MW results! 4.9.09: the day of reckoning…

DSC03761(by peter)

Big, big day last Friday (4th). It was the day that the Master of Wine results came through – a day we’d been dreading for several months, ever since June when I staggered in dazed and downbeat fashion out of my exams and Susie handed in her labour of love/dissertation.

To be frank, we’d initially enjoyed the feeling of release after many brutally hard months of study. But then the date started to play on our minds, and what it might bring…until we couldn’t wait to just get it over with.

That said, the small matter of selling our house, moving from Putney to Winchester, starting work on the website and the new wine school, as well as trying to convince our 2-year-old daughter that she really did want to go along with all of this, did keep our minds off things pretty well.

Nevertheless, Friday dawned to find Susie and I with a nagging and nauseous feeling in the pit of our stomachs. We had agreed we’d both take Elfye to nursery, to save one of us having to stay at home with the elephant in the room. It was a tough start to the day, as Elfye is still settling in to her new nursery and wasn’t the happiest little camper being dropped off – which meant I felt very bad. (We later learned she’d soon improved and was happily painting her own hair etc – but the guilt never leaves you as a parent, I find.)

We came back and made a cup of tea. Then, finally, at around 8:30 we fired up the computers in our attic office. I made Susie open hers first (she claims I did, anyway – I’m not convinced I’m that cruel…though she does have a point). But she couldn’t do it. She opened the email and clicked open the pdf of the letter, but couldn’t actually bring herself to scroll down to read the contents. She was already crying.

So I did it for her. Both our eyes furiously skimmed for the key words (as I find you do with any crucially important letter). And we both got there about the same time: PASS WITH DISTINCTION.


Then a surge of intense exhilaration, overwhelming relief, and just pure, unadulterated joy. JOY! We screamed. We hugged. For a long time. (I think I probably crushed the air out of her – she did seem a bit skinnier afterwards – but I couldn’t help it.)

Phew. What a feeling: about as pure and intense and tangible as emotions get. She’d done it. Susie – the girl who never got to do further education or university – had proven a thing or two not just to everybody, but to herself. She’d not just done it – she’d done it with flying colours. (Some of us had seen it coming, of course, but she won’t be told…) GOOD ON SUSIE! What a wife I have.

Then, with juddering inevitability, the feeling subsided and the spotlight turned to me.

I stalled, saying I just wanted to enjoy the good feeling. It worked for a minute or two.

Then I was made to face the music. Susie scooted her chair over next to mine. The email popped into view.

Click: open message. Body of message is: standard round-robin message, giving nothing away. Open pdf attachment. Click: up comes header, with main body of letter not in view.

I turn to Susie and attempt a mood-lightening mock-spooky smile. It doesn’t work.

In the spirit of just-get-it-over-with, I press Page Down. Or maybe I scrolled down. Or whatever: eyes furiously skim, PASS IN BOTH THE PRACTICAL AND THEORY – I roar as pure adrenalin finds immediate release. There may also have been some Henman-esque fist pumping – this remains unverified – but there was certainly more hugging.


We’d done it. Incredible. Beyond our wildest expectations. It means so much to both of us, not just personally but also professionally, especially with our new, nascent wine school venture…it’s just the best possible start to our new life and new ventures.

We are blessed.

Then we went for lunch.