liv: cup of tea with text from HHGttG (teeeeea)
[personal profile] liv
I've done quite well recently at seeing far-flung and too busy to meet up friends. There was [personal profile] jack's housewarming the weekend before last, which was mostly Cambridge people. It was a really nice afternoon and evening, and it really is wonderful to be able to use Jack's house as a social base again. Thank you to everybody who helped us host parties when we were semi-homeless in 2012.

Then on Monday my very dear friend MK was in town visiting from Australia. We had to make arrangements somewhat at the last minute because we were both travelling and away from regular internet, but I'm so pleased it did work out in the end. I also got meet their 1-year-old daughter, who is totally wonderful in a very imperious way. I didn't have a chance to see her older brother as he wasn't feeling well, but I think it's probably awkward for a teenager to reconnect with a friend of his parents who mainly knew him as an under-five. For anyone who met MK before he emigrated, yes, his oldest is a teenager now, and if that doesn't strike fear into your heart, MK reports that his son is shaping up to be more intelligent than he is. Apparently the little girl is going to be stubborner, which seems unlikely knowing MK, but having spent an afternoon with her, I'm starting to see his point. It turns out that letting a young toddler choose where to go in the British Museum works extremely well. She doesn't yet know about the famous exhibits, but she has very definite ideas about what she likes (lions "RAWR" feature heavily). So we got see a bunch of galleries that I wouldn't otherwise have known about, the South American exhibit and some really cool stuff from Indonesia, for example.

We also had giant pancakes at the Dutch pancake place by Holborn, which also sold peach Belgian beer omg, and very nice flavoured hot chocolate in a funny little Christian café Mrs K found, and visited The Tea House, a Covent Garden tea-shop which has mostly tourist tat in the window but really nice and not very expensive teas in the back. And catching up on several years worth of chat, including bitching about academic politics. Though it must be said MK is doing rather well, he's been promoted and is running a 10-person lab and has some pretty exciting publications in the pipeline. Even for someone as brilliant and hardworking as he is, though, it's a constant struggle for funding and recognition.

I took the long, slow train journey across central England to return home on Tuesday. And then on Wednesday I took another very slow train to Shrewsbury. The purpose was to train some doctors to help mentor my students, but the way it worked out I also had a bit of time for exploring. Shrewsbury is almost ridiculously pretty; it's part of the same Trust that includes our Medical School, but I'd never had occasion to go there before. Anyway it was nice to potter around the town centre a bit, and I found ever such a nice gay-friendly café for lunch, and another rather hispterish one for tea. The town centre includes an odd mix of predatory and poverty related shops, pawnbrokers and payday loan places and the like, with absurdly middle-class places selling things like "shabby" home decorating stuff and handmade wooden toys and so on. Which makes me think that their main economic activity is tourism, but it's an odd combination.

And this weekend I travelled to London, which was a bit mad with everything else that's going on at the moment, but I'd made a plan ages ago with [personal profile] lethargic_man to accompany him to a ceilidh at Cecil Sharp House. I'm very grateful that he reminded me to get my act together and sort out travel plans, when I'd been so flop over Christmas I basically forgot how soon the event was going to be. So we had an excellent Saturday afternoon chatting, and then went to the dance and bounced around a lot, and then had more time to chat on Sunday morning, so it was delightful. Ceilidh Club is a bit of an odd venture; they really are trying to combine ceilidh-style dancing with a clubbing atmosphere. Considering I don't really like clubbing very much, but do love ceilidhs, the mix sort of worked reasonably well. Certainly it seemed like everybody was having a a good time; even the extremely drunk participants were happy and laughing drunk, not aggressive or maudlin drunk, which says something about the compèring. But they did deliberately encourage more people onto the dance floor than there was really room for, because drunk dancers crashing into eachother and people accidentally getting kicked was apparently hilariously funny. It was definitely nice to be at a ceilidh with a London Saturday night clubbing crowd, which tends to be a lot more diverse than a more trad or provincial ceilidh might be.

I hadn't got round to making specific social plans for Sunday afternoon, so I sent out a general bat signal on Twitter and was very touched at how many people responded suggesting getting together. In fact I ended up hanging out with the wonderful [twitter.com profile] nogazivan, recently returned from exciting travels in Nepal. Sorry for missing [personal profile] doseybat and [personal profile] mirrorshard on this occasion – hopefully we can get together another time, especially if I get a bit more organized about my next trip. Anyway, [twitter.com profile] nogazivan and I had tasty tasty lunch at Diwana on Drummond Street, and then wandered across the road to the Wellcome Collection, with no idea what was on but assuming it'd be something interesting. We weren't at all disappointed: they have an extremely cool exhibition on Death, put together by a single collector.

And this week I'm off to Oxford for a course. I've organized to extend my stay over the weekend to have a little break, and [personal profile] jack is going to join me. I think I've mostly managed to find my Oxford contacts on Twitter, but if there's anyone else I've forgotten who'd like to meet up in Oxford this weekend, do shout. [personal profile] sea_bright, perhaps?

(no subject)

Date: 2013-01-19 01:07 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] sea_bright
Erk - a very belated reply to this (sorry - it's been that kind of week!). On the off-chance that you see this in time and don't have other plans (and aren't just wisely sheltering indoors...), I'll be volunteering in the Oxfam bookshop on St Giles this afternoon, and 'twould be lovely to see you if you felt like popping in. Plus, you know, second-hand books! For charity! We close at 5.30ish, after which some of us usually go to the pub.

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Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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