A Flying Visit to London

At the moment I’m on a placement block, which means I’m working three long shifts a week. I’m really enjoying it and learning absolutely masses, but it’s also completely exhausting. I leave the house before dawn and get home late enough that all I have time to do is get changed and roll into bed. The upside is that I have four days off each week, which means I can stay on top of everything else I need to do.

This week, I seized the opportunity of two days off together to go down to London to visit my friend Heidi. Last year we spent a lot of time visiting nearby historic houses together and cooking elaborate vegan dinner parties, so it was only logical that we’d do the same this time! We must have walked miles around London over the two days: we visited the British Library exhibition on Georgian England (a moment of high drama occurred when another visitor collapsed and I spent a few fraught seconds panicking about whether or not I should go over and put my emergency first aid training into use, but when I got there I found that she was conscious and able to talk to the exhibition staff, so there wasn’t anything I could have usefully done) before having lunch in their extremely nice restaurant. Heidi had emailed ahead to check that there would be vegan food for me, and they were astoundingly helpful, promising to make sure there was and even asking if there was anything particular I’d like!

The exhibition guide contained a map of a walk around Georgian London, so we set out to walk some of that but quickly got sidetracked by various interesting distractions including a beautiful burial ground/park and the numerous blue plaques. I insisted we stopped in at the park in Bloomsbury to pay homage to one of my heroes, and we also stopped off to say hello to a few other inspirational figures.

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By this point my legs were starting to ache – I was lugging around my enormous opera score for a rehearsal I thought I had on Wednesday evening (actually, I had found out before I left for London that I didn’t need to attend, but my sleepy 7am brain hadn’t registered that this meant I didn’t need to pack the blasted thing) so we headed back to Heidi’s house on the outskirts of the city to get cracking on our other favourite activity, cooking elaborate meals. To be completely honest I didn’t contribute a lot to the vegetable curry, other than a diced onion with added blood due to my general clumsiness with sharp knives. Then we settled in for an evening of biscuits, hot chocolate, and A Bit of Fry and Laurie in front of the wood-burning stove. Eventually exhaustion drove us both to bed for an early night.

On Wednesday I was feeling a bit more human after getting a proper night’s sleep, so we had breakfast and then set off back into London on a quest for art in the form of the National Portrait Gallery, excellent coffee (for Heidi, not me) and vegan cake (for me, not Heidi). Unfortunately and somewhat to my amazement considering the size of London we only managed to find the first two, but we made up for it by having a delicious late lunch at a Mexican restaurant where we were given complimentary guacamole and chips to make up for a delay in serving our food that I honestly hadn’t even noticed.

I’d never been to the Portrait Gallery before, but I will definitely be going back. We only had time to visit one floor, so we chose the Victorian and 20th Century galleries and I played “spot the women”. The early 20th century room was my favourite; I’ve been interested in the Bloomsbury Group for several years now and enjoyed putting faces to the names that keep recurring in the biographies and memoirs of that set. I liked the gallery so much that I bought the visitors’ guide from the gift shop, which is now sitting on my bookshelf beside a similar guide from the Henry Moore exhibition I visited in Paris. I like to think of the guides as a sort of investment in my education and the education of my future hypothetical children; I can’t afford to keep popping back to London or Paris to have another look at my favourite paintings or sculptures but the photos in the guide will always be to hand if I feel in need of some visual nourishment.

It was just a flying visit as I had to be back for placement the next day, but we managed to pack a lot in. I’m hoping to go back soon and visit a few more places (and possibly go back to the gallery, there are so many more paintings to look at!) but next time I shall make sure not to pack quite so many unnecessary heavy items in my bag!


Vegan Dinner Party: Success!

Vegan lasagne - served with so.much.salad
Vegan lasagne – served with so.much.salad

I am keeping this short because I was having an early night tonight, three hours ago, but the dinner party was a success! Pop over to my food blog every day for the next three days if you want to see what we ate, but what I wanted to record for posterity over here was how much I enjoyed chatting to my friends. Everyone who came is part of the chapel team, so we talked about how the Anglican Church (and indeed the Catholic Church – two Catholics lurking in our midst) faces challenges in the 21st century, and had a bit of a debate about marriage.

