London, Haloween and a bit in between
Trip Start Sep 19, 2006
36Trip End Dec 19, 2007
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While I've been settling into the daily grind, Ian's been rediscovering student life. After five years of me studying and him working it's a bit of a role reversal, but it seems to be working for us!
We've only been out of Cambridge a couple of times this month - once to Essex for a British Council event, the other to London to visit the Tate Modern because their latest 'exhibition' is the world's largest slide!
We didn't actually end up going on the world's largest slide, because we went on a Saturday and the lines were monstrous
We still had a great time in London though, the Tate Modern is conveniently placed on the banks of the Thames and it was a nice day, so we strolled along the river, buying roasted toffee peanuts from a street vendor and listening to the buskers.
The British Council event in Essex wasn't so spontaneous, but with the state of the catering it may as well have been. It was at Hedingham Castle which is quite spectacular, even more so probably during the day when you can see the grounds. The highlight was wandering around the Norman keep which dates back to the 1100's, and a talk there from a woman who has spent so long pretending to be a lady from the castle's history that she had trouble talking about her in the third person.
The definite lowlight was the food - or rather the quantity, because the food we came across was actually quite good.
This event was the welcome reception for all of the East of England British Council scholars (and partners obviously) from around the world
Now keep in mind this is scholarship students we're talking about, attending an event from 4pm to roughly 10:30. Despite this, it appears they didn't think serving dinner was necessary.
The catering was so inadequate that we resorted to stalking the entrance from the kitchen to the marquee, so we got first pick of whatever emerged. There was some good stuff - tempura vegetables, trout tarts - but only those who behaved like seagulls got any of it (and I admit unashamedly the Aussies were amongst them, including myself).
Despite our best gullish efforts I still only got about 2 tarts, a few tempura vegetables and some olives. Then, to our horror, the alcohol ran out at about 9pm! Perhaps this was for the best because later they locked the toilets in the castle before starting to herd people onto the buses, which means there were dozens of people lining up for the two portaloos attached to the marquee!
I was surprised that an event hosted basically by the British government as a diplomatic exercise would be so poorly managed - and it must be uncharacteristic, because later that week Ian got an email from them apologising for the catering, or lack thereof! I was quite impressed they had the decency to apologise really, so we'll give their functions another chance
Speaking of hosting, I've had my first friend come and visit here in Cambridge! Ilona, my Finnish friend who I visited in Helsinki last year, came to Cambridge last Saturday and I had a wonderful day showing her around the town. It really is an easy town for tourism - everything is beautiful and historical, there's not much I have to do really. Adelaide requires insider knowledge to really appreciate - in Cambridge you can fall over a rock and find something photoworthy.
Speaking of which, if you've been disappointed by the lack of photos of Cambridge thus far, then you can go back to an entry from when I visited Lorisa in Cambridge last year, when I took many of the predictable Cambridge photos.
We've finally bought bedding for the spare bed, and also bought a futon from a charming Chinese couple last week. So we now have two spare beds up for grabs. I know several people have already told me they're planning on coming to visit, which I'm really looking forward to! If you are coming over let me know dates as soon as possible - it's first in first served as far as the beds are concerned.