Thursday, 30 April 2009

A new 'hood and a new home

I never thought it would happen but here I sit, sun on my back, stealing internet from the apartment above and thoroughly enjoying my new surrounds - post-essay, post-review, post-presentation. Sigh.

It hasn't yet been a week but already I am smitten with my new part of the world. Columbia Rd, I have decided, is my most favourite part of London (yes yes I have yet to fully explore all of London yarda yarda yarda) BUT - to be three minutes walk - if that - from this charming, quirky corner of the world, home to the flower markets and cool pubs and cute cafes and kooky shops, well I couldn't be more delighted. Three minutes to weekend flower purchases, 10 minutes to Brick Lane, 15 minutes to Broadway Market and its organic food stalls. Heaven.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside...

Oh to still be on a long weekend.

Dorset was just so charming - beautiful countryside, rambling little villages, cream teas, the mellifluous sounds of seagulls in the early morning. Loved it. Loved it so much I still am struggling to care about the fact I didn't get past 76 words of my essay before hitting Le Wall du Apathy. Have yet to hit 100 words - still - and still I don't care. I feel like, I've done the reading, I've had a think, I've learned a few things - surely the point has been made? Why do I have to write 3,500 torturous words to prove it? Can't you just take my word for it?

But I digress. Dorset. ahh. Yes, so LB, his sister and brother-in-law and I took to the road and after negotiating our way out of London last Friday (so glad I don't drive in this bloody city....) and driving through quaint little villages like the one surrounding Corfe Castle, we found ourselves in the seaside town of Swanage.

Swanage is rather well-known, both for its sandy beach and proximity to the Jurassic Coastline (dinosaur fossils anyone?) but also for its old pier. It was a grey sort of day when we arrived but strolling the pier we were rather charmed to discover that to raise money for the pier's upkeep people can buy small brass plaques and have them etched and then embedded in the planks.

Just so many lovely stories and memories and tributes. I'm not entirely sure what they were referring to but I think my favourite was the one that read "David Lloyd caught the crabs here"...

Waking to cooing seagulls and the ready smell of salt in the air the next day we undertook a walk along the coastline towards Studland and Poole Harbour.

It was just, well, so English. Green rolling hills, majestic cliffs, hikers in sensible clothing bearing mountain poles.

Once we got to the ferry crossing at Poole Harbour (after an altercation with a stroppy bus driver who took us the last leg from Studland) we took an over-priced ferry ride to the National Trust managed (and consequently over-priced) Brownsea Island. The one-time home to Henry VIII and the original camping ground for Baden-Powell and his boy scouts, there isn't much happening on Brownsea Island besides shy squirrels and baby ducks and peacocks and stroppy rangers who don't like it when grown men climb trees....

The next day we took in Corfe Castle village and after 20 minutes of deciding it was pretty but also pretty boring, we took to the car and meandered our way through the countryside. By luck we came across the stunning Lulworth Bay....

... where we had icecreams in the sunshine before further meandering on to Weymouth for cream tea and an ogle at the donkey rides, bumper cars and Punch and Judy shows that litter the popular beachfront.

So English.

The rest of our time was spent drinking and eating and having afternoon siestas - was all very stressful as you might imagine. SO stressful there are plans afoot to book a holiday to Sardinia tomorrow. Oh. And write another 3402 words. Oh. And pack up my room.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Dorset and packed and ready for a long weekend.

Well, not quite packed perhaps but definately ready. God I am SICK of school work. Easter was a sloth's delight with plenty of quality time both with LB and the so-good-it-was-nearly-spiritual chocolate he gave me courtesy of Maison du Chocolat. Sigh... But not so much achieved on the university front. I have 24 hours to write 3,500 words and dammit it will be done. Because I'm not going to Dorset with this bloody thing hanging over my head. Am so looking forward to getting out of London for a few days. Notwithstanding my sojourn home over Christmas I haven't been out of London since last October when I went to Berlin and god that feels like forever ago...

This is not Berlin. Clearly. This is Sardinia. This is where I'm hoping to go next month, if it's possible to plan a whim a month in advance. I need some sunshine and some swimming. And some sleeping. And some sangria. And not necessarily all in that order.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Thank god for gingham

I am wearing a very pretty dress today. I bought it yesterday and aside from the fact that cotton gingham fabric sans several woolly layers of jumpers = Spring (16 degrees here today - yeah baby!) the dress also represents a very significant victory over the temptation that is a chocolate and peanut butter milkshake. Frankly yesterday it would have been a miracle if I'd only had ONE milkshake, never mind a dirty little secret drawers worth of other deliciously calorific treats. But no. I resisted. I was drawn to the gingham and my day of living virtuously survived intact.

It was a shitty kind of a day before PGD (pre-gingham dress). I was woken by a text message at an ungodly hour and after a trip to the gym in the morning I spent the rest of the day battling dawdlers, idiots, shovers and a general coterie of smelly/strange/unhelpful people on the streets of London as I tried to navigate my way from library to library with the dim hope of actually getting some work done this week. 

Yesterday was the kind of crappy arse day where you pump money into the printer only for it to take said money but then refuse to give you anything you've printed. The kind of day where every issue of an art magazine dating back to 1988 is in the library - except the one you need. That sort of thing. Was such fun I gave up and left. Only to encounter more annoying, pushing, difficult people all the way to the real estate. It honestly made the G20 protests of last week feel like a casual get together.

But to the point - we got our house! - the uber lovely little apartment in Shoreditch and we move in just over two weeks time. I. Cannot. Wait. LB (Lovely Boy) has even offered to take a day off work to help me brave Ikea and then flex his boy muscles and put all my furniture together. Ahh Bless. Now if only I could find someone to help me with all this school work...

There is so much to get done before I move and while I am still without any sort of direction and focus for the collective 8000 words I have to write, "research" is offering a legitimate distraction and I've loved re-discovering the geeky thrills of the library treasure hunt.

Earlier this week my lovely friend from home was in London and it's been so so good to see her and ambling through Hampstead Heath on Monday was just so delightful, not least of all because it was my first ever visit to this tres genial part of London.

Amongst our many and varied conversations we struck at one point on our mutual lack of desire for any form of aggressive participation in the full-time rat race. With that (re)articulated, and in light of the distinct lack of 9 to 5 that is the student life, well, my new mantra is to be resolutely part-time brilliant. Anything more than that and I'm going to need another dress.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Window licking, tree gazing and lots of art

1st of April. Jeeeeeee-sus. How did it get to April so quickly? It will be November before I know it and I will have finished my dissertation and be wandering the streets of London wearing a sandwich board offering free work for food. I hope it doesn't come to that...

Am on Easter break now until the end of the month which is extremely exciting. Have so much work to do it's rather ridiculous but I'm hoping that resurgent boosts of enthusiasm and organisational chutzpah will see me through the 4000 word essay, 20 minute presentation and 600 word exhibition review I have to get done before the 27th. While I work, nanny and pack up my room to move out on the 26th. Why do one thing at once when you can do 25 I ask?