It wasn’t so much the content of the discussion that I enjoyed, although it was interesting, but the fact that we spent several hours just talking. Enjoying food together – food that turned out really well, thanks in a large part to my excellent-at-cooking friend Heidi – and discussing things that matter to us, with almost no mention of exams or dissertations or work stress. Probably that was because only a few of us actually have exams: out of four PhD students, an ordinand, a Fellow, a clinical-years medic, and two Finalists, only the last three must face down the papers of doom.

This is how I will feel once exams are over
This is how I will feel once my exams are over (frisbee not included)

I’m sorry to keep harping back to this but it really keeps striking me lately. When I was 18 I would have considered that particular gathering of people to be a collection of Real Grown Ups (TM). Now that I’m part of the gathering, I keep having moments of “oh hey look, that’s what it’s like to be an adult!” and then I watch a video of a cat fighting a weasel or spend half an hour googling pictures of dachshunds and realise I’m not an adult after all.

Incidentally, no one noticed the illicit partying. Apparently the definition has been revised, and a party is now “any gathering of any number of people which produces excessive noise”. I think the college authorities and the law faculty need to have a chat about legal certainty and retrospectivity. And I need to have a chat with my pillow.

Hosting a Vegan Dinner Party

As readers of my food blog will know, tonight I am hosting a vegan dinner party with a friend. I just got back from buying vegetables for it – I was in charge of anything fresh while my friend bought tofu, pine nuts, olives, artichokes, avocadoes (bought at the weekend in the hopes they would be ripe by today) and so forth.

One small hiccup in the plan was that we invited 10 people, and eight of them are coming. That means a total of ten people for dinner, and neither my kitchen nor my room are big enough. I booked a common room, but in the process spotted a sign saying “Absolutely no parties at all this term”. According to the college, a party is any gathering with six or more people. Some other colleges specify the presence of alcohol as making something into a party, and some take the probably more sensible approach of defining a party as a certain number of people plus alcohol. But here, just six people in a room makes it a party.

Obviously the prohibition of parties is because exams are taking place this term, and people don’t want to be disturbed by lots of noise. Our solution is two-fold: firstly, we will instruct our guests not to be noisy. Everyone who is coming is part of the chapel team, so is practised in the art of sitting quietly. Secondly, if someone happens to check the room to make sure that there are no parties going on, the two of us who are college members will claim that we each have four guests, and that our simultaneous presence in the room is entirely coincidental…

Hopefully it won’t come to that. I do think that the college rules could benefit from being a little more nuanced: under the current system, spontaneous and unauthorised parties occur quite frequently in my kitchen when several people decide to cook at the same time, and there’s a non-stop party taking place in the college library. However, five people sitting the gardens shrieking with laughter in front of 200 bedroom windows isn’t restricted at all. Bit daft really.

Busy Busy Busy – Part II

Well, last time we got as far as Saturday evening and now onto Sunday! I have been waking up early lately (this morning it was not even 6am yet, which I was very unimpressed by) and on Sunday, despite my best intentions, I found myself getting out of bed and going for a run. I still can’t quite understand how it is that I can decide not to go running and still find myself running ten minutes later. Anyway.

The senior ordinand at my college chapel was ordained as deacon on Sunday at a huge cathedral about an hour’s drive away. A group of us piled onto a small coach and went along to the service to support him. It was impressively full – there were eleven people being ordained, and it appeared that each of them had brought their entire congregation with them. We had to sit to one side at the back of the cathedral and watch the proceedings on a television screen, á la Royal Wedding. I was entertained by a small baby who was evidently sitting just in front of the camera, and who kept turning round and beaming at someone just off screen. After the service, we piled back onto the coach and went to the parish church our newly-deaconed friend has been assigned to, and ate a huge quantity of absolutely amazing food. I have never been to such a delicious buffet. Unfortunately we had to leave early to get back in time for various other things, but we were there long enough to wish him all the best and to be reassured that his new church is absolutely ideal for him.

