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A picture of a hand holding a martini glass with gold glitter spilling out in celebration

It was a great pleasure to be able to welcome South College's wonderful FREPs to a formal on Friday night. The FREPs did a brilliant job during Welcome Week. Sadly, the shortage of catering staff that has limited capacity in the university's central kitchens meant the formal to which they were originally invited had to be postponed. I am delighted local caterers have now stepped in to fill the gap.

As a result, we were able to enjoy some excellent food and wine in The Hub on Friday night. We began by paying tribute to Sir David Amess, whose murder in what appears to be a terrorist attack, reminds us of the risks democratic politicians of all parties take to serve our interests. This we did by standing in silence.

Later, we paid homage to Oswald. This was important. As I have mentioned, Oswald is a highly sensitive owl. Indeed, his sensitivity sometimes manifests itself in conduct bordering on pomposity. I fear he might become almost insufferable were he to endure two entire weeks without a gathering of Southies raising a toast to him. As we expand the ranks of Southies appointed to the rank of Keepers of the Owl, it will be wise to organise a rota of Keepers to visit him at his roost in the Pitcairn Building. Anything to keep the college mascot happy.

It has been good to see so many Southies achieving a good and balanced mix of academic work, sporting, cultural and social activity. South feels alive with purposeful work and recreation at present. I was thrilled to hear news of South Netball A's victory over Collingwood. My congratulations to all concerned. I was also pleased to hear warm praise for some of our footballers from an official who refereed one of their games.

I have also been pleased to see evidence of real interest in Lacrosse. Having seen the game played only occasionally before I came to Durham, I am now addicted. I look forward to seeing South Lacrosse teams in competitive action. I should add that I also very much enjoyed watching our outnumbered women's hockey team achieve a draw against Stephenson. Well done! I also enjoyed watching DU Baseball team featuring South College's very own Elle Gallagher. I look forward very much to watching more South College teams and crews in action. I am particularly excited that a South College Cricket club now exists, and I plan to watch our cricketers in action as soon as the weather permits.

I am, of course, very keen to see South Drama Society make use of the excellent facilities in The Hub. We have rehearsal and performance spaces that would not embarrass the Royal Shakespeare Company. I long to see the curtain go up on a first South play, revue, or musical. I am equally keen to hear some South College musicians perform. I know rehearsals are scheduled in the JCR this afternoon. I look forward to hearing the results, perhaps at a formal soon?

Early risers will have noticed that the South College ducks are now a settled and happy little flock. They can be seen enjoying their daily ration of birdseed outside Scorpius every morning between 7am and 8am. Following some judicious pruning, their pond is now a little less obstructed by reeds. I hope that the expanded surface area of water will encourage more ducks to take up residence. Older colleges may have larger ponds, but the South Pond is plainly superior, and it adjoins Durham's finest example of modern architecture. I'm sure it is not all about birdseed. After all, a wise duck knows a fine residence when it sees one.