The degree turned out to be worthless but so what? Those 18 months were my annus mirabilis, like a long, continuous song. I stayed at St Johns College with interesting, talented students from around the world. I remember that clear night when we trooped down to Wreck Beach for the Leonid meteor shower: the dark sea rippling away to a distant lighthouse, endless shooting stars above, all the jokes, chatter and laughter. Seldom have I felt the world to be such a safe, friendly and magical place.