Friday, 6 May 2011

In which we go camping in Bristol

Time certainly flies when you're having fun. Usually when term is out I have a chance to rediscover the meaning of evenings in, but the past month has been a whirl of gaiety. The weekend following David's return from Montreal was the beginning.

Our friend Zina decided to have a grand weekend of fancy dress, fancy food, and camping to celebrate her birthday. Thus the wee hours of April 2nd saw the Porters briskly walking towards the Cambridge rail station, laden with luggage and bound for Bristol. Our trip down was harrowing, with David trying to squeeze in research and the trains being fulled of shrieking and shouting English hoards. Things soon settled out, however, and after a short Mass at St Mary on the Quay we donned our costumes and began Zina's Birthday Party Stage 1.

The theme was 'poetic characters', so David suggested that we attend as the Owl & the Pussycat:
It is very hard to find an owl costume in Cambridge, so Dave had to make do with my face-painting attempts, which were kept rather light as he decided he didn't want to spend the week looking like an owl should we be unable to remove the paint. Once costumes were donned and the hall was decorated in British National style, we settled in for a delectable feast (cooked by Pippa & Zina), partook in some [very poor] ceilidh dancing, and had a roaring good time with friends new and old. The parish priest went a bit mad as our unofficial photographer, and was kind enough to burn a copy of all the pictures, the good and the ugly, as our memento for the day.

After play came The Cleanup, although that did include helping to 'cleanup' some leftover whiskey, and then it was off for the camping part of the adventure. Pippa has very kind parents who lent us their caravan, so seven us spent the night camping in a field. We took a lovely dusk-time walk, Andy leading the way with his iplayer bagpipe music (like any true Scotsman). We had leftovers, heated in the caravan's oven, ate much too much cake (whiskey sauce!!!), drank our fair share of sweet wines, and talked literature & theology into the wee hours of the morning. It was one of the most pleasant weekends away I've ever had with friends. Escaping the city for the relative solitude of the English countryside was a welcome break, and the company was superb.


Come morning we struck camp. Some of us also woke up translating the Pilgrim Song into Latin... Eventually we made our way into Bristol, where various train times saw a parting of the fellowship. Pippa, Andy, David and I braved on alone. We fought our way to a microbrewery where everyone but I feasted on kilo pots of mussels, and we all enjoyed an afternoon pint (mango ale for me). Then it was off to the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, to check out the art and poke around the curiosities of the museum. Zina was able to rejoin us and following the museum we made a trip to Oxfam where David hit a bumper crop of books (three or so bags worth). Then we made our way to the train station, and it was time to head back to Cambridge after a lovely weekend away. 

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

yikes!!! Time's flying

I think I have over a month's worth of blog entries to catch up on. It's been busy! Currently I'm relaxing in a large Edwardianesque hotel room in Clevedon. On Friday, I left with my family for a drive around England. So far we've traveled up the east coast, through Yorkshire, then over to Edinburgh, then back down the west side, and are now parking in Somerset for a few days before heading back to Cambridge. It's been an awesome trip with many adventures, so hopefully I'll have a few quiet days in which to begin to update.

Things learned so far:

- English highways are easy. English towns are nightmares of doom for navigating.
- I live in fear of head-on collisions ever since we turned the wrong way down an unmarked one-way street. See above.
- My brother is the ideal room-mate. He doesn't snore, he doesn't leave his stuff laying around, and he always takes the smaller, crappier bed in our twin-rooms.
- Old stuff rocks. Old rocks rock. Hello Hadrian's Wall and Stonehenge!