Tag Archives: Norwich

In which I went for a walk…

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…and that warranted introspection.

Yes, your favourite rambler went for a walk. A looooooong walk. The sort of walk that starts with me aimlessly checking out shops (and being taken for a tourist in my own damn home town) and ends with long and philosophical contemplation over my lunch. The subject this time?

Travelling. What a surprise, I know. This here is my attempt to make some sense of that convoluted ramble:

I was thinking back on the family trips we’d take during Christmas. Our parents would take us to all these historical buildings and museums. Some token mumbling and grumbling might have taken place but I remember loving every second of it. Then again, I WAS the teenager that procrastinated on schoolwork by reading books, so… And yet, I think that more than any museum could ever do, what truly gave me an understanding of what a place was like was walking. Plain and simple walking. No aim, no map, no schedule. Just wandering around and taking in the sights.

I sometimes talk with fellow students and they tell me that they don’t really know the town we’ve been studying in. We’ve been here for three years! How is it possible not to learn such a small town as Norwich in three years? But I digress.

What this barely-coherent ramble is trying to say is, I’m confused. Why do people assume that randomn walking is a waste of time. Or, for the matter, what’s with that other trend of tourists walking around with their eyes glued to their touchscreens? I get it, you’re in an familiar place, you want to check a map. But all the time? I’m not exaggerating, I was stuck behind this couple yesterday for like ten minutes. Never once did they look up from the guy’s phone. I’ll let that sink with you. They were walking through the historical centre of Athens. They were practically surrounded by history. But nooooo, whatever was on that screen was more important. I just don’t get! Why freaking travel to another country if you’re not going to  see what that amazing, new place even looks like?

Veni, Vidi, Trepidati (I came, I saw, I panicked)

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A bit of context please! The following story is based on an “adventure” of sorts I had last year. I might sound unlikely but, yes, it did indeed happen!

Saturday, 26th of October, 4:30

Espresso shots so far: 1, mental awareness: 35% (zombie), panic attacks: 1 (minor)

The special tune in the alarm clock and the obligatory pre-trip nerves appear to be the only reasons I am functioning at this infernal hour. It also appears that caffeine and sugar do not have their fabled WAKE-UP effect on me. Note to self: Do not trust advertisements again.

 

Stumbled over my backpack twice while looking for my hairbrush. Found it under a pile of clothes awaiting ironing. Dread to think how it ended up there. Was under the impression last night that all I would need in the morning was ready to be packed. I stand corrected.

 

6:30

Mental awareness: 45% (systems booting)

Taxi arrived the moment I opened the door. Thank heavens for good timing, or flat mate would have had my head for making noise so early in the morning. Will probably still do when I return… Had to kick the door close. Coffee still in hand, I had to wrestle a backpack and a drawstring bag onto the backseat and then proceed to make pleasant conversation with driver. Now, why do I have a bad feeling I am missing something important?

 

6:45

Mental awareness: 60% (systems loading)

Arrived at the rail station. First thing I noticed was the train on platform, preparing to leave. Yet, it appears I am about an hour early. That can’t be right. Better check with the nice gentleman by the platform doors after I finish my breakfast.

 

6:46

Mental awareness: 115% (panic attack imminent)

A MISPRINT! THERE WAS A MISPRINT AT THE TICKET OFFICE! I had specifically asked for the train leaving at 7:30, so that I would not have to pull an all-nighter just to be at the train station on time. Now I realize that the printed time on the ticket is 6:30. How could I have possibly missed that? Still, deep breaths, deep breaths now, no reason to freak out just yet. I can change the ticket for one on the very next train to London, no harm done, just a slight delay, right? Right? Oh, who am I kidding? THIS IS TERRIBLE! WHY ME?

 

7:00

Mental awareness: 95% (systems operational), mood: bad

Apparently printing error was my fault. Had to buy whole new set of tickets for part of the journey. Think that I hate the railway system a little more than I used to. Had to waste ten minutes waiting on a queue just to talk to someone. Conversation at the ticket office proceeded as such:

Me: There was a misprint in my ticket. Can I change it for a later one? Preferably one for the very next train to London.

