love this song in any form but this is a sick remix
Forgot to mention that Audrey the bestie paid me a visit last week! She’s abroad in Nice and came to the humble Bath for part of her spring break to visit me! It was great to hang out, eat a lot, watch the Downton finale (finally!) and drink some tea (&cocktails…:))
Exactly a week ago I had the opportunity (mandatory) to travel to Oxford to see C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien’s colleges, as well as the Eagle and Child where their writing group the Inklings met, and C.S. Lewis’s dwelling “The Kilns.”
For the first leg of our journey, a walking tour around the various colleges (Magdalen, Merton, Balliol, Exeter, Trinity, etc…..) we had a tour guide named Petere, who was quite enthusiastic. He was also very into the movie Shadowlands about C.S. Lewis and his wife Joy. More on them later…
After our explorations, we finally made it to the Eagle and Child, were I lunched upon delicious fish and chips. Some of my friends partook in the brew “Hoptimus Prime” which I found quite punny. It was awesome to finally be able to go to this pub, and though I can’t say I was inspired to write a grandiose fantasy novel, I was impressed nevertheless, nerdy as I am.
Then, it was time to take the trip to the Kilns. We were greeted by Americans, oddly, one of whom was a theologist in residence who literally lived in CS Lewis’s house and was like obsessed with him. I learned some interesting things, but mostly that when is friend Paddy Moore died in the war, Lewis had promised to take care of his mother for him. Turns out he really took care of Mrs. Moore–they got a little frisky. Ew, right?! More interestingly, she ended up living with him later but in a platonic, motherly way, because she was a lot older. Lewis’s relationship with his wife was also interesting–she basically stalked him all the way to England and they had deep conversations, decided to get married so she could stay in the country, but then she got cancer and Lewis realized he loved her.
I can’t even. So strange. Informative tour, though, so I’m not complaining. Then we went to see the church he worshipped at and his grave…
Then we got stuck in traffic on the way home and it was excruciating.
I can probably count on one hand the amount of time I’ve been alone since I’ve gotten here. This is great, because I’ve probably been accustomed to too much alone time, plus if ever even wanted any here I would have serious FOMO. But now Mimi is in Belgium for the weekend and the other two are on a full day field trip to Jane Austen’s home or something like that … I might wish I were in Belgium but anything Jane Austen related is enough to make me want to run away.
So, for the first time, I have our flat to myself. I watched TV in the morning without earphones. I’ve been doing some laundry. Opened some windows. Went pee with the door open. Nothing too drastic, but when I went outside it was a bit different. I noticed people more–I wasn’t focused on a conversation or getting as fast as I could to a destination. I felt almost conspicuous, but I really enjoyed people watching in the afternoon gloom. Just something interesting for me to think about, I guess–being alone isn’t always a bad thing.
I did go out with a purpose, which was to purchase a copy of The Casual Vacancy. But Taylor, why are you buying a copy of a book you already have? Great question–its because I’M GOING
ON A DATE WITH JK ROWLING TONIGHT I GET TO SEE JK ROWLING TALK TONIGHT! Of course a die hard nerd like me is excited, even though she will only be discussing The Casual Vacancy and nothing Harry Potter related whatsoever, or even allowing children in. I actually ran into my writing professor in the store (SMALL FREAKIN’ WORLD) and he was sort of mad at her for trying to make the general public forget that she’d written a wildly successful children’s series, and I do agree.
Anyway, I needed a copy for her to sign. I got the last copy of it at Mr. B’s Book Emporium (which is apparently one of the best independent bookstores in the country, so I guess Jo would be proud that I bought it there) after trying chains like WH Smith and Waterstones. I’m really excited but disappointed that I couldn’t sneak a Harry Potter in to be signed as well… I debate swapping out the covers but she’s probs a smart enough lady to realize what I have done.
THIS Saturday we went on a trip with our program to the Costwolds! The Cotswolds are, according to Wiki’s definition, “a range of hills in southwestern and west-central England, an area 25 miles (40 km) across and 90 miles (145 km) long. The area has been designated as the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.”
First we went to Broadway Tower, from which you could see 4 different counties. It was also the coldest I’ve ever been (I’m being dramatic but really, it was chilly).
