3rd – 9th October, 2011

The week started off very well – I attended my university’s first debate, about whether my university should be privatised. It was very stimulating to hear different arguments and formulate my own view (against the motion) and I should think I’ll attend those every week, apart from tomorrow where I’ll be going to the first trial to be part of the university’s ‘University Challenge’ team! Looks set to be a failure but will happily give it a shot.

On Tuesday I investigated things at the Officer Training Corps, and went to one of their introduction evenings. Needless to say, the things they do there look pretty spectacular – being paid to go to California to do Sky Diving probably says it all. Next weekend I’m going on a ‘selection weekend’ and, if I pass that I’ll be in. I’m cautious – I’ll see if I like it, and if not, I think I’ll be fairly comfortable in saying the Army is not for me.

On Wednesday I went to see The Lion King and the Lyceum theatre – it was spectacular, the performance really absorbed you and the music sent shivers down your spine. Despite having not seen the actual film (I know!), I really enjoyed it.

Thursday and Friday were rather absorbed by university work but on Friday evening my girlfriend came down, which made me very happy indeed! On Saturday evening we, and some university friends, went for a wonderful evening at Pizza Express and had a lovely time chatting and eating wonderful food. Puddings especially. Sunday was more work but we did find time to wonder through Camden Market together and promised ourselves that next time we’d have the liquid nitrogen ice cream. I was sad to see her head back off but we’ll see each other in two weeks!



28th September – 2nd October, 2011

It was good to break the ice and finally get the first day back at university done and dusted. Had a really nice time catching up with friends not seen over the summer, and the day wasn’t too intense – well received, I must say. In the evening the ‘Science Museum Lates’ was being held, that a friend of mine was helping out at. It was great fun. Essentially you are partaking in research projects that are deemed ‘fun’, for example one lady was conducting research into the senses and was asking people to mould any shape they wanted to out of clay, but they had to be blindfolded. Another involved judging whether a face was ‘trustworthy’ or ‘aggressive’ with the ultimate (perhaps strange) result of predicting your loneliness. Alcohol was also available so you could take tests when under the influence to see how that changed you! It’s held on the last Wednesday of every month.

On the 29th it was Fresher’s Fayre and I unscrupulously got what I could out of the free Celebrations and Roses on offer. Consequently my email account soon exploded with all the new societies I’d signed up to. Needless to say, I do want to make the most of this year and I hope that signing up will aide this! On the 30th I went to a ‘Ceilidh’ which is a type of Irish dance. Absolutely amazing fun, a great way to relieve stress and try something new (although this was my second time since I enjoyed the first so much). It’s a real ‘merry jig’ type of dance with fiddles and drums and guitars – you could very much imagine it taking place in the highlands of Ireland, and Scotland (I believe it also has a presence there) and a great escape from being in the centre of a huge city. The weekend has been mainly work orientated (I’ve done perilously little, despite this aim) but I did go with the ‘photography society’ to a walk around Regent’s park which was terrific. The whether was absolutely baking hot and it was tremendous to see everyone out enjoying themselves, much like The Green Park. Today I was much the same but I did try out ‘Chin-Chin Laboratories’ which is an ice cream shop in Camden with a difference – the ice cream is made using liquid nitrogen. The result, apparently, is an ice cream with no ice crystals since they have no time to form and hence a deliciously smooth taste. It was pretty special watching it being made and it didn’t taste half-bad either. Lamenting the working week ahead, but had best get on with it!

22nd – 27th September, 2011

I’m back! A hectic few days of moving in, I must say. I left you last Wednesday. Thursday involved moving in and unpacking all the remaining belongings and setting up one particularly cursed desk. For what seemed like hours my mother and I slaved over the cursed thing trying to screw in nuts and bolts to get it to stand up straight, but after a week of use it still seems to be standing, somehow.