Unsympathetic employer: I am afraid we cannot change your ticket. You will have to buy a new one.

Me (beginning to panic and not really caring about my account balance at this point): Fine! I need to get to Cardiff. It’s an emergency.

Unsymp…You know what? Let’s call him Joe: Well, the next cheapest fare leaves at four in the afternoon.

Me (hyperventilating as next train to London arrives at the platform): No, no! You don’t understand! I need to get to Cardiff as soon as possible! Just give me a ticket for the next train.

Joe: Very well Miss. That’ll be *** pounds.

Me: Gah!

 

Now sitting on the train on my way to London, I find myself unable to focus on anything other than homicidal thoughts involving printers, credit cards,Ticket office employees and  P. “I can’t access my bank account,” he said! “Can you come give me a hand sis?” he said. “It’s not that far!” he said. Ugh! Deep breaths now! Perhaps some calming music will help.

 

8:30

Mental awareness: 65% (still sleepy), mood: annoyed

Almost in London and struggling to keep myself awake. The effect of the music might have been too calming. Opposite seat has been taken over by someone who can’t possibly be anyone other than a retired Inspector Gadget. He has spread more electronical devices on the table between us than I thought possible and his legs have expanded to the point where I have to practically climb ON my seat to avoid being stepped on. Too tired to do anything more than the occasional glare, to which he is impervious, as he is hidden behind his newspaper. I hope Dr. Claw gets you sometime soon, you leg-space invader!

 

9:15

Mental awareness: 85% (not bad…), mood: cautiously optimistic

Unbelievably made it to London Liverpool Station with time to spare. Was not sad to part with Inspector Gadget. Had brief moment of confusion as I tried to find my way from Liverpool Street to Euston Station. Decided to play it safe and run the distance. In retrospect not a good idea since I was carrying two very awkwardly shaped bags. My mother was right. I need to exercise more… Must have been quite the show, bursting to the platform out of breath, bags nearly flying out of my hands and asking panicked about the train to Cardiff. Somebody must have been having a good laugh at my expense since I had barely caught my breath before the train rolled on the platform….

 

11:00

Mental awareness: @#$%*blue screen of death! @#%$!&*

Birmingham has more than one train stations. BIRMINGHAM HAS FIVE BLOODY TRAIN STATIONS! WHY, UNIVERSE, WHY? Ticket said change trains in Birmingham, so when I picked up the word “Birmingham” over the frustratingly quiet intercom I –of course!- hurried out of the train. Seeing no trains bound to Cardiff, I started worrying but figured two ticket-related mistakes in one day are too much even for me. So I did what every mature person would do in my situation and popped to the closest information desk to ask directions. Turns out I was one stop early and that Birmingham has what appears to be an “international train station” in addition to the one where I was supposed to be at. It’s been a while since I wanted to punch something so much…. Nearly out of options, there is only one thing left to do: hitch a ride to the proper station. I will take it as a sign of mercy that the next train arriving on the platform was going the right way and was full enough for no conductor (no matter how dedicated) to attempt to check for tickets. It took fifteen minutes of doing a sardine impression and nearly twisting my ankle when the driver hit the brakes and I had nothing to hold on to, but I made it. Finally, finally the right station, the right train, the right time and minimal running involved! It’s nearly over! I am almost there! Dare I say it? What could possibly go wrong now?

 

11:05

Mental awareness: 35% (secondary system rebooting)

I…I think I might be lost. There should be a staircase leading to the platform right about here. Instead there is a solid wall. Harry Potter reference? Or did I just breeze by the stairs without seeing them? Whilst looking for them?

 

12:00

Mental awareness: 90% (secondary system reboot successful), mood: pleasantly surprised

What are the chances of sitting next to a friendly guy just because you launched yourself to the first free seat you found? Yes, there are still gleams of sun (figuratively) shining down on me. Fully intended on spending the rest of the journey reading and/or listening to music. Does not seem to be the case now. Guy sitting next to me not only talkative but actually interesting.

