Guy Fawkes Night

I apologise in advance – I did not take any photos. I put my camera into my bag, and I fully intended to take photos. I even thought about it a few times while I was at the bonfire. But I never actually executed the plan.

Guy Fawkes Night, also known as Bonfire Night, also known as the start of my favourite season. When I was a child we sometimes went to small bonfire parties – I think we might even have had our own once or twice (until we got banned by the council from ever having a fire in our garden again – grumpy complainatron neighbours). But it was not until I came to university that November 5th became such a big deal.

Last night I was tutoring until 6.30, and as soon as the lesson ended I hurried to my bike and pedalled like mad back towards college to meet some choir friends and my new boyfriend Charles (people who I have not told about him, consider this post your official notification). In a feat of contradictory well/badly-organisedness I had not had time to put on tights for added warmth, but had brought them with me, so I made everyone wait while I ran to the bathroom to put them on. It is interesting, incidentally, how much more difficult it is to put on tights when you are in a hurry. Suddenly your feet are all angles and the fabric becomes impossibly fragile and you can’t keep your balance standing on one foot.

Anyway when I re-emerged our group had suddenly expanded from four to about fifteen, mostly Charles’s college friends in an assortment of odd hats. We rabbled our way towards the centre of town, at every road junction meeting another wave of people heading the same way. By the time we reached the main street we were a small group in a crowd of hundreds, all streaming in the same direction. If I were a tourist without knowledge of uniquely British festivals I would have been terrified: it looked like an invasion.

The bonfire is always held in a park at the north of the city, which you can approach from several different directions. All the roads in the vicinity had been closed and were just a solid mass of people flocking forwards towards the entrances. I am decidedly not a fan of crowds, or loud noises, or flashing lights – it is rather ironic that I enjoy Bonfire Night at all.

It has been raining quite a lot lately, so the grass was pretty squelchy and as a result the paths were blocked solid with people attempting to buy flashy plastic toys to wave around. We lost most of the be-hatted stragglers and the original gang made our way to a small empty patch of grass to wait for the fireworks to start.

They were absolutely gorgeous fireworks, I have to say. The louder explosions made me wince, and the ending which was a storm of bangs and screeches made me actually turn away and try to hide in Charles’s jacket, but for twenty minutes the sky was a riot of golds, purples, reds, greens, yellows and silvers. When I was a child we lived across the valley from a firework factory and they would often test their newest batch. We’d kneel up on the bathroom window ledge and watch them – all the colours without the noise, which was lost in the wide space between the two hills. It wasn’t quite as impressive as standing right up beneath the sparks though.

Once the display had come to its noisy end, people started to dissipate and they lit the huge bonfire almost immediately. I hadn’t had time to eat, so we briefly stood in a queue for a burger van – the falafel van was nowhere in sight, to my bitter disappointment – but then realised there were no veggie burgers on sale, so we rejoined the crowded streets to find another purveyer of fried goods. In the town marketplace at night a beacon appears, locally known as the Van of Life although I think its real name is slightly different (it has a competitor on the other side of the marketplace who is called the Van of Death – its real name is entirely different!) and we joined the rabble there. I was quite impressed to see that they were frying my veggie burger in a separate pan and using special green tongs to serve it; I was all set to pretend I didn’t know it had been fried next to beef and chicken burgers, so it was nice to actually know it hadn’t. We sat on the wall outside Kings College and pondered the economic logic of a gift shop which stays open long after dark. I just had a look for the shop’s website and didn’t find one, but I did find a directory page which informed me that the shop closes at 5.30. That clearly is not true – I have seen it open at nearly 10pm, but never have I been tempted to buy a teddy bear wearing academic dress at that time or indeed any time.

Now the next event to look forward to, if that is the right word, is Remembrance Sunday this weekend. We are singing Faure’s Requiem and the well-known stanza from For The Fallen, and in between the two the names of the students and fellows who died in the world wars are read out, until it is hard to sing around the lump in your throat and not a few of the choir are crying.


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…

Exams have Finished!

The last one was this morning, and whilst it didn’t go as well as some of the others, it wasn’t a catastrophe. I’m glad to have finished, but not particularly elated or relieved. I’m also very glad not to have the type of friends who stand outside the exam hall waiting to spray the exiting candidates with sparkling wine.

I celebrated my freedom by coming home and having a nap. Well, I’ve got four months to do fun things!


