Tag Archives: haunted

Automatic writing exercise (aka why I must not stay up late)

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It was cold, it was wet, and I wanted to punch someone. So….a typical Monday morning. The mist curled around my ankles as I leaned tiredly against the bus stop, like wet fingers crawling up my spine. Yawn after half-formed yawn I shook myself. Staying up late last night had not been a good idea but the alternative -an eight-hour roller coaster of nightmares- didn’t sound very inviting either. A shiver ran through my spine as it started to actually rain and the shadows of the nearby trees lengthened sinisterly. Great! Just what I needed! I’m running late for my class and now I’m to have an encounter with a semi-immortal being with a shtick for showy entrances before my first cup of coffee.

“I swear, whoever-you-are, if you so much as materialise a finger, I will bind you in a circle and hit you with my bag.”

I let said bag fall to the ground with an impressive THUD. The shadows shrink back to their proper place hastily and I smirk. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Nothing like the comforting wight of Shakespeare’s Complete Works to make a girl feel safe…

Those that wonder the night

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Shadows were dancing at the corners of Timmy’s eyes as he hurried home. The game of hide-and-seek he and his friends had been playing had lasted a lot longer than it should have and now Timmy, whose house was the one furthest from the park, had to make his way in the dark.

“The mayor should put some lamps around here,” he grumbled, repeating the words his father said every time they walked out after sunset. The shadows jumped again and this time Timmy could have sworn he heard something rustle. Shuddering, it was a cold night for the season, he told himself. Nevertheless he walked faster.

“This better not be the others trying to prank me,” he mumbled when rustling was heard again after a few minutes. Having had enough, he turned abruptly to look behind him. Phantom shadows moved for an instant to his left, but by the time he had completed his jump –and a rather impressive jump it was, the kind that you usually encounter in movies with more gunshots than dialog- the enemy he encountered was an innocent-looking pile of leaves lying on the sidewalk. Timmy snorted at his nervousness and turned homewards again.

 

Then, just as he was crossing an intersection, the rustling was heard again. A chill ran down his spine. He turned again. An empty bag was crossing the road right behind him, carried by the breeze. From an alleyway a crash was heard and with a yelp Timmy started running. If any more shadows appeared, he was too focused at the lone light shining in front of his home’s door to pay them any attention. Timmy frantically searched for his keys, the rustling of leaves, much closer now, filling his ears. The door opened… Timmy risked a glance behind his shoulder, only to see a small pile of dry alder leaves fluttering innocently at the porch.

 

The next afternoon there was a knock on the door. Timmy looked on curiously from the kitchen table as a strange man stepped through.

“My name is Erich Koenig,” he introduced himself to Timmy’s mother. “I just moved next door and thought I’d meet the neighbours.” Mr Koenig looked and his eyes met Timmy’s. With a smile he nodded his greeting to the boy and left, a trail of dry leaves following him, dancing in the light breeze.

The Pied Piper

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Part I

Beyond the jade green hill,

And past the gurgling river,

There lies the town of Hamelin,

Of golden-appled Hamelin.

 

Long gone the days

Of singing and dance.

Laughter is night forgot,

In the weary town of Hamelin,

Of golden-appled Hamelin.

 

Rats plague the houses,

The burrows, the streets.

Their pattering haunts

The troubled dreams of Hamelin,

Of golden-appled Hamelin.

 

Part II

Through spiralling road dust,

‘yond hill and swift river,

There came a motley man to Hamelin,

To golden-appled Hamelin.

 

His coat was russet

Red and green. His pipes

Gleamed gaily in the sun,

As he danced his way to Hamelin,

To golden-appled Hamelin.

 

Mayor and people

Ran to the streets; to marvel

At this wondrous sight:

Salvation came to Hamelin,

To golden-appled Hamelin.

 

Part III

“I’ll clean your houses

From the rats,” promised

The merry piper,

Before the men of Hamelin,

Of golden-appled Hamelin.

 

Gold he was promised,

Bounteous reward. Yet,

He just laughed and played

Through the streets of Hamelin,

Of golden-appled Hamelin.

 

Miracle witnessed,

Rats following the tune

Of a magical piper.

Out of the streets of Hamelin,

Of golden-appled Hamelin.

 

Part IV

But pledges made in

Wintry times, don’t hold,

When summer comes to Hamelin,

Oh, golden-appled Hamelin.

 

The town shut its doors,

The piper was run out.

His past services forgot,

By the ungrateful Hamelin,

Oh, golden-appled Hamelin.

 

The russet-and-green man

Took the dusty road,

Vengeance declaring

Against Hamelin,

Oh, golden-appled Hamelin.

 

Part V

Next summer solstice

He returned, by the river,

Outside the city of Hamelin,

Oh, golden-appled Hamelin.

