Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Our European Travels

So, I've not posted for a couple of weeks but I do have a great excuse. D and I were travelling round Europe with backpacks! We spent ten days (ish) moving from Cologne to Friedrichshafen to Lauterbrunnen (Germany to Switzerland) by train and boat. It was an amazing trip full of excitement and fun. Here are just some of the things I'll remember from it:

  • Catching up with our wonderful friends in Friedrichshafen. With some people it doesn't matter if you haven't seen each other for a year, you just click back into place. 
  • Speaking German again. Many years ago I got a B at A-Level for German (trust me, that was a remarkable result!) but I haven't used my German in earnest since a trip to Austria about ten years ago! Actually I was quite amazed by what came back and I found that I could understand a good deal more than I thought I would be able to. 
  • Enjoying the delights of the spa in Cologne. Spas in Europe are quite different than in the UK (!) but we rose to the challenge!
  • Seeing photographs of bombed out Cologne. I hadn't realised how much the folks of Cologne had suffered during WW2. The pictures on the bombed out cathedral were really shocking.
  • Marvelling at the European train system. Man, the trains are just great over there. They are clean with two decks and they go super quick!
  • Altitude sickness! So (and, while I'm going to relay this story, you just know that D will tell the embellished version) while in Switzerland we took the train up to the Jungfraujoch. This is incredibly high and we were amazed to see all the snow. The sun was shining and it was just beautiful so off we set for a jolly ramble through the snow. We made it to the Monchjochhutte (the starting point if you are going to climb the next mountain, the Monch) and were very grateful to find hot drinks at the remote hut. But walking in those sort of conditions was far more challenging than you might imagine and both of us ended the day feeling elated but a little lacking in oxygen. D suffered particularly and was very ill all over Lauterbrunnen station. We thought altitude sickness was kinda showbiz. D maintains that I just had a case of 'woman feeling a bit poorly'.
  • Train avalanches! On our final day I thought a lovely trip in an old fashioned train up to some lovely Alpine gardens might be just the thing. Except that almost at the top we were struck by an avalanche of snow, rock and trees. Now hanging over an extremely high precipice (OK so I am exaggerating just slightly) is pretty scary but the good people a the Jungfraubahn eventually got us down.
  • Cheese! Tonight we have burgers with gruyere for dinner. Swiss cheese is the greatest!
  • Waterfalls. Of all natural phenomenon, waterfalls are my absolute favourite. Our room overlooked a lovely waterfall and we had an amazing trip to the Trummelbach Falls which are spectacular.
And, given that D has just indicated that the BBQ is ready, I had better go. All in all a great trip. Photographs will be up as soon as D has found the wire! ;-)


Thursday, 10 May 2012

Exiting assessment week and the release of the Book

So, after a quiet day filling in assessment sheets and enjoying the ducks and bunnies that are running about our garden, here is a blog post to fill you in on the successes of performance fortnight. The past two days I have worked 28 hours - phew! But what a great time we had! There was some magnificent work - thought-provoking, peculiar, challenging, mature and memorable. The first years rose to the challenges and produced some of the best work I have seen at UL. Cue lots of backslapping and general jolliness.

But this has been a big week for a different reason.  Today is the day that the Book arrived on our shelves. Yes, British Avant-Garde Theatre hit the shops today after many years of hard work. I haven't seen a hard copy yet so it doesn't quite seem real. I am hugely excited and incredibly thankful for all the support I have had from friends, colleagues and family. I'll do a proper post on it when I have a copy in my hands.

Tomorrow, after many days of university-focused days, I am off to De Montfort for a brief Modernism conference. It promises to be a lovely, inspiring day. And then, to top it all off, the in-laws arrive tomorrow evening. We are so looking forward to welcoming them to our new home. I'm hoping for spring sunshine, walks in fields, lovely chat and a fire pit. Great weekend in store.

Hope your weekend is equally jolly

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Entering assessment week

So, now I have worked out the new blogger format on Google (guys, stop changing things - I have a very limited capacity to understand computing things) here is a blog post to fill you in on all the goings on chez Warden.

Last weekend I travelled down to Bath for my sister's hen party. I can't quite fathom that my little Smelly is old enough to get married. Despite feeling seriously old we had a good time indulging in afternoon tea, dancing on our party boat and living with 20 other girlies. The wedding is coming up in June and I get to be matron of honour which clearly makes me sound about 112!

Apart from that jolly jaunt I have spent most of the last week and a bit preparing for assessments. Our students are right in the middle of performance fortnight so the LPAC is choc full of slightly stressed but seriously creative folks. Today I got screamed at by a lady dressed as wallpaper. This is only a foretaste of what is to come next week with the arrival of Modern European Drama. That is going to be spectacularly jolly and weird.

Research is going relatively slowly right now as when you are knee deep in assessments it is tough to think of other things. That said, I have had some happy hours reading terrific books on Russian modernism - my favourite. The duckies returned to keep me company on Monday although they are getting old enough to move down river pretty soon. We will miss them so much! They were even here to welcome me on my return from my morning run.

The year seems to be skipping by and we have so much to look forward to: the book is due out on the 11th May (yikes!), all the inspiring performances next week, our holiday in Germany/Switzerland, happy sunny days in our new house (ha ha! The rain has been incredible recently) and visits from friends and fam.

Hope everyone is doing well wherever they are.