The coach back took an unusually scenic route, which meant we arrived back more than half an hour later than expected. I flew across town on my bike to a church I hadn’t been to for over a year, in order to attend another friend’s baptism. Although I never attended this church for services (I went to a Bible study class with the same friend in my first year), it was very similar to the one I started out in, and I enjoyed singing all the familiar worship songs and seeing people I hadn’t spoken to for a long time. It was also lovely to be present at my friend’s baptism, as she has been a huge support to me since we met and came to my confirmation service last term. She has also just graduated, and will be leaving for the big wide world in a matter of days, after getting married on Saturday (yet another ceremony to add to my list this week!).

Sadly I once again had to fly off on my bike, to get back to my own chapel for a choir rehearsal, but not before I had caught up with yet another friend I hadn’t seen in many moons. It was clearly the day for reunions and church services.

The choir rehearsal was in preparation for the recording of a CD of music by Alan Bullard, some of which was composed especially for us. We rehearsed until late in the evening, and then decamped to a nearby pub for the traditional post-rehearsal socialising. Because it’s outside term time, almost everyone has been allocated a room in the first-year accommodation block or one of the college houses, which is rather nice because it means we’re all together (not so nice for the tiny handful of non-choristers also assigned to the same block, I fear). What with this week of rehearsals here and then two weeks on tour in America, I think we’re all going to know each other even better than we already do by the start of next term.

Monday morning was a slow start, as we were free until 3pm. I wandered around doing a few chores, including informing the college library that I hadn’t actually graduated, and therefore please don’t recall all the books I’ve taken out for summer reading. A group of us met up and meandered into town, where I bought an overpriced slice of fudge and a ridiculous quantity of food. The rest of the day was frittered pleasantly, before another six hours of rehearsals.

On Tuesday the recording began. In total, we sang for nine hours with breaks for meals dotted about. The producer was an incredibly sharp but extremely pleasant man with an uncanny knack for noticing the tiniest of mistakes – and for flowery compliments when we finally recorded a perfect take. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy the process as much as I did, but even after nine hours and a state of total exhaustion I was still having fun.

Wednesday was also a day of recording, but we finished by 3.30pm to great jubiliation. There was half an hour of amusement as we put back all the various parts of the chapel which had been removed to improve the acoustics – the altar cloth, the flowers, the communion railings and most laboriously, the carpet. I have some excellent photos of a group of PhD candidates employing a somewhat unorthodox method of reattaching the carpet to its runners.

Once we had finished, I zipped off to take part in a Q&A session at my college’s open day. Then I hurried off again to my second-to-last tutoring lesson, which for once ended on time as my student and his mum were off to see a production of Hamlet in another college’s gardens. When I got home I rather underestimated the amount of time it would take to make a curry, so twenty past eight saw me abandoning a half-cooked pan of curried vegetables in favour of a punting expedition and compline service (complete with cake, port, and much hilarity).

After such a whirlwind of activity, it would be nice to say that I am spending today relaxing and reading. However, I am nothing if not completely barking mad, so in about an hour I will be back at college helping at the university-wide open day and possibly ironing the choir’s surplices in quiet moments, as I have been assigned the tour seamstress in charge of keeping us neat and clean. Then unsurprisingly there is another choir rehearsal, this time for a commemorative dinner to which we are all invited in return for singing evensong beforehand. There’s no rest for choristers this summer.

Vacation: Busier than Term

Well, goodness it has been busy around here. The day after my last post, the choir sang at Westminster Abbey which was amazing. There was remarkably little flapping about polished shoes and neatly-brushed hair, and we sang some lovely music in a fantastic acoustic.

