Saturday, 20 March 2010

The Long-Awaited Part Two of the Catch Up

Apologies for the strange formatting in this blog - I'm not quite sure what's going on with blogger's updated post editor. I hope it isn't too distracting. There are lots of photos to keep you busy anyway.
The Gym and other forms of exercise
Windsor Castle
The Supermarket
Weekend Trip to Bath

The Gym and other forms of exercise
Well, yesterday I posted about my new bike, so that's one other form of exercise covered already. The uni is situated on a lot of beautiful land, with tracks going all over the place, so it's very pleasant to go for walks on nice days, as you may have gathered from my photos. :) Otherwise there is a very big and new gym on campus. It's very cheap, and I usually go to the gym, pool or an aerobics class at least once a week. I would like to go more, but just don't... It's the first time I've actually enjoyed going to the gym, possibly because I've been listening to Harry Potter while running, cycling or weighting. That makes it so much more enjoyable.

Windsor Castle
Was quite big and shiny. The day started out pretty overcast, but cleared up beautifully, so we got to see everything in sunshine.

Now I will be the first to admit that I was too distracted watching the one guard who wasn't in time with the rest (they all seemed a little sloppy, with some confusion and poor synchronisation), and didn't actually get any photos of them from the front, but I believe I have found the answer to the question 'Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?' (who guards the guards) - the police! I found it amusing that the guards needed guarding at least...

This statue of Queen Victoria was just outside the entrance to the castle. From the angle of her sceptre, I would say she was a Hogwarts graduate.

We looked at St George's Chapel (when I was young, a chapel was small and a cathedral was large. How times have changed). No photos allowed inside, but here's one of the outside. A wedding was happening there in the afternoon. I imagine that would be rather grand.

We discovered that the British Royalty apparently have some trouble distinguishing between water and grass, and what is appropriate for a moat.

Once we got sick of the castle (there was lots to see inside, including all the reception rooms, and Queen Mary's Dollhouse), we mosied along to Eton. Yes, where the school is. Unfortunately it was a Saturday, so no sightings of funny suits or top hats on 12 year old boys, but it was interesting nonetheless. We couldn't go in anywhere, just wandered along the streets.

Very posh gate here, with wood and bricks - both signs of wealth. And a lamppost made by someone with too much time perhaps?

While ambling back to Windsor, we stopped to look at the birdies. No, I'm not actually obsessed with them, but there were so many of them.

I got the evil eye from one, after taking a photo of its friend...
...being a little less than graceful. Yes, it did just swim backwards into a jetty.

By then it was drawing near to bus time, so we sauntered back to the castle and surroundings. Where we found
(right next to Ye Olde Shoppe (picture below).)

As usual, there are more photos from this trip here.

The Supermarket

Well I don't really know what I was intended on writing about the supermarket when I wrote my last blog with the contents page, so I'll just have to make it up. They have supermarkets here, where you buy stuff. Good. That's all.

I suspect I was actually going to tell you about the wide range of choices between different chains. On campus there's the UFO (Union Food Outlet), which has a lot of fairtrade stuff. Everything there is a little more expensive, but for basics it does the job. The most convenient off-site supermarket is Morrisons - the bus from uni stops right outside it, so you just hop on and off and there isn't too much lugging to be done. However this is a cheaper chain, and I don't feel it's as good quality as some of the other places. And they don't have as much choice in some things. So I prefer Sainsbury's, but it does have a little bit of a walk back to the bus. But that does stop me buying too much. The last shop I did was 3 weeks ago, and I'm holding off until I get back from my Easter trip, which means using just what I already have until next Tuesday.

Weekend in Bath
We started out as seven. And ended with the name number, which was probably a good thing. Over the Valentine's Day weekend (although I had to be told that was that weekend - can never remember the date) we headed off to Bath for a few days.

Bath is almost entirely built of bath stone, which gives it a very uniform appearance, which is both attractive and terribly boring at the same time. The symmetry is amazing to look at - all the buildings are the same, and the effect is very smooth and easy on the eye. It gives the city character, but I prefer a little less order and a little more imagination. Only my personal preference however. It was quite pleasant to be in a city with proper hills again, although our hostel was at the top of one.

Speaking of the hostel, we stayed at the Bath YHA. It was fairly pleasant, although the bathrooms let it down, especially considering the services offered in the city...

