These pics were taken around 16.30 today. That frost had been there all day. All day. The sun is so weak it can’t burn through tiny ice particles. As for the square, it’s covered in a thin layer of ice. I nearly fell over a whole bunch of times crossing it last night.
Archive for the ‘Lancaster Trip’ Category
It is somewhat foggy today. So I went out and took a bunch of pictures. That’s just a few of them – the rest are on my flickr page. The link is in the sidebar.
It was seriously cold out there, so after about 10 minutes my hands were numb, and even my camera was icy. It was also very quiet. Apart from the constant noise of traffic from the motorway over the other side of the field, it was silent. All that could be heard was the rustle of squirrels and rabbits in the leaves. I tried taking a picture of one of the squirrels, but it ran up a tree and disappeared.
Well, I wrote a bunch of stuff about the first few days here at Lancaster in my notebook but I really can’t be bothered typing it all up because there’s a lot of whinging. So I’m just going to write a bunch of stuff.
I got here after a horribly delayed trip thanks to some guy getting hit by a train and eventually found my room. I’ve managed to gather up some plates, bowls, cutlery and mugs thanks to the supermarket and a charity store. I’m not starving yet but haven’t really bought any food other than microwave meals and sandwiches from the bakery. One of the flatmates cooked a lunch today of some kind of cabbage, capsicum, fried pork fibre and rice, served with Taiwanese tea. The pork fibre looks like wood dust and tastes very odd, but interesting nonetheless.
My room is lacking a rubbish bin, the kitchen was lacking a kettle until yesterday and still has no toaster, and they’re shutting off the gas supply to the building this weekend because there’s a problem that’s making the radiators not work. The other two people on this floor are cool but those upstairs seem to be continually moving furniture about, and played Metallica at 2am the other morning.
Enrolling was a stupidly convoluted process where we all had to queue up at various department desks and write our names on lists. One subject I was going to take was cancelled within the last week so now I’m doing one about 1960s political culture in Europe and it sounds like it should be good. The seminars we’ve had to go to have been fairly boring and there’s more of them coming up tomorrow which I can’t say I’m really looking forward to because I’d rather use the time trying to get all my washing done. I’ve only got about 3 shirts left and have a new Lancaster Uni jumper that I want to wear. And there’s only more talks from the different departments on Friday that appear to go all day.
All the social stuff is a little overwhelming. It appears that you have to be totally loyal to your college. People just start chanting college songs at various intervals. They all seem to be “*college* ’til I die”, though. Seems kind of silly but whatever. There’s been ‘childhood hero’ and cross-dressing nights at the Bowland College bar so far, and tomorrow is an ‘A & E’ night. They really like dressing up here. Especially cross dressing. I passed on that, but I did put a coat and gloves on for the childhood hero one and say I was an explorer. Lame, but better than others who claimed to be going as themselves.
I got my ticket for the Bowland fresher’s dinner today so that should be good, I hope. I think we have to look somewhat smart. It’s at the Carleton in Morecambe. I’ll have to make sure. Good thing I brought my long-sleeve shirt. I knew it would come in handy eventually. And then I’m going up to the Lakes District on Sunday. It should be nice. I think there’s only 4 people signed up for it so far. At least I’ve made a friend who’s coming along. It could be a bit lonely otherwise.
As it’s nearly 1am it’s probably a good idea that I go to bed. Too many late nights this week. As I’ve mentioned, I’ve got a day of talks tomorrow to go to. So all is good so far, I guess. I’m feeling somewhat homesick but it hasn’t really got to me too much. Not yet, anyway.
Brighton today. We took the train down from London. Quite quick. It was really sunny so was absolutely perfect for wandering down the beach. Even if the beach is just a big pile of rocks next to the water. What a sorry excuse for a beach. Still, the walk was good. We stopped for fish and chips (excellent) before going down the pier. It was still pretty busy for this time of year. The weather helped, I guess.
Brighton’s odd. It seems to stretch all the way down the coast, but it’s possible to see open hillside above the town when you look back from the pier. I couldn’t work out just how big the place is supposed to be. It is very hilly, though. And the roads are twisty. They go all over the place.
It’s just a pity that the place is full of bloody tourists.
We went to Hampton Court Palace today. It took 2 buses and a boat to get there. The first bus was an experience. This woman started yelling at the driver to slow down because she was falling over. He stopped the bus and yelled back ‘If you don’t like my driving you can get off my bus’. She then called him a cheeky sod, which he responded to with ‘and you’re a cheeky bitch’. Best intoduction to British buses ever.
