- Schoolwork in London is GREAT. We’ve been doing a LOT of Shakespeare lately — Hamlet last week and As You Like It Now — with a good bit of Jane Austen and Byron in the middle. We had to do a presentation on a Regency artifact, and while a lot of people actually had objects that they based their work on, I went for the more abstract (and awesomely obscure) route and did mine on a slang dictionary. What’s abstract about this? I’ve never seen it physically, but I did find the text online! It was really fun for me because I got to talk to blabber on about lexicography and slang and everyone in my class ABSOLUTELY HAD TO LISTEN TO ME. I think I did pretty well!
- As for class trips, we’ve only had one play last week and this week. I did go to a production of the Twelfth Night, but most of the trips have been to interesting locations. We went to the London Eye right at the beginning of the trip. We’ve also been to Sir John Soane’s Museum, which was the house of a famous architect — his design for his wife’s tomb actually inspired London’s phone boxes. He was a really pleasant fellow who designed his basement like a crypt, built a room especially for his alter ego/imaginary friend (he was a monk), and personally victimized his sons into early graves and debtors prison! Great guy.
- We have three day weekends! And last weekend I went on THREE DAY TRIPS:
On Friday I went to CANTERBURY. It was cold and wintery, so a lot of things were closed, but we had a really good time at the Canterbury Cathedral and at the museum. I made a joke about going on a pilgrimage not to Thomas Becket’s grave but to the birthplace of Orlando Bloom that morning, but I was still surprised to find a picture of my middle school love IN THE MUSEUM. We also found a really neat bookshop and visited the gift shop for the Canterbury Tales tourist attraction.
On Saturday the whole group took a coach out to Chawton and Winchester to see the house where Jane Austen wrote her last three novels — Mansfield Park, Emma, and Persuasion — and Winchester Cathedral, where she’s buried. Going to the house was a lot like going to any author’s house, which I think is always pretty useless. Chawton is a really quaint country village, which was fun to see, and I personally really enjoyed the chance to see an exhibit containing Jane Austen’s personal space heater! Winchester was a little more fun — it’s a beautiful town, and it was a little less touristy than other places we’ve been. We also had a tour around the Cathedral where we saw memorials to some of Austen’s friends.
AND THEN on Sunday I took the train out to Windsor with the University of London Mountaineering Club for a walking trip! We walked past Eton College, where both the princes went to school, and then tramped around the countryside for a bit. It was really funny to see the similarities between this trip and CANOE trips back at Carleton — both are very casual and relatively unplanned, and both involve a good amount of bushwhacking and private property. It was nice to just go for a good long walk, and I got to meet some REAL ENGLISH PEOPLE. The walk back into Windsor took us right up the castle, too! Though the leader of the trip is very anti royal family, so he was pretty snarky about it.
- TO BE CONTINUED: future trips, random happenings, markets