Then we walked down to the village and saw some sheep on the way. We also walked through kissing gates, which we liked to lol about mostly just because of the name. Only one person can go through at a time and then you kind of pass each other so the first people through kiss (or so I was told). Sadly, no one would kiss me.
Then we went to Bourton-on-the-Water to eat lunch.
It was pretty, but also cold.
Then we went to the Painswick Gardens to see snowdrops.
then we went home.
Was this a really good blog post or what? I had fun I swear but the creative juices are just not flowing currently.
This past Saturday we took the train to Cardiff, Wales. Wales is a different country than England but it is still in both the United Kingdom and Great Britain (only Northern Ireland is in the UK but not Great Britain. That is your geography lesson for the day).
We decided to go to Wales because, though we could be content spending every moment in Bath, that wasn’t exactly feasible. Cardiff is a great day trip and a good place to get our feet wet, literally, for traveling around Europe.
The day started off in quite an interesting way. We had been warned not to travel to Cardiff when there was a game in Millenium stadium, home of the adored Welsh rugby team. We thought we were fine this Saturday because there was not one. We did not take into account, however, the fine game of football. We arrived at the Bristol train station at around 8:50 AM. Emma was looking to one side, exclaiming about architecture. The rest of us were looking to the other, confused by the large mass of men who had cropped up.
“Emma, LOOK,” I said.
“This is a really cool building—“
“JUST FREAKIN’ LOOK OVER HERE!”
“Oh. So this is where all the men have been hiding.”
Yes, these were football fans from Bristol, and yes, they were wasted. They stormed onto the train and all I could do was put aside Lord of the Rings and the Les Miserables soundtrack and stare. Some stood and some sat, but the train had become exponentially more rowdy. They drank their Thatcher’s Gold cider and sang, sometimes singing ABOUT Thatcher’s gold. My favorite songs included lyrics like “always shit on the Welsh side of the bridge” (to the tune of a Monty Python song, I assume) and “10 sheep shaggers in a field.” I felt extremely uncomfortable, but also amused at the same time. Luckily, there were cops in the car so I wasn’t afraid, but the football fans also did not really pay attention to the cops when they told them to shut up.
Then when we arrived in Cardiff we saw some guy who had been sitting right near us get arrested. Whee! No idea what he had done, probably talked back to a cop or something… awkward! Let’s move on. But that was my train ride. Yay cultural experiences!
After stopping so I could purchase and egg and bacon sandwich (yummy, but still not real bacon), we made our way to Cardiff Castle, which I would say is arguably the biggest tourist landmark in Cardiff. I think it might have been the first castle I’ve seen, and we had a nice time walking around the walls, the keep, and also the tunnels where they hid during wartime, though that part was kind of scary because they kept blasting odd music throughout said tunnels… We had audio guides and I really did learn some stuff about the construction of the castle but my retention skills are quite low at the moment, so all I can offer you are some pictures.
I also dropped my camera and it might be broken. Cardiff Castle 1, Taylor 0.
Next we were going to go to the bay but then I was forced to take a stroll through a park, where we totally smelled weed. Then we had lunch from a slightly sketchy cheap store on a corner, deciding that we would save our pounds for a nicer dinner (read: cider).
After lunch we made our way to the visitor center, where we got directions to the bay—half an hour away. Still worth it, because, like the nerd I am, I needed to see where Torchwood was filmed.
Sadly, extreme fogged marred our visit, but it was still worth the walk. Though I do wish I could see more than like 5 feet out into the bay. We walked to the Dr. Who experience which I realllllly wanted to go to, but, as the only fan, I sadly had to pass.
Our last stop was the FREE MUSEUM! Put the word free in front of everything and I will go. It actually turned about to be pretty cool, because there was a history of Wales section, a Natural History section, AND an art section with some pretty Monet. Plus benches so Ruth and I could rest—the amount of walking we did was NOT IT. I might need to invest in a scooter.
Post free museum, we walked around, Emma got tea and a muffin, we continued to walk around, then looked for a place for dinner. We ended up at the Owyn Glyndwyr, a pub named for a famous dead Welshman who was apparently the last Prince of Wales.
