30 October 2007

Welcome to Cambridge

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single girl in search of a handsome young lad of good fortune, intelligence and an assuredly successful future, must search in Cambridge.

I mean, how could you not be assured of a successful future when you got your degree from a place that looks more like a castle than a university? And all that perfect green grass with "Keep off the Grass" signs all over it. Nothing oozes money like perfect grass.

Kings College, Cambridge Kings Collge, Cambridge

All right, so I'm kidding. But there is certainly something about Cambridge that inspires aspirations.

Punts, Cambridge Another College, Cambridge Keep Off the Grass, Cambridge
Lex in the Eagle Pub, Cambridge Long Street with Cute Chimneys, Cambridge The Eagle Pub, Cambridge

See above for assorted photos of punts (which look wickedly difficult to manoeuvre, and who wants to fall in on a day like this?), a pub with 14th century origins and various views around the town.

The Eagle is actually a very famous pub. It is famous because Francis Crick announced, on 28 February 1953 - probably over a pint and a very bad Sunday roast - that he and James Watson had "discovered the secret of life" after they had come up with their proposal for the structure of DNA.

The Eagle Pub, Cambridge

It also has an entire ceiling covered with signatures of American RAF airforce pilots from the second world war. The special thing is that the signatures were made with cigarettes, cigarette lighters and lipstick. You can see the signatures on the ceiling in the photo just above.

Cambridge Market Transport, Cambridge
Bridge of Sighs, Cambridge Trang at the Bridge of Sighs, Cambridge

Above are: the Cambridge Market, bicycles, the Bridge of Sighs and my flatmate, Trang.

I mostly wanted to see the Bridge of Sighs for its romantic name, but also because there's a good story about it. According to the Lonely Planet, the architect who designed the bridge got paid a pittance. So, in a particularly reserved fashion, he expressed his annoyance by chipping a slice out of one of the balls on the bridge, so that it would effectively never be finished.

These days we'd probably just slap a bit of concrete in and voila! Complete! It's just another example of how they just don't do things the way they used to. Which in the end, is the best part of Cambridge's charm.

27 October 2007

Moving In, Moving Out

Little Car
Little car, Hammersmith

We're interviewing potential flatmates today. Our lovely flatmates are going back to Aus for the winter and we're finding filler-inner flatmates for while they're gone.

In all truth I'm a little nervous. Meeting people who are strangers who will become housemates. What if I think they're really nice at first and then they turn out not to be nice? What if they have awful secret habits? Like, I don't know, never doing the dishes?

Fingers crossed for nice flatmates like the ones we have now.

22 October 2007

Oxford: City of Dreaming Spires, Milkshakes and Professors

You know a place is mellow when they're playing Bob Marley. In the main street of Oxford, it was all sunshine, African drummers and a band playing an amazing version of 'No Woman No Cry' - I think it was the U2-style guitar that made it work.

Building Near Covered Market, Oxford Christ Church College, Oxford
College, Oxford Longwall St, Oxford

Oxford was a sea of chilled out tourists, students and beautiful old buildings. We went to Christ Church College (pictured above with the perfect green grass) where Charles Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll, worked as a maths professor and wrote the Alice books. Walking around Oxford I could completely see where Carroll got ideas about all the doorways in his stories. It's all arched doors, tiny doorways in walls and keyholes to peek through.

We found this milkshake shop that sells a few hundred different flavours of milkshakes. Flavours like turkish delight, crunchy nut cornflake, weetabix, tic tac... anything you could ever imagine. L and I shared a strawberry trifle milkshake with marshmallows on top. Tasted exactly the same as the name.

Bike, Oxford Lauch near Radcliffe Camera, Oxford Lex Near Radcliffe Camera, Oxford

When I was off taking a photo, this pretty blonde girl came up to Lauch.
"Excuse me," she said, "Don't I know you from somewhere? You look like a professor I had in Canada." Lauch corrected her and she disappeared off down a rabbit hole. He had by this time blushed bright red.

Professor Lauch. Remembered by pretty blonde girls the world over.

We must never let him live this down.

21 October 2007

Returning & Leaving

Typewriter, Camden Market

Today L confirmed our flights back to Australia. I'll be back in Tassie for about two weeks over Easter 2008... and then fly back to London again. That's the plan at the moment, anyway.

I can't wait to:
see my family
catch up with everyone (if you're a friend reading this, hope you'll keep a day over Easter free!)
eat the foods I can't get here
and generally soak up the warm weather and Aussie-ness.

18 October 2007

Keep Looking

Newsagent, West London

This week has passed (is passing) in a haze of ordinary. It is wake up in the dark, walk to the bus stop in the dark, get to work in the dark, work, go home in the dark. This morning it was nick into the newsagent and top up my oyster card (like a rechargable bus/tube ticket) in the dark.

