I wonder

I was reviewing some old times I've had with the blog this evening. I was prompted to reminisce by my friends' interest in the blog. (I'm glad to know that I'll sell at least one book to the international market.)
The blog is a great thing to have, and I've remembered calls through it that I most definitely would have forgotten otherwise. But it's frustrating also. I've hinted at a few interesting calls, and then I've never fulfilled the promise to write about them! And, in the subsequent 3-4 years, have forgotten the calls completely. It's scary what makes a memorable call after answering hundreds. One particular 'lost call' interests me though. I really want to know what prompted me to write:
"I’ll spare the details of the most disgusting call I’ve ever been on. I pretty much hope that I never have a more revolting, horrid call. That’s all really. It’ll be a hard call to trump."
How will I ever know if I've trumped it if I never wrote it down? Was it so bad that I didn't write about it and blocked it from my memory?! And what on Earth would I consider that bad? The more simple question may be 'Which orifice?' That would clear it right up.
The mind wanders to strange and terrible lands...

26 May

Messing about in the dark on my favorite street in Coventry

25 May

Sorry I'm a few days behind. Turns out that research and procrastination are not very interesting photo subjects.
But here's one of my building.

Natural Hazards

Well, they saved the best class for last.
We finished up our last classes learning about natual and environmental hazards and laughing off the sheer terror that climate change fills us with. The lectures were interesting, engaging, and I learned stuff that I will remember for more than five minutes, which is more than I can say for a few of the other classes.
We took a field trip to Ironbridge to learn about um, kind of how that whole town has the potential to slide into the river. To prevent that, we saw their multi million pound anti erosion project. They also have multiple seasonal flooding problems which were interesting to learn about and on top of these problems Ironbridge is a world heritage site and relies totally on tourism for its income, and is home to the worlds first iron bridge (as mentioned at Christmas). They have good reason to prevent the town from sliding into the river. It was a very worthwhile outing and I was happy to see Ironbridge in the spring when it was green and lush and not freezing cold.
The whole class made the last one look even more pointless, and as I look back, it didn't even bear mentioning on the blog. It was an utter disappontment (as voiced to our program director). And it was about health! It should have been awesome, but instead the teacher seemed to have no motivation to talk about what we thought he should and took us on a pointless outing to London so he could visit some old friends. (It seemed.) Oh, I did buy an antique first aid kit while wasting time that day, so not a complete loss!
So, clases are over. I have an assignment to write, and then on to thesis research. The thesis which I still continually vascillate about. Do I have the right topic? Is it good enough? Who will my interviewees be? Do I have enough time? All will be answered soon when I get my supervisor who will hopefully fully endorse my topic, read my proposal and begin writing A++++ all around their office. A girl can dream.

Who needs King Arthur?

The next day started off a little rainy, but it was out of its system by the time we reached Tintagel (pronounce that yanks!). This is the alleged site of King Arthurs conception and birth. And after the introduction video, the mystery and uncertainty of it was only worsened. The long and short of it was that even the experts aren't sure, but the potential brings tourists, so, go with it. But after my visit, I found that I didn't really care if King Arthur had been there or not, it was cool either way. And old! Settlement on the strange peninsula (at least some old pots found there) date back to Roman times. It was also apparently a kind of Celtic stronghold, and what historians know for sure is that Richard, the Earl of Cornwall built a castle there in 1233. That's still pretty old by my standards, and it falling to ruin since then only makes it look more legendary and mysterious. Plus a healthy dose of fog helps. I would have been happy to jog around clapping coconuts together.

We also visited the town of Tintagel, their very old (14th century) post office, and had lunch and some delish ice cream. And from there we went near Stepper Point for a nice walk along the coast. The best part of this was Pepper Hole, which was literally a hole in the side of the cliff. And by cliff, I mean tall, scary, rocky cliff. The gorse was in bloom in the fields around there, and filled the air with a lovely coconut-like smell which was great.
In the evening, we caught the sunset at St. Agnes head, which despite the clouds was beautiful, and I'm not sure I'd ever seen the sun set on this side of the Atlantic.