I may have three exams this week (it’s not actually a question of “may”. I do) but I am still celebrating the jubilee! Mostly by listening to BBC coverage and feeling a mixture of gladness and disappointment that I couldn’t get down to London to see the flotilla and the concert.

The pageant was great, even on a little tiny laptop screen over video link. I’m a fan of the Thames and I love watching boats – a month or so ago I went down to London to see a Gilbert and Sullivan semi-staged performance and insisted on visiting HMS Belfast afterwards – but I’m not a fan of enormous crowds so perhaps it was best that I had to stay home with my textbooks.

The concert is… well. I think I was rather spoiled by being brought up in the folk world, where people sing in tune during their live performances and don’t use autotune on their recordings. I’m sure the crowd are having a lot of fun but good grief are some of the acts out of tune. Poor Queenie. There are some nice moments interspersed though – the classical performers, even classical performers singing the sort of cliched Classic FM highlights that have been selected for tonight, tend to be a bit more technically adept than pop stars who build their careers on flashy outfits and television interviewers.

Anyway. It is a nice distraction from international law revision. I feel as though I haven’t done much revision for this subject, but I realised when I looked over the syllabus that I’ve actually covered every topic in a reasonable amount of detail. I began revising quite early for this one, on the grounds that I didn’t understand anything at all, so hopefully tomorrow’s exam will go well. Two more after that, and then I’m finally free!

Now seems as good a time as any to write about Friday’s trip to see Singing in the Rain. It was a late birthday gift from Sarah, Henry and Stumo. Friday happened to be the only day we could all go, thanks to Sarah and Henry’s Real Person jobs, my gallivanting off to America for the summer, and everyone’s general commitments, so I put down my flashcards and went. Stumo and I grabbed some dinner from Maoz, which was totally delicious, then met the others at the theatre.

The show was completely new to me, other than the signature song. It took me a few minutes to work out what was going on, and we had fairly terrible seats – not so much a problem with the seats themselves, to be honest, although there was an inherent problem with the forestage disappearing underneath the edge of the balcony, but more a problem with the woman sat in front of me with enormous fluffy white hair. Eventually we shuffled around sufficiently that we could all see properly (fortunately there were spare seats on our row) and I could see the amazing dancing and the gorgeous costumes as well as hearing the singing.

I remain unconvinced as to the plot merits of the show, but it’s not really a plot-based musical. It was basically a dance extravaganza with an incredible rainstorm at the end of each act. I was wearing my stage manager hat trying to imagine how on earth they got away with the risk assessment for the ankle-deep water during the titular dance and song number, and we were all very impressed with the efficient and thorough (but rather incongrously plastic) mopping by members of the crew in full costume. It put to shame the trials that we had with the canal we built for a production of the Gondoliers a couple of years ago.

Going to see the show was the first thing on my list of “Things to Look Forwards To” (genuinely – it’s stuck to the top of my desk as a motivator). The rest of the list runs though a bunch of special choir events, garden parties, trips to various parts of the country, a few days at my mum’s, my friends’ graduation ceremony, a friend’s wedding, and finally the tour in America. It’s rather alarming to think that it’s already June. In just over five weeks I’ll be in the States, and in just under seven weeks I’ll be heading over to Indiana for the summer, armed with a sheaf of contacts for my dissertation research and a calendar of exciting things to do.

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.

Premonitions of Summer

We didn’t really have a spring this year, did we? The weather here, at least, and presumably elsewhere in the UK, has been a bit mad – miserable grey winter-type days, interspersed with hot sunny summer days.

This week we’re in a run of hot sunny summer days. And I’m melting. Tomorrow I’ll break out my new summer skirts and shoes, assuming that I can bear to put the shoes on over the blisters I rubbed wearing uncomfortable trainers earlier in the week, but even switching denim for cotton is unlikely to stop me from wanting to just lie down in the fridge.

According to the internet, and my reliable sources living out there, the USA is going to be at least this hot, if not hotter, all summer. It could reach 30 degrees celcius in August. Today it’s been about 22 and I’m feeling a bit sick. Oh dear. Wish me luck.

Incidentally, I went to buy some sun cream the other day and it was £15 a bottle. I almost passed out, and then I walked out again in the optimistic hope that it might get cheaper later in the year. Unlikely, I realise.

