Tuesday, 30 November 2010

From the wilds of Lincoln

Just a quick one to say 'hello'. We are currently in the winter wonderland that is the East Midlands (check these photos out). Lincoln even got a mention on the national travel news tonight. While I skipped happily through the unbelievably thick snow on my way home from work, Lincoln roads came to a standstill. We live on a hill (Lindum Road) which was shut to cars so I walked in the middle of the road in a rebellious way. Who knows what the night will bring...more snow will undoubtedly mean a shut campus tomorrow. We all struggled to concentrate in class today as we all gazed out of the window at the blizzard. The poor swans on the Brayford are wandering around unsteadily on the frozen water. Winter seems to have come early to Britain so wherever you are I hope that you are staying warm and cosy. Seattle photos to come. They are now up on D's computer so should be with you before the week is out.

Friday, 26 November 2010

We're back!

Apologies for the lack of posts this week. We arrived back on Wednesday night and I have been running around ever since. The flat needs a good tidy but I thought I'd post first to let you know we hadn't dropped off the planet...though that was a close run thing on Monday as we drove through the blizzards of Washington State. More on the trip at a later date when we've got the photos together. Suffice to say, we had an amazing time. I felt that I learnt a tremendous amount though most of my best work was done as I chatted with friends and spent time writing on my own. It gave me some real space to reassess my academic intentions. I was so sad to leave. We love America and really enjoyed the West Coast vibe. Leaving our new friends behind was really hard.

And so back to Lincoln...Yesterday I reached the grand old age of 30. Crikey! Thanks for all the cards etc! D kindly pointed out that I was nearly 40! I spent my birthday muddling through my third year class (not the finest point of my teaching career!) though D prepared a lovely dinner and then we watched Ironman 2 together. This weekend is my proper birthday celebration as the family descend. Hopefully the snow will hold off long enough for them to make the trip.

I'm off to tidy our bedroom which is currently in a state of disarray! Promise to post more about the trip when D has uploaded and edited the photos. And then I'll be able to tell you about our narrow escape on Monday. It is an epic tale of snow, zero visibility and a narrow mountain path. We'll even have a picture of us outside Mars Hill for those of you who are interested in such things.

Until a later date then

Friday, 19 November 2010

By the power of modern technology!

So, here I sit in a hotel lobby in Seattle. It is 7.50 am and I am just about to get some coffee. How cool is that!? D has just left for Vancouver on the train and I have a couple of days without him. As we speak he will be enjoying a latte in business class while admiring the stunning surrounding scenery. Ah the life! We had a good trip over despite sitting on the runway for an hour and a half at Heathrow waiting for the fog to clear. We got straight into American time which meant going to bed at 10 (the equivalent of 6 in the morning UK time - Phew!) and have felt just fine ever since, though I am more awake in the mornings than in the evenings. On Wednesday we had a happy day in Seattle exploring Pike Place Market, shopping in Macy's and going up the Seattle Space Needle. The conference started yesterday and my working group was in the evening. All went very well and we had some good chat...which I won't bore you with! So, these are the things I have noticed about being in Seattle so far:
1) Everyone really likes coffee...a lot! Although saying that, our wonderful hosts actually bought me a box of PG Tips so every morning I get a cup of proper English tea. What a joy!
2) It is cold! Yes, it is colder here than in Lincoln, and certainly a lot windier. D bought me a Huskies hoodie at the football game last night (more of that at a later date - suffice to say, he had an amazing time!) and it will be getting worn on my trek home later.
3) The food is am-a-zing. Man, we have eaten so much yummy food that today I just want a salad with no dressing and a mug of chicken soup.
4) Clothes are a lot cheaper, especially when you shop in the Macy's sale!
5) American conferences are HUGE (there are nearly 600 people here) and there are a whole load of political intrigues that I haven't worked out yet. It is fun being the slightly eccentric Brit on the scene!
So there you have it, for now. I'll post again on our return and then get some photos up when we've sorted them out. We are having an amazing trip and are so glad to be here. Hope everyone the world over is doing well.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Another post, as promised

Well, after the hurried post of yesterday, today I can fill you in on some of the finer points teh Warden Saturday. I am sitting on our sofa getting ready for the big boxing match of the night (Haye v Harrison)in a pair of...wait for...skinny jeans! Crikey! I can finally wear a pair without feeling like a big blob. I bought them this morning on a brief M&S shopping trip and haven't taken them off yet. Lovely fit with my long black cardie. Hoorah and hooray! They are coming with me to the States, of course.

We have had such a lovely day with a sweet older couple from church. They are just wonderful folks and we had the great privilege of taking them out for lunch at this gorgeous restaurant. 'Belvoir' is pronounced 'beaver', btw. Weird, huh? What a fab meal we had! It was D's choice and, as always, he is the master. He always seems to find the perfect place for each and every occasion.

So, we are nearly ready to go. Clothes are laid out on the floor and I think I've worked my outfits out. I've started eating pineapple (a slightly strange precaution against blood clots) and there is very little left in the fridge. This might be my last post before we go and whether you'll get anything while we swan about in Seattle, I don't know. Either way, have a brilliant week and a bit. Brace yourself for some really boring posts and pictures upon our return.

Match just about to start...Haye to win in round 1 is my guess.


Friday, 12 November 2010

Finished marking!