Originally I was going to meet a friend for a drink after the service, but a series of unexpected events meant that she couldn’t make it, so instead I went with the choir to have a delicious meal. As we headed back to the coach to come home again, half a dozen of us decided to stay in London for a bit, so we jumped back off again and went to the pub. It’s been a long time since I spent a relaxed evening in a pub with friends, and it was a lot of fun. It did mean getting the last train back, which is a long and boring journey through just about every station in East Anglia.

Tuesday was spent doing the dregs of my packing, while Stumo heroically hauled almost everything I owned out to the hired van. Then we hustled to the storage unit to unload it (much, much faster than loading – possibly thanks to the lift and enormous trolley instead of three flights of stairs and our bare hands…). I had to abandon Stumo to finish the job in order to catch my train, as I had miscalculated exactly how long it would take to load a life’s possessions into a transit van, and so I headed off on a six-hour trek up the country carrying six bags and an enormous pink sun hat. It was a surprisingly uneventful journey, apart from when I almost got left in a siding when they uncoupled my carriage at the penultimate station.

The three days at my mum’s house were nice. On Wednesday my mum, my grandfather and I went to Chester Zoo (when I get round to uploading photos I will do a post about this). It was an unexpectedly hot and sunny day, and I got rather pink. On the upside, I saw six giraffes.

Thursday my grandfather went home, mum went back to work and my stepdad went to visit his mother so I flopped around and reorganised some boxes. Somehow I managed to get myself talked into going to a Zumba class in the evening. Let me tell you, Zumba is a workout and a half. I couldn’t see the demonstrator properly so I spent most of the hour just randomly flailing energetically – which is pretty much what some of the regulars were doing anyway.

Friday similarly sped by in a flurry of repacking boxes and suitcases, and I set off back down on the reverse of the train journey with slightly fewer bags. An obnoxiously noisy family of small children frustrated the entire carriage for several hours; otherwise the trip was uneventful.

Arriving at my new room for the fortnight, having been booted out by my college, I happened to bump into KT and instead of the early night I was planning we ended up consuming a bottle of fizzy rosé, some brie and a packet of biscuits. It was a bitter-sweet evening, as it was the last one – the next morning, KT and many more of my friends graduated. I didn’t manage to procure a ticket to the ceremony so I stood outside in the welcome line, took photos, prevented dazed graduates from wandering the wrong way and distributed hugs. The weather decided to keep us on our toes, raining suddenly for several minutes and then bursting into rapturous sunshine. Luckily the sunshine decided to stick around over lunchtime for the graduation garden party, for which the catering department excelled themselves.

After so much excitement, I headed back to my room for a private cry and a nap. It felt odd to be heading out to tutoring as usual that evening, but as usual my student cheered me up. I stayed almost half an hour longer chatting to his mother about my summer plans and her recently-marked Masters degree essays (her tutor’s handwriting is the worst I have ever seen – I still hadn’t managed to decipher all the words by the time I left). It was nice not to have to rush off for something, but also sad because it reminded me that this year is over and there is only one more to go.

This is turning into a remarkably long post, so I will break off here and continue in a later one.

It’s Summer, Apparently

It really does feel like the summer vacation now. Despite the fact that I finished exams almost two weeks ago, I wasn’t really in the holiday mood until I went away for the weekend. When I got back, everyone else had finished their exams too and suddenly the university was in party mode. I fell asleep last night to the faint strains of a party taking place at a college five minutes’ walk away. I feel slightly sorry for anyone who lives in this town and isn’t a student, at this time of year. It’s a noisy week.

I’ve done a whole bunch of things in the last ten days. The day after I wrote my last exam, I went off to a National Trust property for the day (preceeded by a delicious breakfast at a cafe I had never been to before – the best French toast I have ever tasted!). I wandered round for several hours, took lots of photos with my not very good phone camera, because I never remember to take my actual camera anywhere, and ate lunch sitting on a damp bench in a constant drizzle. A man came past and joked that I was determined to have a good time whatever happened, but he was right. This was my celebration of freedom day, I had been planning it for weeks, and I was determined that a bit of rain wouldn’t ruin it. And it didn’t!