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 New House

I spent the last two days at the new house, which is a small cottage in a village not all that far away from the old house, but with quite a different feel. I’ve never lived in a house where people could look straight in from the street, so it was an unusual experience to be sitting at the kitchen table and look up to see someone peering into the flowerbeds just outside. The road running past is fairly busy for such a rural village, but it is busy with hikers, cyclists, land rovers and tractors – not a lot of normal cars. Apparently the Yorkshire cycle route runs along that road for a while, which explains all the bikes.

When we first arrived on Saturday, we were just ahead of the removal van which was bringing a wardrobe and various other pieces of large furniture. The bouncing, friendly, eight-years-old-but-still-a-puppy-inside Labradoodle is always extremely keen to meet new people, and the general feeling was that his keenness would not be an asset when heavy items were being lifted, so I took him out for a walk down the “public footpath”. I’m not exactly sure whether we stuck to the footpath or not, because the walls between the fields we were crossing had crumbled so badly it was impossible to work out what was public and what was not, but no one shot at us and we had a fair tramp until I saw the van driving off again. Then we went back so that I could have a proper look around.

It’s a lovely little house and reminds me very strongly of the old house, which is where I am tonight. I think that’s because of the deep windows, the Yorkshire stone and the wooden beams on the ceiling – probably the self-same things that led my family to buy the new place. The room I slept in was advertised as a study, because it isn’t really big enough to fit in a bed. Well, it would be, but for some unknown reason a sort of step has been built into the corner of the room and the remaining space against the wall isn’t quite long enough to place a bed. We aren’t put off by such impossibilities, however, so I spent the last two nights sleeping on a camp bed propped at a slightly off-level angle on top of the step. The room, never having been a bedroom before, has no curtains. The neighbour has a bright outside light. I slept surprisingly well.

My favourite room is probably the kitchen. There’s an Aga, which keeps the house lovely and warm and means that making toast is almost too easy. The sunlight streams in and there’s a gorgeous view out of the window. The dog has his own little bedroom in the disused fireplace and there’s a proper farmyard sink. All over the house there are nooks set into the walls. For some reason my brother has carefully filled each one with Furbies.

Now I’m back at the old house. I had hoped to be here by late morning so that I could get something useful done, but in the end we made it here around 2pm and I spent the next hour reorganising the freezer while the huge fish tank was dismantled and removed. The parentals sped off to get the tank set up in its new home before the fish suffocated, and I cleaned up a bit and planned a few meals for the next week.

At five thirty the Tesco order arrived. We’d put in the order last night, or rather I had made a shopping list on my Tesco account and then read it aloud to my dad so that he could place the order from his account and get his precious Clubcard points. Through a miracle of ineptitude and bad website design, only four of the items on my list actually arrived – all the items ordered in multiples. The remaining dozen items were never actually added to the basket. So I rapidly changed my plans for dinner and put in another order. It will arrive between 9pm and 11pm tomorrow, because that is of course the ideal time for shopping to arrive at the door.

When my brother got home we ate instant pasta and terrible flapjack, then went for a cycle ride on the electric bicycles. He cycles on his electric bike to school and back each day, up and down steep hills for several miles, so is completely used to the odd feeling of pushing down on a pedal and flying forwards 30 yards, even uphill. I took a while longer to warm to the idea; in fact I’m not sure I entirely enjoyed it even after almost an hour but it’s certainly an efficient way to move. I’m seriously considering the possibility of buying my own when I start my midwifery degree (when, not if – I’m employing a Positive Mental Attitude to applying for a course that often gets 40 applicants for every place) as it’ll be a whole lot cheaper than a car and a lot more convenient than the bus.

Now it’s time for bed. I’m planning on getting up at 7am when lil bro’s alarm goes off for school, so that we can fight for the shower and the cereal bowls. If the weather is fine, I’ll go out and weed the garden for a bit before it gets too hot and then settle in for a proper blitz on the junk in my bedroom. If the weather isn’t fine then I will consult the arm’s-length list of tasks I’ve been left to do. It’s occasionally slightly disheartening to look round this house and see just how much stuff there is to pack, throw away, clean and fix.

Vacating Again

I have to admit, I’m feeling a bit vacant.

In the last week I’ve been in Cambridge, Hemingford Abbotts (no, I don’t know where that is either), Wakefield, London, Leeds and now Halifax. Tomorrow I’m going to see my dad’s new house – not a clue where that is. I saw three of my parents and my brother all in the same house today, which is a very unusual event. I met some people from the internet. I went to a karaoke bar. I ate Japanese curry. Now I’m going to bed. Hopefully when I wake up tomorrow my brain will have caught up with me.