Hooray, I've just finished my marking and it's only 18.22 on Friday. Not bad! It has been a bit of a hectic week, reading through all the reports. Some good, some not so good, as always. I'm off to lead a drama workshop at church tonight for the youth group so I'm hanging around uni until then. What better way to spend my time than write a blog post?

Despite the marking madness, last night we found time to get into the Christmas spirit and wrapped all our presents. My concern is that we will get back from Seattle and find that Christmas is upon us. So, in a sharp break from usual, I am hoping to get organised early. D even let me listen to Cliff's Saviour's Day. Ah, Christmas tunes!

And so we are getting ready to head off Stateside. For those of you who haven't quite caught up with why the Wardens are trekking over the Atlantic next week, here is the low down. I am speaking at the American Society for Theatre Research Conference in Seattle. It is one of the biggest humanities conferences in the calendar. I am participating in a working group. These don't really exist in British conference but sound much more pleasant than the British idea of just standing up and presenting. I've been in contact with a couple of other guys who are working in a similar field and we've shared a few weeks of fruitful email chat.

We are staying with the family of a friend of mine who is also attending the conference so we get to stay with a wonderful American family rather than camp out in a soulless hotel room. Now, D is coming too (a ten hour flight without D would be very lonely) but he is heading up to Vancouver for a few days so his photos might be slightly more exciting then mine! We'll be back the day before my birthday (yes, that is a hint and yes, it is a big one -boo!) and then it will be straight back into teaching. Phew! I can't wait to spend a week thinking only about my research. I'm leaving teaching behind for a short time and reassessing my research profile while making some contacts and getting a feel for American academia. Sweet!

Sorry if that was dull but it might have been of interest to someone :-)

This weekend we are taking a lovely couple out for lunch and then spending the rest of the time tidying, packing and doing some last minute shopping. The weather has finally calmed down a bit (goodness, the wind! Try living in a draughty flat on the third floor!) and I have started to think about my American capsule wardrobe. What to take, what to take...

Anyways, I'll try and post some more thoughts tomorrow. I haven't even had chance to reflect on last week's conference yet!

Enjoy the evening. I'm off to play silly games with the youth group. Brilliant!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Finally reaching the weekend

Phew! What a week! So, it's been day after day of assessment this week and I've watched a lot of Shakespeare and a lot of very creative first year presentations. It's been great fun but by Friday afternoon I was drinking Diet Coke and eating a packet of Skips in an attempt to get some energy back in my body! Just the marking to go now... As well as assessments D and I have played a couple of games of squash and we've had nightly battles on our baseball game for the PS3. Unfortunately D has won everything this week - meh!

And today we awoke bright and early at 5.20 (on a Saturday!?) to go through to beautiful Oxford for the day. Lovely D drove and we enjoyed our usual mixture of tunes on the way. I was attending a day conference at Corpus Christi college. It was the yearly meeting of the Christian Literary Studies Group which contains some pretty big names. Wore my black jumper/plaid skirt combo as a safe, smart bet. The conference was very interesting. Most attendees were working on religion and literature so I was a bit of a black sheep. But the papers were interesting and I had some good conversations. I even got to speak to an Oxford professor whose work I have admired from afar for a little while now. He was very gracious and we had a good chat as he grappled with an errant egg sandwich at lunchtime. It always makes me feel better when I see someone with such a wonderful reputation battling with a filled roll like us mere mortals. Oxford was lovely as always and D had a good day wandering about. Once I've collated all my notes I'll post a few thoughts about the day.

So, I'm looking forward to a very peaceful Sunday of reading, snoozing and cleaning up a bit. In a terrifying fit of organisation D has been buying Christmas presents and they are at present strewn across our lounge floor. The sheets need changing, the kitchen needs a wipe and upstairs needs a deep clean before the arrival of the parents two days after we get back from the States.

We have just a week and two days to go before heading off to Seattle and we're looking forward to our American journey. I'll fill you in on all our plans for this trip later in the week. As usual D has an illustrated itinery!


Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Bad football and Good Shakespeare

After a day of assessment D and I took ourselves off the the university's Tower Bar for a bite to eat before heading along to the Theatre of Dreams (Sincil Bank) to watch Lincoln City lose 2-0. Football is a very funny thing. Fans' loyalty is something to be admired. Fancy turning up on a wet and windy Tuesday evening to watch a division 2 fixture. The good ol' Stacey West stand boys sung their hearts out all night despite a hopeless (I really mean hopeless) centre forward display (D nearly dusted down his boots), a largely anonymous midfield and an unbelievable amount of unused crosses. The guy behind me turned to his mate and said, 'any chance of a fun night out next week?' 'Alright', his friend replied, 'fancy a trip to the dentist? Root canal work is better than this'. And he was right, of course, but the fans will continue to go back and I love them for it. Here's hoping we'll all be singing that terrace classic, 'we are staying up, yes we are staying up' by the end of the season.

In other news, I have busied myself with assessment for the past two days. All fun and games with versions of Hamlet and The Cherry Orchard today. The poor first years have had a lot on their plate and have risen to the challenge admirably. For me it means fairly long days of concentration. So, I am currently lying on the couch a little windswept from the game feeling my eyelids slowly closing. Probably time to make sandwiches, fill a hot water bottle and have a snooze. Continuing to enjoy my pumpkin head. I love him! Will post again over the weekend when I've had a bit of rest.