 

He played his music

For us babes and kids,

Calling us from the hearths

Of our houses at Hamelin,

Oh, golden-appled Hamelin.

 

We children, followed

His song, out of town,

Past the gurgling river,

Under the hill by Hamelin,

Oh, golden-appled Hamelin.

 

And there we remain

For all of time,

The golden apples of Hamelin,

Oh, much-accursed Hamelin.

Spring Trip 2014 – Day 2 – English version

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The quest for breakfast (Cote Brasserie)

I’ve been through this before. Repeatedly. Why then, did I wake up at eight, thinking I’d find somewhere to have breakfast in town? Somewhere that is not Starbucks and/or Costa preferably. I took me an hour (and several disappointments) but I finally found brasserie where I am right now.

 

 

 

Not that I mind the morning walk! While I was just passing by York Minster the service must have been coming to a close, because the bells were giving a proper concert. Now, I already have a nerd streak for all things medieval…. I think I’ll be dragging myself kicking and screaming from this city…I also got the chance to have a look at the open air market while they were still setting up. I don’t doubt that once it’s properly open it’ll be fantastic. Personally though, I’ve always found the preparation much more fascinating that the final product.

I ended up at the Cote Brasserie. Usually I avoid this kind of food places, but at this point I don’t have a whole lot of choices… Having just finished my breakfast, I stand pleasantly surprised. The food might have not been extraordinary, but the portions were just right, the fruit salad fresh and the toast steaming. As soon as I am done here, I’ll set off for the university campus. Everyone’s been telling me that it’s too far to walk to, but when I looked it up on the map it was only thirty minutes away. Do I look THAT out of shape?

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Wuthering Campus

Logical people visit the university they’re interested in when the weather is nice. When they eventually start attending classes there, they get the shock of their lives at the first brush of bad weather. And although I agree it is a really bad idea to look for a house to rent under cover of darkness (and or hale), I will insist that a campus that looks interesting and is walkable when it’s rainy and windy, can only be better under good weather. What’s with the manifesto? Well, I have to somehow justify the fact that I spent nearly two hours wandering around campus under freezing rain.

I admit that when I decided to check the campus out I was already positively predisposed. The prospectus the university site had really done their job. Unfortunately I was not able to have a look inside any buildings (since Sunday equals all-shut-down-day around here…). Regardless, I walked the biggest part of the campus and I definitely liked what I thought.

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The buildings look a lot like those at UEA, which shouldn’t surprise me since both universities were established around the same time. (Back when concrete was considered art….) York is bigger in terms of grounds, with more landscapes (is that how you call it when it’s supposed to look natural but it’s clearly not?

Personally I find it hilarious that as much of an issue we have at UEA with rabbits, so do they here with ducks… Ducks everywhere! And the nerve of them! If they see you put your hand in your pocket, they will follow you until you’ve fed them.

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“Fellas, this one’s got a rucksack” We’re gonna have a feast!”

 

Walk with no compass

As I walked to the uni, so did I return. Of course fit or not fit, my legs were starting to complain, but I didn’t want to sit for lunch just yet. So I walked up the walls and went all the way to the river, pretending I had gone back 800 years. I usually avoid river cruises because a. I get sea sick and b. I’m a bit of a snob and this kind of cruises remind me to much of those sight-seeing buses. After mature thought I decided that there are exceptions to every rule and yes, I did get on the boat.

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Hmmmm… I look a bit tired. Well, four hours of walking tend to do that. When the boat ride was done (nothing great but I needed the break) I decided that NOW I would go for lunch. Yesterday it was a pub, but today I felt like going somewhere closer to home. A quick Google and I found a restaurant which specialises at Kapadokian cooking. What’s that to do with my home? I was going for Mediterranean but not pizza related. The moment you see pizza on a menu you know you’re really in an Italian place, just under a different name…

Initially I was going to relax this afternoon, but then I realised that I am in a city with more ghost walks than inaccuracies at any given comment thread. So after debating with myself for a grand total of five minutes (ha!) I figured I’d go for the original, meaning the guy that started this gimmick. He was a lovely guy (I’ve got his leaflet somewhere, I just can’t be bother to find right now), stories, but he also knew quite a lot historical trivia (of the horrible histories variety). Very interesting indeed. Unfortunately he did not return us from the route we took at first and I ended up a bit lost until I found the minster and was able to orient myself. And as I said yesterday: haunted town + darkness = scaaaaaaryyyyy!

Spring Trip 2014 – Day 1 – English version

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HOLD IT! If you are looking for the Greek version, then go back a post!

En route to Peterborough

I shall begin this account by reminding the honoured reader that I have no clue what I am doing. Should I describe the landscape? Should I give names, times and landmarks? Should I just write whatever comes to my head? I don’t know.

It’s so strange… On an intellectual level I know I’ve packed everything, that I am on the right train and on time. Why is there then a tiny voice insisting that I will end up (again!) lost somewhere in central England?