Anglesey Abbey
Apologies for the awful photo quality, I did my best!

It wasn’t just a bit of rain though; there were gale-force gusts of wind blowing from the moment I woke up, so I decided not to risk trying to cycle. Instead I caught the bus, which I haven’t done for a long time here. There’s no need for buses when you have a bike, so I hadn’t realised that bus fares had gone up. I was 40p short of the price of a day return, so I got a single and simply assumed that I would find a cash machine later. I didn’t. But in order to strengthen my faith in the goodness of humanity, the women working in the National Trust gift shop gave me £2 out of the petty cash in order to cover the cost of a single ticket back into town. I popped the same amount back into an NT donation box the next day and was very grateful not to have had to walk 8 miles in the rain.

When I got home I snuggled up with a DVD and some toffee-coated popcorn and white chocolate. Bad move; at least, the snacks were a bad move. I have finally started to come to terms with the fact that processed sugar makes me ill. I don’t know why, I don’t know the technical medical details, but eating too much chocolate, toffee, cake, even fruit at particularly bad times, makes my stomach cry. An extra level of motivation to eat more healthily, I suppose.

On Saturday I hadn’t got much planned, but a friend invited me out for breakfast and another invited me to her recital that evening. In the middle I spent an hour or so chatting to a very hung-over friend who was sheltering in her dark cave of the-morning-after, and then spontanously went out for coffee with yet another friend. It felt very odd, but also wonderful, to be able to say “sure, I’ll come into town with you!” and not have to worry about an essay I should be writing or a book I was meant to have read.

Just to top off my day of spontaneous socialising, I decided to go to a party I had initially thought I would miss. I’m glad I did, it was great fun and I met a bunch of new people. We sang karaoke (appallingly badly) and I had my first taste of vodka (also appalling, I won’t be trying that again). My plan to head home at 11 didn’t work out and I ended up only getting about four hours sleep.

Sunday was spent with the choir, with a very unfortunately early start, singing at a flower festival in a lovely local parish church. The flower displays were beautiful, the sermon was entertaining and thought-provoking, and they plied us with piles of delicious food to keep us going. Nevertheless, I was glad to get back home at lunchtime in order to grab a couple of hours of sleep before heading back to chapel for the usual Sunday routine.

Monday decided to get itself off to a good start by pouring with rain. I still decided to haul myself into town for a special morning prayer service, in Latin. Apparently it is illegal to read the daily offices in Latin anywhere else in the country, but we have special dispensation which is exercised occasionally. I spent the middle of the day with a friend who had finally, after a long and tiring haul, finished her last exam of her degree, and then taught my usual english lesson before coming back to go for a run, watch a film and eat dinner with the same friends. In case you’re wondering, The Princess and the Frog is the best Disney film I have ever seen. Also Indian food is delicious.

On Tuesday yet another friend decided to claim my company for the day. Initially we were simply going to go into town to buy some shoes, but somehow it spiralled into spending the entire day together, having lunch and chatting and wandering around a whole lot. I had to dash off briefly in the morning to meet with one of my supervisors for some advice about my dissertation, and to send several rather panicked emails in response to a message from the course organiser basically telling me that I would not be able to write the dissertation unless I went to the meeting on Thursday – which I couldn’t attend. Thankfully it seems to be sorted now, and I’m hoping I’ll be fine.

Same friend, different spontaneous day out.

We’re getting close to the end of the week now, don’t worry! Wednesday heralded the taster lectures for the papers available next year. I was fairly certain which papers I was going to choose, but I went along to three of the lectures just to be sure. Next year I will be studying for six papers; five exams (two of them half papers, which are apparently more like 2/3 papers in terms of exam questions but only 1/2 the content to learn) and hopefully a dissertation. I’m excited, but I’m also nervous. The half papers are not supervised, and the dissertation is not lectured, so I will have to be extremely organised about working on each subject without being given a list of things to read and write about.