After dinner, about 10 Welshman appeared at our table. You’d think that would be it but then there MORE kept coming and it was INSANE. I wouldn’t call them country folk but they weren’t the most educated of men either… However, they were pretty polite, which was good because being one of four girls surrounded by that many guys could get real awkward realllll fast. They were probably around our age, maybe a bit older, and were eager to discuss American customs and also teach us Welsh Words. One man even had a dollar in his pocket! They were also very eager to visit Disneyland. Somehow I ended up sitting near the grenades of the group (as the Situation would say), a really fat man and a scarier one with tattoos named Mikey, but he bought me a drink so I’m not complaining. Moral of the story: grenades are perfectly nice.
A choice quote from one of the men: “What are the odds that FOUR AMERICAN WOMEN would show up in OUR BAR?”
it’s wales time y’all
I’m not just sitting around reading novels. I’m experiencing culture! Obviously they speak the same language but there is of course some slang, customary differences, and the like which I am finding interesting and figured I might as well record.
1. Toilets: We have one with a pull chain which is quite interesting, and also they are very deep– like the toilet bowl itself is quite vast. It is not like this in America. Mock me if you will, but I know I am right.
2. Sinks: At first I didn’t notice but there are like two faucets, and depending if you want hot or cold it will come out a different faucet. Weird.
3. Arugula is called rocket here. We were getting bagels and Fin asked for hers without rocket because she didn’t know what it was. Luckily, I asked for her, and we then realized it was arugula and delicious on a sandwich.
4. The word posh is used quite often. Usually it is referring to wealth, status, accents, etc. Sometimes when I go out in heels I will say I look posh. I usually don’t.
5. Chav = actually an acronym for council house (kind of like the projects) and violent. British version of white trash. Not sure if appropriate to use often.
6. REFRIGERATION: Brits apparently not a fan of refrigerating things. Not sure why. Grocery stores freak me out with the eggs just chillin on a shelf.
7. Geordie Shore is the British version of the Jersey Shore and is also produced by MTV. It is also 10x better and trashier. A woman exposes her chest within ten seconds of the first episode. Solid gold. Sometimes I have no idea what they’re saying but it’s great anyway.
8. Made In Chelsea: The British version of The Hills except 10x more posh. At first I thought it was boring as hell but now I’m addicted and cannot stop watching. I just want to wander around Belgravia in my fur coat and rainbow manicure like Caggie.
9. Not to sound completely dumb but I am still consistently surprised by the cars driving on the wrong side of the road. It seems like such a small thing but it’s quite disorienting. Plus the roads are reallllly skinny.
10. Speaking of skinny, EVERYTHING HERE IS SMALLER. Stairs, streets, portion sizes, apartments, kitchens, people, etc. Do not understand. Supersize me, America!
11. Not used to having change be valuable. Keep dropping it on accident. Still getting 50 pence and 2 pounds confused because they are both sort of larger. Cashiers do not have much patience for my confusion with currency. Wish I had a coin purse but I have so many at home that I failed to tote along I would feel silly purchasing a new one.
Just for some added fun, I’ll give a short personality rundown of the people I’m spending the most time with.
Emma, my roommate: Very short and bouncy with dark curly hair, reminds me of a cute elf. Seems innocent but has some funnnn stories. Loves pizza hut, Jesse McCartney and The Bachelor–ashamed of none of it. Shit you might hear Emma say: “If you insult Taylor Swift I will kill you,” “I’m really f@#&*! good at scrabble and I will beat you.”
Mimi (Mimz) : We all thought she might have been a foreign person before we met her because her full name is very ethnic but she isn’t, though she does have an EU citizenship which is sick. Also has dark curly hair. Mimi has lots of STRANGE stories which are great to listen to. She also loves rappers. Shit you might hear Mimi say: “I got a staph infection in Ghana,” “When my room was set on fire…”
Fin: (Aka Sarah, Findawg, Finnegan) Quiet when you first meet her, you soon realize she is crazy. Fin also has great stuff to tell and enjoys narrating what she is currently doing by turning it into song. Loves sheep and Kate Middleton. Eats almost as much pizza as I do. Shit you might hear Fin say: “I was a three time gold medalist in the national latin scholar competition,” “I wish I lived in the Cold War era.”