Happy New Year one and all. Somewhat late I realise (it will be Easter soon), but nonetheless sincere. I am up to my neck in assessments and class essays, and so have slipped rather with my Squeamish entries. Anyway, a brief recap … during the Christmas break, to get into the Christmas Spirit, my pal Fern and I decided to meet in town to visit the Christmas market.
A couple of days later, a brass band were playing carols; I could hear them from inside the shop. At last, 'Christmas carols!' I thought, so I quickly joined the check out queue to pay for Fifty Sheds of Grey and got outside just as the last note was being strangled from a trumpet, before they all packed up and went home! Since I bought Sheds in a garden centre I imagined it to be about gardening, but it was actually nearly as awful as its cousin. ‘She pulled and pulled until eventually it came (off), and then she removed my other wellington’. Oh well, you live and learn.
I was quite keen to get back into the routine of university life in the new year, not least to escape the overindulgence of Christmas, but also because my visitors descended on 22nd December and some didn’t leave until the 31st. In my mind’s eye I pictured the calm tranquillity of the library, carefully choosing not to recall the whispering, rustling, sniffing and coughing that swirls round the room like a fog. I imagined the delights of no longer needing to menu plan, food shop and then cook the bloody stuff.
I had obviously forgotten how glad I was to break up for Christmas since the practical reality of being back is actually...stress. The amount of work is now almost overwhelming in complexity and quantity, and the availability of car parking is as awful as ever it was. I still have to arrive hours in advance of lectures to be sure of a space.
University gives you confidence, until you have to go back, and then it gives you headaches...
For my birthday, I got an iPad and I have spent far too long playing on it instead of studying. I went to an Apple workshop to learn how to use it and when I came out there was several inches of snow on the ground so by the time I got to uni there was nowhere to park. Again!
Actually I am very sad to discover that Apple have encountered child labour in their supply chain, when they say they go to great lengths to make sure it doesn’t happen, so I hope they get their act together or I will have to add them to my ‘disappointment’ list along with Amazon, who have not paid any corporation tax.
I am torn, its so easy to buy books from Amazon and they have a great second hand market. In fact it’s too easy with their ‘one click’ method and as I didn’t fully realise what was going on, ended up with three copies of the same thing. Luckily I was the only one in when they were delivered, and so I’ve spaced them out on the book shelf here and there to disguise their existence until I can find suitable recipients. I feel I need to keep the risk of detection of my Senior Moment to a minimum!
So, the spring term is well under way and I really feel quite established at Warwick now. Not living on campus has had its drawbacks in some respects, but when I wasn’t able to get to lectures because of the snow, fellow students emailed me with their own notes or forwarded me reading lists or just checked to see if I was OK, and it made me feel warm because I didn’t ask any of them to do that.
Yesterday we recorded a podcast. Well I say we, I really mean Elliott, but our group all contributed and it really was rather good. It was based on a call centre scenario. People who carried a stigma could call in for advice, and our responses, as call centre staff, had to be such that it demonstrated full comprehension of Goffman’s book, Stigma. Great. Only problem was whilst the recorder could be paused, its rewind facility was obstinate and so after a quick rehearsal, we recorded it all in one take. No time to be luvvies and divas, we just had to rattle it off in one fell swoop.
A new pub has opened up in Birmingham, selling Brewdog beers. Brewdog evidently specialise in traditional brewing methods, but have also pioneered a method, without distillation they are keen to point out, of brewing a beer that is 41% proof. I kid you not, 41% proof, and can only be sold in 25ml measures. To me it tasted like liquorice brandy, it was of that consistency. Amazingly it grew ‘legs’ and clung to the glass, much like I did having consumed several measures. This particular beer was called Sink the Bismark and is so called because the previous record for the strongest beer was held by the Germans. I’m not sure I’m entirely happy with that sentiment, but I was certainly happy that there was no sediment.
When not drinking proud British alcohol I've been in Braintree, Brighton and Burnley. Did you know that Burnley is in a different time zone from the rest of the country? No, honestly, it is. We went out for lunch at 1.00pm. I don’t know what time zone the first pub we went to was in, but it was certainly not conducive to eating, sporting as it did, lime green walls and red flock wall paper with both matching and contrasting seat covers in a shade of vomit orange. We were equally under-prepared for the gentle waft of Eau De Homme which invaded the room every time the gents loo door swung into action, which was often. So we moved on. The next pub we went to was shut. On a Saturday. A Saturday lunch time. It didn’t open until 5.30pm. So we moved on. The next pub we arrived at had stopped serving lunch by the time we got there. So we moved on. Actually we didn’t, that’s a lie! We were fed up by then and decided to stay and wait for the evening performance which started at 6pm, surviving in the meantime on a liquid lunch.
The next morning we thought it would be nice to go out for breakfast, so off we trotted at 11am to the Fat Giraffe for Eggs Benedict, but alas they were just closing as we got there. A quick trip to Tesco saved the day and we breakfasted on bacon sarnies, almond croissants and bucks fizz. It's no wonder I never lose any weight though I would think living in Burnley would soon knock me into shape. Its so amazingly hilly; the views are totally captivating. Should you venture north just set your alarm to GMT minus a couple of hours and you shouldn’t starve.
Everyone does however sound like Jane Horrocks and didn’t understand a word this softy southerner was saying. I found myself speaking in an Ilkley Moor Bah Tat kind of Miranda style, by way of compensation. I’ve no idea where that came from and my family kept telling me to shut up, but I just couldn’t seem to help myself! They gagged me when I came out with ‘Ee Bah Gum’ not least because that’s a Yorkshire saying and we were in Lancashire for heaven’s sake! I think they feared a War of the Roses revival.
This week sees the deadline for the handing in of class essays. Then there will be seen exam papers in April leading up to finals in June and that will be my first year over. I can hardly believe I have survived. I’m not out of the woods yet of course and I have no idea when or how we get to know if we have made it through to the next round in September. These things have a habit of sorting themselves out eventually and fear of the unknown is not quite so daunting for me as it once was since there is so much I don’t know that I’m rather getting used to it now!