Hampton Court is amazing. We got lost a couple of times. It’s just so big. As are the rooms – the sheer scale of the Chapel Royal and the dining halls is mindboggling. It’s just a pity they don’t allow photos in those rooms.
The gardens are also pretty amazing. They’re so perfect. It could have been better weather, though. I got absolutely soaked.
We went to the New Forest this weekend. It’s this region down in the south of England that was set up by William the Conqueror to hunt in back in the 11th Century, and it’s been the same ever since, all natural wilderness and little villages. It’s beautiful. The residents are allowed to let their horses and cattle roam around and graze, and they’re given right of way, so they just wander through the villages and cars have to stop for them.
It’s pretty awesome to be able to have a drink outside a pub and have a horse come up to say hello. I did find the town of Burley to be sort of odd, though. They have two shops based on witchcraft. It’s only a small town. How do they support two?
It’s a really beautiful area, the New Forest. You can drive for five minutes and go from clifftops over beaches, to dense forest, to open scrubland plains. just beautiful.
Those rock formations off the coast in the first picture are the needles off the Isle of Wight. It was a really good view out there from Milford-on-Sea. Again, great weather. Incredibly sunny. Yesterday was the last day of it apparently, so it was perfect for getting about the place. Unfortunately that also meant that it was perfect for the New Forest Marathon. We were held up for a good half hour or so as they all straggled past. We’d only passed them about an hour beforehand and they were all in a big group, but that was only five minutes from the start. By this time, they were spread out for a mile or so, and there was no sign of the three in Spongebob Squarepants costumes we’d seen at the start.
So yeah, a very nice little part of the world. Pity about their weird accents.
Got into London about 11. Going to wander about for a few days. After dumping my bags at the hostel I went down to British Museum. I must admit I expected it to be better. Sure, I’ve seen the Rosetta Stone and Cleopatra’s mummy and a bunch of other old stuff the Brits stole, but it seemed to be lacking something. Maybe it was the lack of stuffed animals. And quite frankly, there was too much pottery for my liking.
So with that done it was time to explore Oxford St and its surroundings. Most of the larger stores are confusing. They have odd layouts, with escalators hidden in corners or menswear departments hidden underground or doorways that seem to lead in three different directions. I got quite lost. But I was successful in finding leather gloves. And a bag. But still can’t find a decent jacket.
I also visited the Regent St Apple Store. Jesus, it’s big. Just tables full of iPods and Macs and iPhones, spread over two floors. And it’s constantly busy with people using the machines. Even at 8pm Tuesday night. Crazy.
Found a little restaurant/cafe place for dinner. Then came back to hostel. Fairly basic room but as I’m out all day, all I need is a bed and shower so it doesn’t matter.
The Tate was very interesting. Some brilliant artwork. But some was just plain retarded, like the pile of bricks in one room, or the empty room with a shipping container in the corner. I watched people enter the room and they didn’t even realise it was a piece of art (allegedly). It just looked like a shipping container in the corner of a room.
But there were roadworks all over the place around it so it was just unpleasant to be around. So I decided to go to the Natural History Museum instead. I managed to work out how to get the tube there and everything. Not so confusing at all, really.
The only problem was that it’s Fashion Week in London at the moment, and the main venue is a pavilion outside the Museum. So the place was full of snooty people in stupid clothes. Boo.
I’ve been in London the last few days. It’s brilliant. I’ve just been wandering about visiting things and exploring streets and seeing whether I could get lost on the Underground. So far I haven’t but I’ve come close. It’s mostly a matter of knowing whether you need to go north or south. It’s also been absolutely perfect for wandering. So sunny and warm! Normally I don’t like it when it’s this warm but really it’s not too bad.
I’ve sort of been writing stuff but got a bit lax last night because I was tired and haven’t done any today ut I’ll do it all when I get back on my computer (I’m in an internet cafe right now). I’ve also taken heaps of photos but that was cut short by the battery running out while I was taking pictures of meerkats at the London Zoo. Sadly, that not only meant no shots of gorillas , but also no shots of Russell Brand, who I bumped into while watching the penguins. First celebrity sighting! So glad it was Brand and not the Pussycat Dolls who were apparently just around the corner of the hostel yesterday. There’s a radio station there or something. You could hear the paparazzi shouting at them from a mile off, and the place was covered in photographers. Complete madness. But that’s why I’m here – I wanted to go somewhere where things happen and I suppose that was something.
