windemere: (geekin' out)
It's such a strange thing; graduating. You've done all the work already. You've already been told you have received your degree/diploma/whatnot, and it is therefore mostly an excuse for a party.

I was really too tired today to party and it's not nearly as fun without alcohol anyways.

Day 2 of jet lag is always my worst, so I didn't sleep last night and I spent the morning going flat out - on foot - here, there, and everywhere. By the time we got to the reception I just wanted to lay down, or pass out - it was a toss-up.

There ceremony was great (short) and everyone said all the right words. It wasn't particular special (PhDs are treated like MAs are), but at least we got to go first. And then wait for everyone else to do it! The woman beside me kept up a hilariously running commentary under her breath about the pomp and circumstance so I was incredibly entertained.

We stood outside in the freezing (literally) cold too
much and my coat would fit over my robes so I was just a bit miserable. But Bob made my mother tea and is now the greatest person ever because he waited with my parents for a cab after the reception ended for 30 minutes even though he was supposed to be back at work.

Everyone was super nice and huggy and Ross said great things about me to my parents and to me. And I caught up with a lot (though not all) of friends. Not bad for 2.5 days in the city!

All that is left is coffee tomorrow morning with my 'new' twin Dr A (me being now Dr A as well) and to pay pilgrimage to Richard's tomb, something I should have done on Wednesday. Supposed to rain, so I hope our dead king appreciates my sacrifice.

I miss this part of my life already and I won't ever have it back. It was challenging and interesting and incredibly easy. Unlike the years to come.
windemere: (castle)
Still adjusting to this new format for everything on LJ. It's very modern looking. Not entirely sure yet. But I can type properly again in order to post, so that's certainly a good improvement!

So, I intended to go to Windsor yesterday. I've never been, though I've visited both Buckingham and Holyrood, the two other royal palaces. Windsor is, of course, by far the oldest, as it was originally constructed (well, a bit of it was) 900 years ago, so it's the original royal castle of the British monarchy. And the Queen was even home!

Anyways, because I am SUCH A NICE PERSON and I CAN'T SAY NO TO PEOPLE, I ended up leading the trip. It was for the international students association, and the guy who runs it, Yasin, happens to be the boyfriend of one of my fellow PhD students in MS. And he's a really, really nice guy, don't get me wrong. He's so nice, that it's kind of hard to say no to him, because you know if you asked him a favour he'd do it in a heartbeat. So, last week he called and asked if I'd run the trip, because he couldn't go anymore. And I said, 'of course'! And then I got off the phone and said 'shit'.

Well, a lot of things went wrong. It could have been a nice easy trip to Windsor for the day (if a very, very long one), but because some students go out of their way to be thoughtless and because of other things that no one had control over (traffic jam), it was just a very long exhausting stressful day and I was so HAPPY to go to bed last night you have NO IDEA.

But, in amidst all that, Windsor was beautiful. I mean, tourist central and no mistaking it! And even though it was December it was so very crowded. But the town is very cute, and Eton college is a nice walk across the river, and the castle is very beautiful. Especially in the winter sunlight. And the Queen, at least, was home, so probably Prince Philip too, and who knows who else. Maybe the rest of the family as Kate is in London in hospital with morning sickness, says the news, as she is now pregnant. Poor woman.

Anyways, I'll post a few pictures eventually (still on my camera and this week? NOT A GOOD TIME), but the castle is a masterpiece and I think much prettier than Holyrood and much less um...overdone, than Buckingham. And much grander than, say, Kensington. It kind of reminded me of Hampton Court, except it was built before Henry VIII, though he did add to it, as did most monarchs up to and including Queen Victoria.

Anyways, you can only get into the State Apartments, because the rest is where people actually live and work, and it was Sunday, so St George's Chapel was closed too (where Henry VIII and Jane Seymour are entombed), but oh well. The entry ticket is good for a year so maybe I'll go back next summer! And I saw one of the Queen's corgies being walked in the garden!

Anyways, glad that is over with. Took today off because work? yeah, that wasn't happening. I still had to answer emails, post a few announcements online and have a short meeting though, even on a day off. Tomorrow I have training, Wed. is a day-long artists' seminar, and Thurs/Fri are marking presentations. But, after my meeting today I have about 500 Pounds worth of work coming my way in the next month, so yay!!! I can pay rent in January! Wee! And more in work in March too. That I think I'll put aside for the Camino. A few hundred pounds might last a few weeks in Euros in Spain. Or at least pay for flights/train travel.

Also, I still owe Ross a week of work, and have since July. Not sure when I will have to do that! But I will have to, as he paid me for it already! Oops. Still, it was very useful having the money at the time.

