Life before Somerville: certainly there must have been such a thing, though it seems a foreign country. My background is perhaps 'unconventional', although at the stage where my trajectory towards Somerville began to sediment, oddly representative of the time. I was born in 1974 in Dublin, a second child with a brother 4 years senior. There was a younger brother to come, 8 years later. My parents met at Oxford. My father was working for a BPhil in International Law at Pembroke and my mother was doing English at Somerville: there is rather a long line of Somervillians in my pedigree. My father decided to enter the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, becoming a diplomat. So they travelled.