My day started well. I was packed and ready to go two hours ahead of schedule and just had to wait for my taxi. The driver was friendly and even offered to take me through a back route so that I could avoid the jam in front of the rail station. Figures that there’d be a football match today…

Whatever! I’m on the train to Peterborough (weird name much?) where I will change to one for York.

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Morning fellas!

First stop happens to be Ely. Now am I the only one who thinks that the ways this town’s name are spelled and pronounced do not much?

Looks pretty cool though. I might come for more exploring on a later date.

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(Ely as we whizz by)

 

Oh jeez! Someone’s eating a toast. Hungry now!

Something else I find funny (yes, I know there is little discernible structure here): You never really know how heavy your suitcase is until you have to lift it over your head. Now, I never claimed any predisposition in weightlifting, so rather than having a suitcase landing on my head, I squished it between my seat and the front one. Let me tell you, it makes a pretty confortable foot stool when you sit sideways.

Half an hour to Peterborough.

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Peterborough station

 

En route to York

It’s really not that warm. Why then do train lines insist on always having the air conditioning on cool? I’m about an hour away from York, and the second train of the day is much more packed than the first. This time I didn’t even try to lift the suitcase. Things are a bit more complicated however, since there is someone actually sitting next to me now. Thank goodness for yoga! Every time someone needs to pass by me, I lift my legs over the suitcase, sit lotus-style and put my backpack over them. Then, once they’re gone, I…unfold again.

If you ignore the cold, I admit that traveling by train is pretty comfy. Not that that changes the fact that I can’t wait to arrive. Even I can’t stand to sit still for five hours!

The Golden Fleece, York

Finally made it to York safe and sound. The weather’s a bit cloudy, but it’s not cold, so the walk to the hotel was pleasant. From what little I’ve seen so far, York looks like a bigger version of Norwich. Not that I’m complaining!

The hotel, Georgian House, is tiny, only 18 rooms. I was miffed to realise that breakfast is not included, but I’ve already cased a few tea places that look good, so no problemo!

My room’s up in the attic. It much have been on those reserved for the servants back in the olden days. To get to it you need to climb a staircase so steep that I honestly wonder whether they built it like that on purpose!

The room is so small that the corresponding bathroom is completely separate and situated a few floors below. Should make things interesting when I go for a shower…

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At least the bed is comfy.

 

Once I was all set, I went for a little walk around the historical centre. I’m no expert in architecture, but I doubt any of the buildings I saw were built after the 1800s. I’m going to do a more thorough exploration on Monday, but for now my goal was The Golden Fleece pub.

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It’s one of the oldest and most haunted pub in England (and given that there is a skeleton at the bar, I’m not surprised).

 

All in all, the interior is very well kept and the food’s great.

I will go back to my hotel once I’m done with my cider. Normally I’d walk a little longer, but frankly I’d rather not get lost in a haunted city after it’s dark…

Spring Trip 2014 – Day 1

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Καθοδόν για Peterborough

Ξεκινάω αυτή την αφήγηση υπενθυμίζοντας στον αναγνώστη ότι δεν έχω ιδέα τι κάνω. Πρέπει να περιγράψω το τοπίο; Να δώσω στοιχεία όπως ονόματα, ώρες και ορόσημα; Να καταγράψω τις σκέψεις μου όπως μου έρχονται; Δεν ξέρω.

Είναι τόσο παράξενο…. Θεωρητικά ξέρω ότι έχω πακετάρει τα πάντα, ότι είμαι στο σωστό τρένο, ότι είμαι στην ώρα μου. Γιατί λοιπόν μια μικρή φωνούλα στο μυαλό μου επιμένει ότι θα καταλήξω (πάλι!) χαμένη κάπου στην κεντρική Αγγλία;

Η μέρα μου ξεκίνησε καλά. Ήμουν πακεταρισμένη και έτοιμη από τις δέκα και το μόνο που μου έμενε ήταν να σκοτώσω δυο ώρες μέχρι να έρθει το ταξί. Ο οδηγός ήταν πολύ φιλικός και προσφέρθηκε να με πάει από μια παράκαμψη για να αποφύγουμε τον χαμό μπροστά στον σταθμό. (Χα! Ομοιοκαταληξία!) Που να το φανταστώ ότι τα πουλάκια της ποδοσφαιρικής μας ομάδας είχαν αγώνα σήμερα;

Όπως και να έχει τώρα είμαι στο τρένο προς Peterborough (κουφό όνομα much?) και από εκεί θα πάρω ένα άλλο για York.

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Καλημέρα σας παιδιά!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Χα! Μόλις ανακοίνωσαν ότι κάνουμε στάση στο Ely. Να περάσω να δώσω χαιρετίσματα μπαμπά;

Φαίνεται ωραίο χωριουδάκι πάντως. Θα πρέπει να περάσω ξανά από εδώ, να εξερευνήσω.