 

1:00

Mental awareness: 95% (really good), mood: best so far

Talked through the entire trip to Cardiff with cute guy next to me. Good mood appears to equal good luck since we appeared to be invisible to any and all conductors that passed by us, and I might have my ticket but he apparently lost his somewhere along the way. Topics ranged from travelling to babysitting (the inevitable subject between two people with too many younger cousins, nieces and nephews). Only half an hour left before this journey from hell is over and I must say it looks like it will end on a high note. Now, if only P. would pick up his phone…

 

1:45

Mental awareness: 100% (navigation system at full capacity), mood: stormy

Don’t worry, he said. I’ll pick you up from the station he said. Moral of the story? Never trust your little brother. Having toured the entire station and found P. waiting… nowhere, I finally managed to get him to answer the phone. It appears that it was LoL night, last night and every night, and he had only just woken up. Due to his phone ringing. Never mind. I am a grown woman, fully capable of navigating this city. To which I have never been before. Saddled with bags. With no map. In the pouring rain. I better get same damn good brownie points from the universe out of all this.

 

2:20

Mental awareness 80% (energy levels falling), mood: confused

Men come from the same planet as women, right? And dust is dust no matter how busy you are, right? Right? Took me nearly half an hour to found P.’s accommodation building, no thanks to this country’s inability to signpost the roads properly…. Had to face my immortal enemy: electronically locked doors. Tried to call brother and was promptly informed that I did not “have enough credit to make this call.” Tried following the instructions by the door and put the room’s code (which should have opened the door). Failed spectacularly. Tried again. And again. At this point a security guard came to see what’s the fuss. Explained the situation and was escorted to the reception, while (very understanding) guard went to knock on P.’s door to inform him of my arrival (and most likely wake him up). Popped in thirty seconds later to tell me that there was someone coming. Was that my brother? Lo and behold here was his Royal Lateness in his pajamas and flip-flops, coming to pick me up. Yes, he had only just rolled out of bed.

 

Walked up the stairs, through a maze of corridors, to his room. Paused nervously at the door.

“You weren’t joking about giving me a hand with cleaning, were you?” he asks. Would have cheerfully slapped him if it weren’t for the fact that I was so tired. As it were I limited myself to a frustrated “Just open the damn door!”

 

At this point I think a description of what I’m surrounded with is necessary. I will start with the premise that the expression “bombed” is no longer a cliché but very much a feasible reality. The drawers under the bed are hanging half-open and half-empty. The bed itself unmade (of course) and half-covered in posters. The desk practically invisible under the module handouts, empty bags of crisps, laptop gadgets and the occasional bundle of pennies. The kitchenette a qualified hazard zone. Nearly all the clothes stuffed in the laundry bag. Three bags of garbage by the door. Clusters of dust and fluff at the corners. I’m afraid to leave my perch on the bed to check on the bathroom.

 

Moral of the story? Never, under any circumstances, visit a first-year in university accommodation. The trauma is not worth it.

In which I shall be brief…

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My head is ringing. Not in the shit-the-neighbours-are-having-a-party way but more like in the cling-clang-clattering way. You know, that steady white noise that stays in your ears and head long after you’ve left the Societies Fair behind? Yeah, it was SocFair in my uni and I just spent nearly five hours promoting one of the societies I am part of…in the same room with around a hundred and sixty other societies. We’ve got many interests here in Norwich. It was good fun and I got to talk to some really cool people (and make use of the phrase “Join us, we have brownies!” – always a good thing), but holy Mother was it noisy! We’re not even that big of university (as my Cardiff-bound brother likes to point out)! I suppose it’s a good sign we have such diverse interests (I question the need for a Real Ale Appreciation Society, but then again, I don’t like beer). Still it might have been better if we were, I don’t know, spread around campus. The weather was good, why did we have to get holed inside? And it would have kept the buzz-buzz-background-buzzing to a manageable level. On the other hand, this is England. It is entirely possible for it to rain at the drop of the proverbial hat.