Maybe the ordinary should not be tossed aside so lightly. I posted this photo of the newsagent because there's something cute about the post box, the touches of red and the neat round garbage bag. Most of the post boxes here are like this. And there's beauty in them.

Eyes open, Lexonline. It will be the everyday touches of red that keep the grey out of winter.

Postbox and Policeman, Windsor

15 October 2007

The Queen is Not In Today

Windsor Castle + Tourists
Windsor Castle and Tourists

Lauch and I took the tube and two trains to Windsor today. But when we got there we saw that the Queen was not at home. Not at home! We decided to leave the castle to the fifty busloads of tourists and have a look around instead.

The Long Walk, Windsor
The Long Walk, Windsor

We walked from the gates of Windsor Castle towards the end of the Long Walk. It's one of those very neat garden paths with neat rows of trees on either side. It was such a long walk we couldn't see what was at the end. Maybe it was a statue. We walked for about 500 metres and somehow couldn't quite get motivated to get to the end. In fact, the millions of small children on bikes with training wheels probably got further than we did.

L and I in the Leaves, Windsor
Lauch and Me

We were distracted by all the autumn leaves.

View Along the Thames, Windsor
View Along the Thames

Along the river bank there were children feeding bread to big white swans. In the shops there were tiny toy soldiers and antique jewels and gelato, lots of gelato. Notice the ferris wheel, for sky-high views of the castle. I wonder what the Queen thinks about that. I'm not sure that I'd want a ferris wheel near my castle. But I'd have a Long Walk and a town like Windsor for sure.

13 October 2007

Before and After

Leaves: Before

Leaves: After

These photos of our back fence were taken only ten days apart. Today L and I are going hunting for leaves. Piles of leaves to kick and throw and jump in.

10 October 2007


On the way home, taken with my old camera

I took this photo on the bus trip home. The best seat, in my opinion, is the very front seat of the double decker bus. The windows are huge, you can see everything as you go past. You can look down on people's heads, look into windows, look over the tops of houses and cars and everything. Even though it gobbles up two hours of my day, I love the bus more than driving a car. I love getting to sit there and look around at everything without having to negotiate gears and traffic.

As long as there are no teenagers playing music on their phones, there is no snarled up traffic, nobody has recently farted, and as long as the bus is going fast and I am in my favourite seat, I am happy. Especially when I'm going home.

6 October 2007

London From Above (and Noogies)

London from Above
The Thames - Taken from the London Eye, of course.

This photo was taken from high, high above. Far too high above London for me to be bothered by the sound of children talking about noogies.

I can see you nodding wisely. Ah, noogies, you are saying. Those are my favourite.

Trust me, these noogies are not your favourite.

These noogies spread like wildfire around the classroom, in that undertone kids are famous for. Sure, you can tell when kids are shouting. But when they're talking about noogies? Could be anyone. You can't even see their mouths move. Noogies escape their lips un-noticed, crawl ickily into the ears of other kids and wreak havoc in every direction.

General symptoms include:
Kids squirming.
Kids giggling.
Kids yelling "MISS! They're talking about noogies!"
And of course the chorus of
"But she said it FIRST!"

General treatments include:
Teacher frowning.
Teacher attempting to pinpoint general origination of noogies.
Teacher giving up attempting to pinpoint and demanding immediate cessation of silliness.

Noogies are squelched like a slug under a heavy boot.
Until next time.

P.S. Total times the word "noogie" was used in this blog: 10. Beats overuse of the words "and then" any day.

4 October 2007

This Apple is Organic.

Organic Vegies

The doorbell rang this morning. Trang and I rushed to answer the door but the person was gone. All that was left was a brown cardboard box tied up with string.

Our organic vegetables had arrived.

Lauch recently read this book and so we decided to try and do something good for the world: once a month, get a box of organic vegetables, which we would split with our flatmates. Vegetables that have been grown locally - so, less transport has been used, creating less pollution. Vegetables that are grown without pesticide. The vegies that come each month are whatever's in season, meaning that we get to eat a greater variety of things and learn to cook in new ways. As I said, they come in a recyclable cardboard box. And those bananas, they are fair trade.

Very good in theory, right?

The first time we got a box full, I was slightly put off by the tiny amount that came. It is about twice as expensive as buying stuff from the local (very cheap) shops.

But straight away I fell in love with the kooky shapes of the vegies and the amazing taste. This month we have celeriac. That's the one that looks like a brain in the photo above. I've never encountered celeriac before and never heard its name spoken aloud before today.

I can't wait to see what comes next month.

3 October 2007

Late Autumn Night

Last night
the bus crawled along rain-shiny streets
cars banked up, headlights on and only 6pm.
Walking home there were fine drops of rain on my eyelashes
my hands in pockets, warm,
feet dodging the slippery patches of rotten leaves.

Last night
I went to bed after taking some Nurofen
hoping to be healthy tomorrow.

Today I woke up with
no voice
it has been lost completely after only 8 days of work
so now I am home and enjoying the silence.