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Οχού! Κάποιος στο βαγόνι τρώει τοστ. Και τώρα πεινάω!

Κάτι άλλο αστείο (τα γράφω όπως μου έρχονται): Δεν συνειδητοποιείς πόσο βαριά είναι μια βαλίτσα μέχρι να πρέπει να την σηκώσεις πάνω απ’το κεφάλι σου. Ουδέποτε ισχυρίστηκα ότι είμαι καλή στις άρσεις βαρών, οπότε αντί να καταλήξω με την βαλίτσα… να μου έρχεται στο κεφάλι, την βόλεψα ανάμεσα στο κάθισμά μου και το μπροστινό, και την έκανα ακουμπιστήρι.

Μόνο μισή ώρα για Peterborough.

Ο σταθμός στο Peterborough

Ο σταθμός στο Peterborough

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Καθοδόν για York

Δεν έχει ιδιαίτερη ζέστη. Γιατί λοιπόν επιμένουν να βάζουν κλιματισμό στα τρένα; Σε περίπου μια ώρα φτάνω York, και το δεύτερο τρένο της ημέρας έχει πολύ περισσότερο κόσμο από το πρώτο. Αυτή την φορά δεν προσπάθησα καν να ανεβάσω την βαλίτσα στο ράφι. Έχουμε βέβαια ένα μικρό πρόβλημα γιατί σε αντίθεση με πριν δεν έχω δυο θέσεις όλες δικές μου. Πάλι καλά που έκανα γιόγκα αυτό το εξάμηνο! Κάθε φορά που είναι να περάσει κάποιος, κάθομαι οκλαδόν, βάζω το σακίδιο στα πόδια και τα πόδια στην βαλίτσα και περιμένω να φύγει όποιος είναι για να… ξεδιπλώσω.

Αν εξαιρέσεις το κρύο, το να ταξιδεύεις με τρένο είναι πολύ άνετο. Αυτό δεν αλλάζει το γεγονός ότι δεν βλέπω την ώρα να φτάσω. Ακόμα κι εγώ δεν αντέχω πέντε ώρες καθισμένη και (επί το πλείστον) ακίνητη!

The Golden Fleece, York

Έφτασα τελικά στο York ωραία και καλά. Ο καιρός είναι συννεφιασμένος, αλλά δεν κάνει ιδιαίτερο κρύο και η διαδρομή μέχρι το ξενοδοχείο ήταν ευχάριστη. Από τα λίγα που έχω δει, το York μοιάζει με μια μεγαλύτερη εκδοχή του Norwich. Όχι ότι παραπονιέμαι!

Το ξενοδοχείο, ονόματι Georgian House, είναι μικρούλι, μόνο 18 δωμάτια. Μου την ψιλοέσπασε που το πρωινό είναι ξεχωριστή χρέωση, αλλά έχω ήδη σταμπάρει μερικές τσαγερί που θέλω να τσεκάρω, οπότε no problemo!

Το δωμάτιό μου είναι στην σοφίτα. Μάλλον ήταν δωμάτιο υπηρεσίας. Για να το βρεις πρέπει να ανέβεις μια σκάλα τόσο απότομη που αναρωτιέμαι αν την χτίσανε έτσι επίτηδες!

Το δωμάτιο είναι τόσο μικρό που το μπάνιο είναι σε άλλο όροφο. Αυτό θα κάνει τα πράγματα ενδιαφέροντα όταν πάω για ντους…..

Τουλάχιστον το κρεβάτι είναι άνετο

Τουλάχιστον το κρεβάτι είναι άνετο

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Αφότου ταχτοποιήθηκα, πήγα μια μικρή βόλτα στο ιστορικό κέντρο. Δεν είμαι ειδικός στην αρχιτεκτονική, αλλά δεν νομίζω ότι είδα κτίρια πιο καινούργια από το 1800. Θα κάνω μια πιο σοβαρή εξερεύνηση την Δευτέρα, αλλά προς το παρόν ο στόχος μου ήταν η παμπ, The Golden Fleece.

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Πρόκειται για μια από τις πιο παλιές και στοιχειωμένες παμπ της Αγγλίας (και δεδομένου ότι είχε ένα σκελετό καθισμένο στο μπαρ, δεν μου έκανε εντύπωση).

Το εσωτερικό είναι πολύ προσεγμένο και το φαγητό καλό.

Θα γυρίσω στο ξενοδοχείο μόλις τελειώσω την μπίρα μου. Υπό άλλες συνθήκες θα συνέχιζα την βόλτα, αλλά θα προτιμούσα να μην χαθώ σε μια στοιχειωμένη πόλη αφότου σκοτεινιάσει…