Back to Bill’s tomorrow. We’re going down to the New Forest this weekend. And that’s about it until I hit Lancaster next Saturday. Feeling somewhat nervous about it at the moment, but that’s to be expected, I guess.
That’s it for the time being. Photos and words will appear at some point or another. There’s heaps of dinosaurs!
I can’t really be bothered writing anything right now, so I’ll just chuck photos around and write about stuff later.
I’m going down to London for a few days next week so I’ll be visiting all the museums and galleries and such. Also, I’ll be staying in a backpacker hostel in the middle of the city. I don’t know what to expect but apparently it’s pretty good.
Oh, another thing – UK radio is weird. It sounds more processed than Australian radio. I don’t know what it is but their voices are odd and almost robotic, and they’re always backed by electronic swirls of sound, kind of like how some of the stations in Project Gotham or GTA are. And the best TV channel here is Dave. It’s all repeats of awesome TV shows like Top Gear, Q.I. with Stephen Fry and Never Mind the Buzzcocks. If only Spicks & Specks was more like Buzzcocks. It would be so great. I don’t know why we don’t get Q.I. It’s not like interesting facts can age. And who cares if we recognise the guests or not? They’re still hilarious.
That’s all for now. Time for some dinner and then down the pub.
We went down to London today. Met up with Terry & Joy’s daughter Sharon and took the train from Hemel to Euston station, where we then took the underground to Embankment. It was only about a 30 minute trip. So quick. Quite an introduction to London, as that station’s just near the Thames, you can see the Eye just opposite, and the Houses of Parliament are just down the road.
The Houses are just incredible. I can’t imagine how long it must have taken to build. It’s beautiful. The little awnings out the front cheapen it for me, though. They don’t seem to be in keeping with the overall design. I’d rather it was left as-is. Big Ben’s also pretty awesome. I didn’t realise it’s actually the name of the bell, not the tower. As for the Eye, well, it’s just a massive ferris wheel. Still, I reckon I’ll go on it at some point. It looks fun. It’s held up by some pretty big cables. It’s also pretty quiet, which surprised me. Machinery that big ought to make some noise. There’s a smaller temporary (like the Eye was meant to be) wheel over in Greenwich that creaks and groans. Not quite the same effect.
We took the sightseeing bus through the city to St Paul’s Cathedral. Jesus, it’s big. Even the door is massive. And like a lot of things seem to be around here, it’s got gold all over it. More buildings and statues should have golden bits, I reckon. It adds a little class.
The Tower Bridge is also quite a structure. It’s huge. I’m still coming to terms with how huge these buildings are. If they’re not ancient, they’re huge. And sometimes both. Apparently a bus back in the 1950s was driving across the bridge when it started opening, so instead of reversing, the driver just jumped the gap like a stuntman. How cool.
The Tower of London is also cool. It’s massive (there we go again) and old (ditto) and made of stone (yup). It was also cold and wet. It just happened to be raining today. Who’d have thought it? Anyway, we didn’t go in because it was terribly busy. It smelt nice outside, though. There was a place selling fish & chips.
The cruise down the river was interesting. I didn’t realise how much of the riverside’s been delevoped into apartments. Which is just about all of it. There are some businesses and pubs along the way, but most is residential now. Doesn’t look like a bad place to live, anyway. Neither is the area around Hyde Park or Belgravia. I could live there for sure. Only a few million (£) a year. No problem. Anyway, the view from the river was good. Saw the entrance to the canal that runs through Hemel, too. The interesting thing here is that the actual business centre is a fair way away from the city centre. I don’t know how that developed but it has. In any case, it’s great, because it means the beautiful old buildings aren’t totally overwhelmed by big glass office towers. There’s new buildings in the old areas, not all of them very nice looking, but at least they don’t ruin things. Even Piccadilly Circus seems to work, because the big flashy advertising is contained to one corner. Pity that none of the ads are for British companies. Ah well.
Today was mostly touristy sightseeing but it’s given me some idea of where things are. I think I’ll need to draw up some kind of list as to what I want to see and what’s located where, so I make it easier to get to where I want. But then again, I like wandering until I get lost, so I might not. Who knows! All I know is that the city’s not so confusing as I imagined, it’s definitely not as dirty as I expected – the air’s quite clean and there isn’t shit all over the place, and it seems pretty easy to get around. It is, however, as awesome as I expected. I can’t wait to get back (Thursday. Hurrah!).