Anyway, rant over, I am going to go back to watch Channel Awesome  until my ears stop ringing, my head stops buzzing and I can go to sleep. See y’all in the next rant!

In which I contemplate year three

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There’s something truly exciting about starting the last year of my undergrad course. It’s not even the modules (although there will be geeking about THAT later). No, this post is about feelings and sensations.

I don’t know about you, but for me September has always smelled like freshly bought books. School-oriented much, I know, but it is the start  of the school year. However, since I moved to Norwich, this smell has combined itself with that of cardboard boxes, new houses and freshly brewed tea. It’s really amazing how moving to a new place makes all change seem easy all of a sudden. Granted you will drop half the stuff you sign up for by the time the first wave of essays is due, but hey! What the hell? Acting like Speedy Gonzales (with or without the input of caffeine) is fun every now and then.

And what are my plans for this year you ask? Well other than classes, societies, and my dissertation, I will be (finally) taking driving lessons, setting up a proper schedule for my updating regime and working my way through a legitimate mountain of books I’ve bought and half-read (and seeing that among them are the major works of Pope and Tennyson, we’ll have a long way ahead)…

So, anyway, I was talking of new beginnings. Now my standard response would be to whine but even when my buses are late and my legs sore from carrying boxes of stuff up and down the stairs I find myself content. Not that there haven’t been any frustrations (and a minor breakdown, but hey I’m a woman and occasionally hormone-driven). I don’t know if it’s because I’m officially within my 20s and some sort of switch has been flipped or because I’m finally starting to figure out what I want from my life. I’ve learned not to question my instincts too much.

These last few weeks of September seem to be transitory for everything in my little universe. Not just the new house and new modules. Half the university campus is covered in scaffolding and getting a make-over. With less than a week till the semester starts I’m curious to see how they will pull this off. (The cynic currently sitting on my shoulder claims that there’s no chance, but I only listen to her when there’s money -specifically my money- involved in the issue.)

And I keep coming back to it but hey, new house! And a much better house than the hole in the wall I lived in last year…. It’s going to take me a bit longer to get a feel of the energy in this one (seeing that there’s three of us living here and until classes start we’re pretty much holed in) and I am slightly wary of the smoke alarm in my room as I love burning candles and incense, but I don’t doubt that by the time Halloween creeps by I’ll have it figured out.

I didn’t do much other than read and walk aimlessly over the summer so I suppose part of my all-around giddiness has to do with having things to do; short-term projects until the time comes to start working on the more long-term ones. I’m not very good at playing the long game and keeping up with schedules for an extended period of time but as I said, this feels like a transitory period. Time for me to leave this bad habit behind and work my way from there.

Spring Trip 2014 – Finis – English Version

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In which I am back to Norwich and ready to tackle my next project. And what will that be you might ask? Revision for my exams? Working one of the very many stories floating in my head? NOOOO! Spring cleaning! You heard me right! Spring cleaning. And doing a minor retcon and major editing on one of my older stories. I will begin uploading the fixed version on Monday, so see you then!

 

Spring Trip 2014 – Finis

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Πίσω στο Norwich και έτοιμη να αναλάβω το επόμενο project μου. Τι είναι αυτό ρωτάτε; Επανάλυψη για τις εξετάσεις; Μια από τις πάμπολες ιστορίες που κυκλοφωρούν στο μυαλό μου; ΟΧΙ! Καθάρισμα! Ω ναι, με ακούσατε σωστά! Ανοιξιάτικο καθάρισμα. Και παράλληλα ένα ελαφρύ retcon σε μια από τις παλιότερες ιστορίες μου. Θα ξεκινήσω να ανεβάζω την διορθωμένη εκδοχή την Δευτέρα, οπότε τα λέμε τότε!