I also went to the cinema to see What to Expect When You’re Expecting, which I enjoyed but which wasn’t funny enough for my friend – too much sentimentality, I think. It wasn’t as funny as I had thought either, but it was full of cute babies and that is enough for me. Then a mad dash evening of tutoring, curry with the choir and choral compline, before packing up some clothes ready for the next morning.

This chicken is wearing glasses & a fake nose.

I spent Thursday on a coach to Eastbourne. It was a long and not particularly interesting journey, and I was glad to arrive despite the inevitable drizzle and strong winds. My hotel was a bit scuzzy – the curtains were inexplicably made of pale blue fur, as was the base of the bed, and after walking into the bathroom barefoot once I decided not to take my shoes off again. But it was cheap and extremely convenient for the course I was there to attend, which was taking place just downstairs. I ate a packet of instant cous cous and watched documentaries until 10pm, at which point I gave up and went to sleep.

Friday was great! I was in Eastbourne to attend a training course for applying to midwifery, which was really helpful and reignited my enthusiasm which had been waning a little lately. It was lovely to be with a group of women who understood why I’m interested in midwifery, and who all had passion and drive towards the career. The two women running the course were incredibly informative and really supportive. I’m looking forwards to re-writing my personal statement after hearing their advice, and my confidence has rocketed.

Then I had to run to catch a train, because I had a long journey north to my dad’s house. It took six hours, but the journey was blissfully uncomplicated and other than an obnoxious little boy and his drunk dad making a rucus on the platform it was quite enjoyable. My dad and Gill  picked me up from the tiny little train station and we sat up chatting for a while, but sleep was calling our names.

Saturday morning was another early start, because I needed to get to a university open day in time for a midday talk on midwifery. I arrived in the town thinking I was not at all sure about applying to live here, and got to the university campus with an even more certain no in my mind. The talk did little to convince me otherwise; it wasn’t until I reached the clinical skills teaching classroom and saw the incredible facilities they have that I started to change my mind. After chatting to three of the lecturers and also talking to the accommodation team about my chances of getting a flat to myself (pretty good!), it shot up the list to take first place. So it just goes to show that you shouldn’t be convinced by first impressions, I suppose!

Back to my dad’s house again and it was really nice to sit around the kitchen table with my family, chatting and eating Gill’s amazing soup and bread. They have an Aga at the new house, which means that the kitchen is always warm and Gill is always cooking something delicious. I have added an Aga to my dream kitchen. I spent the rest of the evening looking at photos of the university accommodation and exclaiming over how cheap it was – I can get a self-contained single flat for less than I’m currently paying for one room with a shared kitchen and bathroom – and making everyone else look too. It felt so odd that I would be back at uni twenty-four hours later. I’m glad I managed to spend that time there, though: I won’t be able to visit again until at least the end of September.

He’s the Best Dog, and I miss him

A very early start on Sunday morning to get back in time for choir at 1pm, although I got stuck in Stevenage (of all the places to be stuck…) for over half an hour, before being held up further down the line for some unexplained reason. I felt fortunate compared to the people whose train to Leeds was cancelled outright. The poor railway man was still fielding panic and anger when the south-bound train finally arrived, and I managed to get to choir only fifteen minutes late.

After the service we had the chapel garden party, which was a nice relaxed affair full of cake and strawberries. I finally came home in the early evening and watched another film before becoming suddenly inspired to go to the library and fetch some summer reading. My bureau is now full of 8kg of textbooks. I think I might have to return one or two of them, or my suitcase to America will not have any space for clothes.

Finally, we’ve reached today. I slept in with some difficulty, waking up three times before finally getting out of bed at half past nine. Today I’m tackling the mountain of washing up, as well as attending an orchestra rehearsal for a concert on Thursday, and tutoring as usual. The reality that I am moving out a week tomorrow and must have everything packed away and ready to go into storage has fully hit me, and I think that is my cue to get back to the washing up. Wish me luck, there’s a whole term’s worth of crockery to wash…

Exciting Times Up Ahead

I don’t usually post twice in one day, but I don’t usually get this excited about my academic work so it felt worthy of documentation!