We saw lots of the sights, and went on a free walking tour, organised by the city council.

I would highly recommend these tours if you're ever in Bath. Although it depends on the guide, it was one of the best tours I've done - very friendly guide, knew a lot and was very enthusiastic about telling us everything she could.
We saw the Pump Room

Assembly Rooms

Royal Crescent

And yet more elaborate lampposts. Someone really has had too much time on their hands.

We also went on a bus tour to Stonehenge and Lacock Village. Our tour guide was a slightly mad ex-army/truck driver/turned tour guide (fairly standard combination in my experience).

At Stonehenge it was learnt that it really is impossible not to look like a zombie when listening to the audio guides.

And that they really are, just as advertised, a bunch of rocks in a field. My thoughts on this?

They were quite interesting, but I found the surrounding landscape and the touristy-ness more interesting than the actual rocks. Still, some things just have to be done.

We also went to the village of Lacock, where lots of filmy things in Ye Olde Englishe Towns get filmed.

They even have an authentic shoppe.

We pretended to be wizards, because this is where Harry Potter lived before Voldemort (voldemort voldy voldy voldy-mort) zapped him.

(I think Queen Victoria did a better job at wizard poses than we did.)

After that we went back to Bath, and had food at the oldest food place in the city, Sally Lunn's. She made buns (although I thought they looked a lot like rolls, perhaps it's another dialect thing). Our waiter was very enthusiastic, and took photos of us all eating. We asked him to, it wasn't some weird thing.

Once again my snap happiness didn't cease when everyone got sick of me taking photos, so I turned the camera on myself, and discovered I actually am a camel.

What else did we do in Bath? Well, we went to the Roman Baths to take the waters, as is appropriate when one is in Bath. I drank some of the water they all drank gallons of back in the day. It was warm, and had a strong aftertang of iron. Not as pleasant as some things I've drunk, but better than many others. Still, I couldn't drink a whole glass.

Tried on corsets at the Fashion Museum. Tight. Couldn't breathe. But still felt remarkably elegant. That was all due the fact we could neither breathe nor bend over.

Finally, before we all departed for home (and that was another adventure for the next paragraph), we went to the Jane Austen Museum, where we were treated to a tour guide who read us a spiel that seemed to have been written on the ceiling or the backs of her eyelids, then walked through and saw things from Jane Austen's life and times.

We finished with cream tea in the Regency Rooms. Including many different coloured teas and cakes and scones. Only the teas were different colours, and even that's an exaggeration. One was pink, the others were normal tea coloured.

And so endeth our trip. The final stage was to get back to London. On the weekends they're doing 'engineering works' (leaning on shovels?) on part of the line back to Norwich, so any train trip is a mixture of train and bus. This was no exception, as they'd closed half the tube lines we needed as well. We were spread out over a few different departure times from Bath, but still managed to all catch up to each other in Ipswich (thanks to a very round about route from Paddington to Liverpool St stations by the first group) and enjoy one last leg together. Part of it was in first class (we were instructed to get on 'here' and sit down, so we did...), then we decided we didn't want to have to pay lots if we were found in the wrong compartment, and moved. Overall it was a good adventure. I would like to go back to the area at some stage and see some of the other things a little further out from Bath. But that will have to wait for another day.

More photos of Bath are here.

And there you have it. You aren't actually up to date yet, because I've been to London with Stu and Elly since all this, and done other fun things, but it's better than nothing. Next week I'm off to Germany for 2 and a half weeks over Easter. I'll have Easter Sunday in Prague which should be beautiful. I'll try to catch the blog up to current events by then, but can't promise anything. In the meantime, check here for a summary of our adventures in London by Stu and Elly. To start you off on my photos, go here.

Well done on getting this far. I'll stop now. Toodles!


  1. Nice corset! :) Actually, nice hat!! Love it, you do look elegant! The Roman Baths look really cool! Where do they get the water from - Roman aqueducts?!! Weird that it tastes like that - but we are totally spoilt with Tassie water!

    And hey - I didn't realise your photo link was to facebook - I inadvertantly broke my Lent-fast! :( I have never navigated away from a page so fast!!! :p

    So do a blog post about your time wiv Stu-poo and Smelly!! :) xoxox Miss you Mim!

  2. I'm with Heth, the corset was very fetching!

    And I think the formating worked out fine inspite of frustrations! Very readable!