The next day we walked some more of the stunning coast to St. Ives, a very touristy (with good reason) and charming coastal town. We saw a pod of dolphins playing in a bay which was awesome, and then had a great lunch of fish and chips. That is a food that gets proportionately better the closer you get to the sea. After hanging in St. Ives for a while, we took the train back to the car, one of the best short train rides I'd taken as it went right along the coast.
We drove through St. Just (I think) which was, unsurprisingly, beautiful. We stopped in cot valley where the beach has some strange rock formations that look like dinosaur eggs. Ellie then took me to her top two beaches which were really breathtaking.

On the last day we took a coastal walk around the Beacon to Chapel Porth where the beaches went on forever. It goes without saying that it was gorgeous.
I left Cornwall on a satisfyingly long train ride feeling pretty sad to be going back to my land-locked county, but infinitely happy to have spent some time in such a unique and beautiful place. (I am officially out of adjectives).

So, Cornwall

I've discovered the New England of England. It's Cornwall. And I say this because after spending a few days here, like New England, I wondered why any English person would live anywhere else in the country. It is simply amazing.
Now, I recognize that I may be influenced by perfect weather an a convertible '71 MG. But I think Cornwall would still be amazing without them. With some 400 miles of coastline, how could it go wrong?

We started out with the unveiling of the MG, which, well into the day of riding around in it, I believed to be a joke. The epitome of coastline viewing transportation. We started by driving through Falmouth and Pendennis, which was only the beginning. We stopped at Gunwalloe where there is a cute little church and, well, beautiful coastline. I worry I'll be saying that too much in this post.
We headed to the most southerly point in England, the Lizard peninsula. We didn't figure out why it was called Lizard, but who cares? It was not called ugly. There is a very old lighthouse there, an abandoned RNLI station, and tons of natural beauty. We got an enormous pasty (that's pronounced with a long 'a') from the most southern cafe in England and sat on the edge of a cliff enjoying it. Cornwall was a hub of tin mining in the 19th century, and the miners didn't get out of the mines for their lunchbreaks, and therefore were unable to wash the potentially arsenic tinged tin from their hands. Thus, the birth of the pasty, which is basically a thick stew wrapped in pastry. This way, miners could hold one end, eat the rest, and throw the contaminated bit away. Some were even filled half with savory, and half with sweet, though I imagine it did not go well in the middle. I digress.
From the Lizard we, um, well I can't remember exactly what we did next, but did visit a very tiny fishing village, Kennick Sands, and Kynance Cove, where the water was freezing, the rocks were huge, and the surf was beautiful. From there to the north coast of Portreath, where we saw seals in the distance and the lighthouse that Virgina Woolf wrote about.
All in one day. Wow.

23 May

19 May

I know, the project has peaked for this year, and the rest of the months pictures may be quite boring compared to the last four days. Such is life. Yeah, recycle bins in a basement don't come close to yesterdays pic. But it is an exciting development for my building! And the bike has some company.


Just a little post to say that I'm increasingly sure that Cornwall is the greatest county in England. I may be influenced at the moment by fantastic hosts and spending the day riding all over the coast in a classic MG convertable. Not to mention the unbelievable views. I mean, wow. Sign me up. Now I really know where to retire. Anyway, I kind of wanted to test this tiny iPod Internet and see if I could post to the old blog. So far, so good. Pictures will resume in Wednesday and I hope will be worth the wait.

15 May

12 May

Um...class week does not make for good photo taking opportunities. Until tomorrow.

9 May

What part of the gym looks like today. Suddenly I'm really glad that all of my assessments are based on coursework.

