I hope some trick-and-treaters find their way to our house.
Friday, 31 October 2008
I hope some trick-and-treaters find their way to our house.
Thursday, 30 October 2008
I was therefore glad when Helen from our MPhil course emailed us teachers inviting us to celebrate her birthday with cakes and ginger ale right before the class.
Sunday, 26 October 2008
I have been to London dozens of times, often together with someone who was there for the first time: our children, a friend from Russia, and most recent, a grandchild. There are some mandatory things for a first-timer, but several are worth to revisit. But when I am on my own I try to find something special. Occasionally I just find it without trying. To find out about what's on in London you go to Time Out. Which I did and found two things I immediately fell for. The first was an exhibition at the British Library, Weird and Wonderful Inventions . A tiny exhibition, not adverrized anywhere inside or ourside the library. My friend's husband at dinner, when I told about it, said he had spent that particular day at the British Library and never heard of it. Just the kind of event I love! How about bottle-lock, to keep the servant from tasting the master's wine? A page turner (literally)? Knot unpicker? Mostly from the 19th century.
It then felt natural to proceed to Dr Johnson's House for the exhibition on tea and coffee in his time. The house itself is marvelous, and there is a statue of Hodge the cat in the yard. The house hides in a narrow passage off Fleet Street that I would never have ventured into on my own, but I once went on an evening walk of London's secret places.
In between I went to Portobello Road Market which is always worthwhile.
When I still had some time before going to my friend's I went into the National Gallery and just sat there comfortably, watching people pass by.
Just the right way to spend a day in London, if you are tired of which, said Dr Johnson, you are tired of life.
Friday, 24 October 2008
Every morning, especially when I am alone, I turn the hourglass as I drink coffee and let the minutes go by without rushing. I hope my friend does the same.
Thursday, 23 October 2008
Wednesday, 22 October 2008
I guess the next step will be to change the steering wheel from left to right.
Monday, 20 October 2008
Saturday, 18 October 2008
Friday, 17 October 2008
Wednesday, 15 October 2008
Monday, 13 October 2008
Sunday, 12 October 2008
After lunch in a timberframe pub we feel that we could do another attraction and go for Melford Hall nearby. It's grand in itself, but an additional treat is the Beatrix Potter connection, "the other Potter" as she is now referred to in children's literature context. The garden features topiaries with a pond hidden inside. A sign alerts parents to keep an eye on their children so that they don't fall into the pond.
I think we have already got one third worth of our National Trust membership.
Saturday, 11 October 2008
After that we bike to Grantchester, over cow pastures, on still narrower and bumpy paths. The sunny side of biking in Cambridge is that there always is a pub at your destination.
I consult the Faculty secretary who forwards the issue to the Pro-Proctor for Ceremonials. The message is, "as a Professor here, you are entitled to an MA Status gown (without strings)".
I look up gowns on the University Shop website, and they have such a variety that I get dizzy. You can rent a gown, and you can buy one for a substantial, but not unsurmountable sum. I have many times, letting my imagination flow beyond all reason, pictured myself in a gown.
By the way, I have worn an academic gown once. When I had by inaugural lecture at the University of Worcester as an Honorary Professor, the person in charge told me that they couldn't find a robe from Stockholm University to rent for me. She was astonished when I told her there wasn't any such thing. They got one for me anyway, from Coventry as it turned out, and lo and behold! it was blue and yellow, the Swedish colours.
Friday, 10 October 2008
A hairdresser is a very important person in one's life. To change a hairdresser is almost like changing a partner. And the first time with a new hairdresser is like a blind date. Will I like him? Will he like me? Can I trust him? Will he understand what I want? Will he notice my little dissobedient whirl on the right? Will I want to see him again?
I enter the little hairdresser shop with a row of chairs, with a large window toward the street, like an aquarium. I am apprehensive. I look around trying to guess who of these young men would be Andy. Will I like him...?
I did. I am very pleased with my haircut.
Monday, 6 October 2008
I have to change buses in the centre, but I am not quite sure where, so I ask a fellow passenger. One should never do this - people are always ashamed to say they don't know and say something stupid instead. So I go off far too early and have to walk on. Fortunately I am not in a hurry. Both buses go in intricate loops, and I get excellent sightseeing. It is very relaxing. Not too many people. New passengers get tickets from the bus driver, and it takes ages. But I am not in a hurry, and I am not stressed because I am not driving. I watch people around me. I am part of the crowd. The way home goes even faster and smoother.
If I get into the habit of taking the bus to work I will probably, to my children's triumph, buy an iPod.
Sunday, 5 October 2008
Now, when twenty people get gother in a very small space, it does get warm. Nevertheless, after a couple of drinks, and having listened to many compliments about our lovely home, I ventured to ask whether anyone knew about heaters. It sometimes helps to play a dumb foreigner. Two minutes later the relevant button was found (not at all in the place we had been looking for).
That's what I call housewarming!
Friday, 3 October 2008
Here I have just heard that the Faculty has investigated the possibilities to name the New Faculty Building after some distinguished person in the field (just as the old building is called Mary Allen Building). It turns out that it will be possible provided that the person is dead. There are certainly enough distinguished dead educators. However, the process will take up to seven years.
Mary Allen Building, MAB for short, is where I have my office
Thursday, 2 October 2008
The three meetings are of completely different kinds. At the first, I finally figure out that “paper” means course, while a paper is called thesis or dissertation. I realize that “Research and Investigation” is what we in the old country called “Theory and method”. I begin deciphering the mysterious acronyms and get some of my guessed confirmed.
The central issue at the Academic Staff Meeting is whether to abolish water containers in the corridors. They cost too much and the plastic mugs are not recyclable. The question gives rise to a much more lively discussion than the preceding scholarly reports.
The last meeting is relaxed, but to the point. We sit over a cu of tea in the Combination Room, and papers have now become essays and there are more acronyms, and my head is about to split. Iish I could turn it off for a while.