ten thirty so I should really be getting ready, but instead I'm going to write a blog post about my hair. It's called displacement activity, folk.
Back in the mists of time when we were freshers at Durham, with little money and less sense, my friend Johny blew his loan on surf wax and economy Christmas pudding and asked me to cut his hair to save the cost of a barber's visit. Why he picked me I don't know, although on reflection there weren't many people on that corridor I'd have trusted with a blade around my face. There followed an (in retrospect) amusing misunderstanding, possibly due to Johny's somewhat unique accent; he asked me to chop two centimetres off, I thought he wanted me to cut it to a length of two centimetres, and of course made a complete pig's ear of it so he had to get his head shaved to a grade one. I don't think he minded too much, because then he got a lot of girls stroking his head and saying "Poor Johny!", but I felt very guilty.
Well this week Johny got his revenge. I have wild, wiry Welsh hair (there's definitely a sheep back in my genepool somewhere) which takes a huge amount of water, shampoo and conditioner to keep clean and behaving itself, and as all of these substances are likely to be in short supply out there it had to go. I had originally planned to walk into a hairdresser brandishing a picture of Julie Bindel, thus becoming the first person in human history to do so, but time and money were pressing so I ended up doing a Britney with Jeff's shears.
My favourite comment so far has come from Ben, one of the other PhD students, who said "There aren't many women who can carry off really short hair". I waited in vain for him to add "And you're one of them".