So on the hottest day of the year, a couple of weeks ago, we rose at 6.30am, caught a taxi and three trains to the pretty town of Ormskirk, finishing off with a bus journey to Edgehill University campus, where Joe's graduation ceremony was taking place. We were already melting by the time we arrived.
It's a very impressive campus and has a pleasing amount of topiary trees. Around the back of the historic part, the more modern additions are discreetly concealed.
The first item on the agenda was for Joe to get togged out in his graduation robes, before an extraordinary amount of photos and selfies were taken with his colleagues. Me, I stayed in the background and had a crash course in ladies shoe fashion for 2016. A loose count showed that ankle straps are 'in' this year and that 'flesh' (or as I believe it is called, 'nude') is this season's colour. I was in cheap baseball boots. Not being in heels, I was one of the few females on campus able to walk in a straight line.
At last we were able to head off for the ceremony.
After a long wait for everything to be organized, and having the most fidgety child on the planet next to me, it all got rolling with the expected pomp and ceremony; the procession of the University staff in suitably impressive robes and hats, and a fanfare of trumpets. Literally.
After several long speeches, the graduation ceremony itself began. Joe was about third from last, by which time people were a little restless. Having patiently waited for nearly two hours for his moment of glory - the shaking of the chancellor's hand - I had my camera poised, zoomed and in focus.
Then just at the very second of the hand shake, a big bloke in a white shirt came bustling down the aisle stairs behind me and barged right in front of my camera as I was pressing the button. I may have sworn loudly. (OK, I did). So all I managed to get was this...
Then the lovely chancellor made the most interesting speech of the day, cracked a joke about the University board being 'the entire staff of Hogwarts' and everyone waggled their caps in the air. Apparently throwing them up willy nilly is not the done thing anymore.
After a quick go at the buffet, we started our homeward journey. Did I mention it was hot? And so we got a bus, three trains and another taxi back to the cottage. The English countryside quietly sweltered in the sun. The train guard handed out free bottles of water on our last late, overcrowded train, where we stood in the corridor all the way back to Shrewsbury.
We eventually arrived home, flopping and half asleep, at about 8pm and went to bed almost at once. A long day, but one which Joe worked hard for and despite my humorous tone, I was actually very, very proud of him. He is now a fully qualified counsellor.