May Week: Murray Edwards Garden Party

May Week. Those halcyon days at the end of the year in which Cambridge students redeem themselves after months of refusing social invites in favour of staying in, noses kept to the proverbial grindstone, buried in books. A week of party-hopping, extravagant balls and toasting results that have come out (or trying to forget the exams that have just passed!) It's in June, not May, and begins on a day which University students lovingly term 'Suicide Sunday' - so called because it's the first weekend of official exam freedom after the end of Full Term, though there are arguments over whether the moniker is a celebration of surviving exams or a bid to metaphorically drink oneself to death!

I had a fairly gentle Suicide Sunday this year, opting to attend my college garden party and chill out in the grounds for what will probably be the last time until the next garden party on graduation day this upcoming weekend.

The theme this year was 'Carnival', allowing the event planners to put on a mini-festival in college grounds. I picked up vibes from Notting Hill Carnival with the jerk chicken stand and steel drums and Woodstock thanks to the student bands playing in a wigwam in Orchard Court and a tie-dying station. There was more of a general festive feel too with face-painting stalls, a plentiful flow of alcohol and shisha.

Queues for food were significantly more organised than in previous years, meaning that we were able to get what we wanted in minutes (as opposed to waiting forty minutes for crepes last year!)

We snacked on lamb burgers with slices of that scary plastic-like cheese while watching the bands. Exactly the type of food you'd expect at a carnival or music festival!

Impressively, the organisers had managed to get hold of a hog roast stall too - a dish usually to be found at May Balls rather than garden parties! Despite having had an indulgent brunch at Chiltern Firehouse a few hours earlier, I guzzled one down all to myself.

The Brutalist sixties concrete walkway was framed with bright curtains with helium balloons spelling 'CARNIVAL' above (although they resembled a giant typo in the wind! CAINVRAL?)

The event designers also propped sherbet wands up against flowers and pushed lollipops into the ground to resemble little mushrooms growing at the base of tree trunks. Willy Wonka would approve.

A and his friend Haydn had a joyous reunion. They'd dressed almost identically (bless them) in oxblood shirts, chinos and brown brogues. Great minds...?

It was so nice to be able to relax with friends who I hadn't seen in weeks due to exams. I adore girlfriends with whom one can feel comfortable even after weeks or months have passed, and who don't put any pressure on you to entertain or see them when you're desperately stressed.

Thanks for hosting another lovely garden party, Mudwards! I'll be seeing you in a couple of days for graduation...

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