Nov 16, 2007

OTP (3), Days 7-9 -- Git Along to Northumbria, Lil' Dogies

I leave Durham this afternoon. It's been a really good time here, for several reasons.

  • I've stayed longer than I usually do -- 5 nights instead of 3 or 4 -- which meant that I could do more fun things during the day and in the evenings, like eat dinner twice with the Songs and attend a lecture from an artist-in-residence and 'formal dinner' at St. Chad's college last night (more on that later)
  • I've attended morning and evening prayer and midday communion on a pretty regular basis. This has been very good for me, very centering and soothing.
  • I've discovered the library in the cathedral -- it feels like i'm an extra in a Harry Potter movie.
  • I met another of Robert's students, an amazing woman named Maeve Sherlock. She's done about 500 amazing things working with the UK government, and has worked in the past with Gordon Brown. She's extremely bright and very funny, and a Rocky Horror Picture Show fan to boot!!
  • Laughing about Monty Python's "Life of Brian" with Robert -- Biggus Dickus (he said it, not me)
  • I'm beginning, just beginning, to master the style of writing suitable to phd level work. Less reliance on secondary sources, less in quotes in the text, more authoritative in tone. Of course, I have to be able to defend whatever I say in the paper. Hmmm...
  • Explaining "y'all" and "all y'all" to Robert and his family. Working on pronunciation. Reciting "git along, l'il dogies" in a Texas accent.

I'll travel this afternoon to the Northumbria Community, near the border with Scotland. Saturday should be a good day to relax, do some non-academic reading, take a nap, and catch up with friends Pete and Catherine. They are affiliated with Northumbria, so we'll spend the weekend there together. Then back to London on Sunday, and home the next day.

Daily highlights:

  • Fantastic formal dinner last night as guest of Margaret's
  • walking to & from school along the river at night -- very dark, very quiet, the lights from the city reflecting on the water
  • making new friend Maeve
  • drinking sherry for the first time, and rediscovering gin and tonic -- very, very British
  • having tomorrow off from schoolwork!

Somewhat surprising anti-highlight: Finding out that your b&b doesn't take credit cards, and that the atm won't give you enough money in a single day to pay the bill. Trying to convince them you're not a fraud.


Mike said...

Glad you're having such a great trip (and taking the time to blog about it)!

Please say 'hello' to Catherine and Pete for us.

Janet said...

Do you get a lot of requests to just "say something"? I got that a lot when I went to Germany. Glad you're back online.

Anonymous said...

Hi Maria! I saw your post on my blog, and enjoyed reading through this third installment of OTP. Welcome back to the blogosphere! I can't believe how big our girls are!!!