5 May

Glass recovered from the cathedral in 1940

Back to the City

Since I already had the tickets, I headed down to London on Monday. I kind of forgot, but Monday here was a bank holiday. Which meant two things to me. One, the museum I had hoped to visit that is free on Mondays, was not actually free, and even though I was right there, my frugality made me wait until I am there again on a non-holiday Monday. Secondly, it meant that tons of people were out and about.
So, I just kind of wandered. I got some fancy cupcakes near Covent Garden, and gave their market a second chance. It being a holiday, there were far more interesting vendors, and I got myself a WWII British Army issue field dressing. Nerdy, I know. But awesome.
I visited my old stand by, the National Gallery. Even with 5 million other people there, it was enjoyable as ever, and is always bigger than I remember it. I had a lovely walk back to the hostel through St. James park, fast becoming my favorite green space in London.

On Tuesday, my plan was a little more clear and led me to the south bank to visit the Old Operating Theatre Museum. Yeah, it's exactly what it says it is, and also full of quirky and strange medical instruments and remedies. The theatre itself was built in 1822 to teach surgeons and to separate the anesthesia free surgeries from the wards. It must have been unsettling for patients to listen to what awaited them. It is strangely situated in the attic of an old church which used to abut to the hospital. This provided great natural light and after surgery you could just dump the patient into the church: instant funeral! Just kidding. Kind of. It wasn't the surgery that killed you, it was infection. Anesthesia wasn't used in the UK until 1846, thanks to the Americans; we could do something right back then. A guide with an encyclopedic knowledge of medical history gave us a talk in the theatre, and I didn't drop any of my junior mints.

The rest of the museum is in the adjoining attic space which is filled with an eclectic (as these things always are) collection of medical instruments through the ages, random organs in jars, and explanations of old herbal and animal derived remedies. So in other words, the perfect museum!

From there I visited Southwark (pronounced 'Suth-uck', don't ask me why) Cathedral. This is London's oldest Gothic building and inside you can see evidence of a Roman road that ran where the cathedral now sits. It's a nice place, but charges for a 'photography permit,' therefore you have to look up interior pictures and the Shakespeare memorial yourself. Sorry, I'm cheap.

Despite the chilly wind, I had a nice wander along the south bank, which is a really nice place to be. For the first time ever, I visited the Tate Modern which I had been kind of avoiding. I was happily surprised to see a Dali and a giant Monet, which pleased me greatly. Otherwise, I left most of the rooms whispering an indulgent 'okaaay.' There's just something about modern art: some stuff felt like it was trying too hard to be avant garde, others I feel like I could have done, and most of the rest, I just didn't get. So, if you, like me, are not a connoisseur of modern art, then you too can finish this museum in about an hour.

I crossed the river on the mellinium bridge where the views were nice and there was a distinct lack of invisible Death Eaters. Yeah, I had to go there. I walked past St. Pauls cathedral and to the Museum of London. I'm frankly surprised I hadn't been here before. It's very nice, and at the moment goes from prehistory to the great fire of 1666. At the end of May, it will double in size, expanding to modern London, and I plan to check it out again then.

I walked a long way through lots of places I didn't know (none of them dodgy) and ended up spending another hour in the British Museum; only 598 more to go, and I'll have seen it all.

Did you know that the underground has 413 elevators?

3 May

Early attempts to make up for the lateness of this post. I owe you an explaination. It'll come. I'm tired.

2 May

Cheating already! So, this was last week, because today was boring, and all I did was write sentences and go to the gym, neither of which make good photo subjects. And it was cloudy. But the daffodils cheered me up.
Don't worry, tomorrows picture will be better. I'm back to the big city. Although I won't be able to post it until the next day. This project is fraught with complication. Or laziness. Or cheapness. Something like that.

That photo a day thing 2010- 1 May

Welcome to the annual 'photo a day thing' for 2010. In the past two years, I've had fun with this project, and especially this year: it continues! Thinking a lot about my upcoming June, the project is probably better suited for that month this year, but hey, the blog says May, so May it is.
I spent most of the day booking and re-booking for upcoming visits. I'm glaring menacingly at you, Iceland. This evening, I went to a really nice barbeque which allowed me to get my monthly requirement of shop talk out of the way. Ah, blood and gore from across the pond. As for the pic o' the day, some Coventrian rooftops.