Tomorrow’s exam will either be fine, or a total disaster because the subjects I care about are not the ones that come up on the paper. The latter is unlikely, and even if my pet topics don’t come up I should be able to get through on the rote learning I did in lectures and reading. So that will be ok. I’m looking forwards to the chance to expostulate on my views on land law a bit; I enjoyed doing that for contract today.

The other academic excitement is related to next year. Third years get the option to write a dissertation instead of taking one of the exams, and I’ve decided to do that. My very broad topic area is “women and the law” and I realised that I could be eligible for more travel funding this summer if I could relate my American jaunts to my dissertation. It has rather snowballed from there, and today two different people contacted me to say they had three different and useful contacts to correction facilities. Amazingly, all three are in places I will be visiting during the trip anyway – close to friends who we’ll be going to see, or in the state I’m staying in. It rather feels like fate.

A Short Weekend Away

On Friday morning I got into a car and was driven a little over an hour away, to a large house surrounded by countryside. There was no mobile phone reception and I hadn’t taken my computer, so the free wifi was useless to me. I was with a group of people who I knew either reasonably well, slightly, or not at all, but there was never a sense that anyone was unwelcome and by the end of our stay I had made many new friends.

We were there for a little over forty-eight hours, but it feels much longer. And also much shorter, at the same time. Now that I’m back, sitting at my little desk surrounded by things I need to sort out and confronted by two large Post-It notes with my extensive to-do list, I can’t quite remember how it felt to take a leisurely walk through (muddy) fields and watch the birds and rabbits getting on with their lives, or to curl up in an armchair and read for hours on end without any sensation of guilt. We ate huge delicious meals and talked companionably into the night, and then slept soundly in comfortable beds. On Saturday afternoon I had a three-hour nap.

Having returned, and with the start of term imminent, exams are feeling a lot more imminent. But I’m feeling relaxed and ready to go to work. I think it’s the best possible combination: a short break that felt much longer.

The Joys of the Library

A few days ago I went to a comedy show with a friend. We arranged it months ago and she had bought the tickets, so I was definitely tied to going (and anyway we hadn’t hung out for a while and I wanted to see her), but I realised during the afternoon of the show that I didn’t really want to go. I wanted to stay home and go to the library.

I think I’m getting old.

The show was great, by the way. I’m glad I went – but I’m still looking forwards to a library party tonight. Read on!

A Sociable Week

At last, people are starting to drift back to college and I am no longer the only person on my corridor. For the last few days I’ve been very social, having dinner and coffee and afternoon tea and port & cheese and all kinds of merriment with lots of different people. I’ve also discovered that it is much easier to focus on work when I’m not the only person in the building – I suppose the idea that other people are also here, working outside term time, is motivating me a little. Plus although the library is still pretty empty, there is a handful of people around. I always find I concentrate harder when someone else might be able to see me getting distracted…

The other excitement this week is that I have been shopping! I took full advantage of the Lakeland January sale and have bought lots of things of varying usefulness: a tiny bin for my desk and a set of glass storage jars are my favourites (to the amusement of several of my friends, I am in the process of transferring all my dry food into neatly-labelled jars in an attempt to discover what food I actually own).

I’ve also ordered a clutch of CDs. My music collection has been fairly stagnant lately – other than albums I’ve been given as presents, I haven’t really got anything new for about five years. If anyone had been around last week they would have heard me dancing around my room to Shirley Bassey. Today’s new arrival was B.B. King.

Not a lot of great excitement has really happened though, I’m afraid. The revision wends its weary way onwards, although I do seem to be doing a lot more work on the subjects which I don’t actually have exams in, whilst the two mock exams next week have been a bit sidelined for being boring. I’m justifying it on the grounds that the real exams in summer are the ones that matter and if I work at the subjects I care about, and the one that I find horrifically confusing (land law, I’m talking to YOU) then the other two will just slot into place eventually. I hope.