Dinner. Telly. Bed. Freeze. Hat tonight, me thinks.
windemere: (Default)
The moral of the story is, always buy a London Pass when it's on sale. It totally pays for itself. We didn't see as much as I was hoping, but we still saw 103 pounds worth of stuff! Had M&D been up to, you know, actually walking like Londoners then I think we could have done more. Also, the Globe was closed due to day performances, so that nixed that one immediately. Rose was open, however, but they weren't interested. Would have been nice to do more around Westminster too. Oh well.

Still:
  • Kensington Palace and Kensington Park
  • Tower of London
  • Tower Bridge Exhibition
  • HMS Belfast
  • St Paul's Cathedral
  • Harrods
  • Westminster Abbey
  • Churchill War Rooms
  • British Museum (yes, I know this one is free - still, they went to a museum!)

Pretty good for 2.5 days I think. Would have been nice to have the full third day, because then we could have done something more than just Kensington. Like RAH. Tried to get them to do the theatre one evening too, but they didn't want to be out late. And the Eye was overbooked. I wanted to book that ahead, but the weather kept changing everytime I looked and I didn't want to book tickets if it was raining. Not a great view when the rain is pissing down.

I was so glad to get back to my bed last night. Today is all grey and cool outside, but that's okay. It's a bank holiday and I'm not doing anything except getting all the 'non-work things' finished so that I can get to the work things tomorrow. Well, as well as run into the centre to shop.
windemere: (London)
There are certain things I love about London:

I love that you can spot a tourist a mile off, and that's when the Olympics aren't on and they aren't running around in their country's flag/shawl.

I love that you can tell a Londoner about five miles off.

I love that I used to be one and therefore always will be one and can blend in.

I love that when you put headphones in people don't even make eye contact.

I love that random men call me Love. Most of them are good looking too.

I love people watching in Trafalgar Square. And Leicester Square. And Covent Garden.

I love that dressing up as Batman and being a statue is entirely normal.

I love the Canadian embassy.

I love that there is PRET and it is everywhere. I had it twice yesterday just to get my fill!

Apparently, the Boris Bikes are actually getting used. Of course, we have cyclists getting killed too.

If there is a barracade, the army, and five police officers standing around...you probably shouldn't try to access that area. But hey, if you can't see five steps in front of you, I guess you deserve to be shouted at. ;) Stupid tourists...in high heels.

What makes you think that stilletos is good footwear for London's many uneven paths?

Things I don't like right now:

Purple and pink are not okay colours together. Especially when every tenth person in London is wearing them.

If you want to stop and consult your map to figure out if you are going the wrong direction, don't stop in the middle of the path so that everyone behind walks in to you.

For that matter, slow as a turtle is not an acceptable walking speed; I really don't care if you are admiring the scenery. Get out of my way and THEN stop to look. Other people have places they want to be. For that matter, my walking speed in ANY country is 'pretty good'.

Also, for that matter, don't step backwards to take a photograph without looking to see who you are going to step backwards into.

I get that you think it's British!, but really, finding the most beatup purple taxi in all of London and posing for a picture? Just sad, really.

Do NOT take away my only accessible Tim Horton's and replace it with Costa. I HAVE Costa right up the road. I don't have Tims! Seriously, NOT OKAY.

If you are going to redirect the flow of traffic, can you do it in such a way that actually makes sense to the people being redirected?

If you are going to put up barracades and then ignore them...why bother? People will take the most direct route...especially Londoners, so why waste the fencing?

It's not illegal to cross on a don't walk in this country. So don't block the road by lining up waiting for a green light. You'll be waiting A LONG time. If there are no cars coming, there are no cars that are going to hit you.

Don't create 'Olympic only lanes' and then, as soon as the Olympics starts, realise it was a bad idea and then open them up to everyone. Everywhere I went there were big signs saying 'Olympic Lanes open to all traffic'. Signs are really very distracting for drivers, actually.

In the end, I love this city and wish I could have spent more time there yesterday. Still, I got to see the Picasso Sketches, Mind the Map exhibit at LTM (awesome!), lots of people watching, PRET, and definitely had a good walk.
windemere: (London)
I rarely get to use this one for it's actual purpose.

Off to London to museum hope, see a Bond exhibition, sit in Trafalgar Square, eat Tims and bask in Olympic mania. Which there is now, since we're actually WINNING STUFF. Go Team GB!
windemere: (Easter eggs)
It's sunny outside. I was out in t-shirt and skirt for the second day running. It's been a quiet Sunday and I slept really well. Gone are the days when such little things were enough to make everything alright!

I managed to get nothing done this morning, partly because (with the clock change) I slept until 10am, which rather destroys the vast part of the morning. And then I watch telly and ate a begal. After that I forced myself to go to the library instead of eat lunch (2 hours after breakfast). I was doing great, until Anita (one of my flatmates) presented me with Easter chocolate eggs. So there went that idea out the window. However, I never ate lunch, and only snacked at 3pm on crackers and cheese and a plum, so on the whole I'm doing not badly. So long as I can go the rest of tonight without more snacking, but the fajitas were rather filling, so there's hope.

Yesterday I bought the Hunger Games (1st book) with firm intention to wait until I saw the movie on Thursday to read it. Wow, I suck at best laid plans. I have promised to only read Part 1, however, because I pretty much know what happens from the trailer and hype anyways. But the rest...I'll hide it if I have to. And I have no time the next 3 days anyways, really.

Speaking of the next three days...tomorrow is an 8 hour day. Tuesday is a 13 hour day. Wednesday is another 8 hour day. Normally, that means lots of actually free time, but I have research that I need to do when I'm not at the conference presentations, other grunt work and I want to go to the Brown Bag Wednesday, so I won't even get lunch off that day. Thursday I will either pass out or be really productive. Could go either way. Could be both, in fact. But then there will be Hunger Games if it kills me (it may just).

Saturday, I plan to take the day off. I don't have high hopes of that actually happening, because I will probably realise how much work I have to do and only a week left to do it and panic. And panic is a really good motivator for working.

I did, however, pack for Canada today, because I'm not taking back anything I need, just some stuff I haven't worn and lots of presents and such. That was relatively painless, as packing goes. The return trip will not be.

Two weeks of hunched over a desk reading and typing has led to a permanent ache between my shoulder blades that no amount of stretching or pilates has cured. It's not painful, but it is damn annoying and does twinge if I twist the wrong way. As the next three days I really need to be in decent shape, this is a bad thing. Amazingly, it hasn't led to a headache yet. I'm just waiting now...

I am watching a BBC version of the love story of poet John Keats. God is it boring. It's not a good weekend on BBC, apparently. I might have to try ITV!

I really need it to be April 7th, because then my work will be done, for better or worse and I will be about to go to London and the V&A and then on a plane! And even though it's Canada, travel gets me excited. And the first 5 days will be really good...
windemere: (Default)
[Proper use of icon For The Win]

I managed two days of research. I actually managed to read books/search for books/review books/research websites/read articles/and download stuff to appropriate folders for two days. Now I just have to do that for, oh, another 1000 days more and I'll have a written thesis!

Research is going well, though. I think I have a good segway into my first paper (first proper paper, as the one I'm currenly writing is just really defining the topic and reviewing my 12 month old proposal), which will hopefully lead to one into the second and then the third. That I will worry about next year. Or maybe before Christmas. Still, that's like, two months away! [Yes, there was sarcasm there; nicely spotted.]

Tomorrow I have library work, essays to pick up, essays to mark and maybe another book to read (if I'm lucky). Tuesday I will have to fit stuff around classes. At least I am no longer going to London on Thursday, so that's another day free. I've got to the 26th to figure a workable plan in my head. And then 5 days to write it. Anyone up for a quick edit on the 30th?

I'm poking at my interlibrary loans quota and wondering how many trips to the British Library I'll have to make next year. I may get things organised for mid-December, as the MAs are going down to visit CT (we never got to do that!) so I can hop a ride, meet with the gang (one bird - one stone), visit the Science Museum (two birds - one stone), and then go to the British Library for a couple of books (three birds - one stone!). And maybe visit Chooe. And a museum I've never been to before. I'm sort of aiming for Wellcome.

In other news, I have now topped 326,000 words on FF.net, so I sort of can't stop grinning like an idiot. I mean, that's not a very good milestone, but I was aiming for 300,000 and completely forgot to check on it. It was probably about 4 days ago, since the last chapter of Ten Weeks was 9,000 words. I am very proud of myself. Now, for half a million. Maybe I'll do another BB next summer? I might make 400k by this time next year, if so. [Not to mention the 30k of academic writing. By September 2014, I hope to have written about 150,000 words of academic writing, just as a point of reference.]

My Dad put a camera in their house. And gave me the access code to view it online. I am...not sure what the point is, but I can watch the snow fall all winter and enjoy the pretty, without the cold. And I guess if someone breaks in, I'll know about it. Not that I can do much from an ocean away.

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windemere: (Default)
Amy

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