My room is looking nice and homely, in fact, and I’m glad that nothing has gone drastically wrong. On Thursday evening I caught the train to see my girlfriend and we had a very enjoyable few days together. She had had a chance to learn the ropes of the city and we wondered round, sorted out many things that needed sorting, watched a film and ate ice-cream. An idyllic few days! I got back on the Saturday evening whence we played a round of Monopoly and watched the classic Ice Age. Another very pleasant evening with some lovely flatmates.

On Sunday I was feeling a twang of home-sickness blues and decided to wonder around where I live, but then decided to go further afield, to Green Park, and I can’t tell you how happy I am because of that decision. It was a particularly sunny day in London on Sunday and many people were out, enjoying themselves with picnics, deck chairs and ball-games. The sun caught the green of the trees and the lusciousness of the thick grass beautifully and I couldn’t help but beaming myself, the whole way through the park. I simply loved seeing all the happy faces and the activity and the fact that I could scarcely tell I was in the centre of England’s capital. It was a pure delight. I pottered on to Buckingham Palace and poked my nose over St James’ park (my favourite) and then strolled down to Oxford street and browsed the shops. It was the perfect way to spend the day, and I am infinitely glad I did not stay inside and mope.

In the evening I met some freshers and showed them the ropes of the university I’m at. I hope the could relate to some of the fears I had when I started, and that they were somewhat quenched.

On Monday we were paid a visit by an engineer who was to install our line for us, however we didn’t end up getting broadband until Tuesday. Despite the hassle I am very glad I’ve been able to get up-to-date with emails and the rest of it. In the evening I went to a delightful event at the Barbican Theatre entitled ‘Stephen Fry – A Classical Affair’. Unsurprisingly it featured the man in the title as well as the creative director of the hugely successful ClassicFM a moderator by the name of Sir David Tang and an exquisite pianist who I had not heard before, James Rhodes. The event played out with James starting the proceedings with a piece and the rest discussing it briefly, but mainly focusing on classical music as a whole and where it’s going. It wasn’t an event where you are particularly taught much, per se, but it was very interesting to hear the views of some very intelligent men. There was some quasi-Question Time involvement form the audience whereby we were able to ask the four questions, and it was nice to feel involved in the event. I came out enlightened and, I think, with a better appreciation for the music as well as a long list to listen to.

Today I went to an event involving free cake, with friendly people, in a park. Need I say more? It was awesome. I then pottered in the local bookstore and got some equipment for bookmaking (wool and paper) which I may do tonight.

Lectures start tomorrow (groan), but I’m still trying to maintain that positive outlook!

20th – 21st September, 2011

Not much to report over these two days. I’ve been testing out my tablet as a device to take anatomy notes and it has worked well. I open a hefty photoshop document and can write as if it were paper – except I have every colour, size and shape of any artistic implement I could wish for! So I may make it a regular tool for revision. It does, however, mean looking at a screen for more time, which is best avoided if possible, I feel.

Other than that I’ve just been milling around on the internet or just enjoying my last few days of the summer break, which really has been fantastic. I’m so glad I’ve made this blog, and I will continue to post – though I may struggle for content somewhat! Hopefully not, because if it has taught me anything it’s that I should make the most of all the days I am fortunate enough to live in. As a matter of fact, I have discovered a website called ‘Time Out – London’. It lists a huge amount, 101 in all, of things to do in London – from walks in hidden parks to flower markets, learning to create cocktails to visiting a liquid-nitrogen ice cream shop. It is my intention to do at least one of these activities per week, so hopefully they should be of interest to blog about. Today I did make some scones and had my first lottery ticket bought for me. Here’s hoping I’ll be a millionaire come Saturday!

I move in properly tomorrow and will be without internet until Monday. I will be visiting my girlfriend over the weekend and getting settled in, I very much look forward to telling you all about it then.

Stay safe!

15th – 19th September, 2011

On the fifteenth my girlfriend came round early and we decided to make a cake from the delightful book accompanying this series of the BBC’s Great British Bake Off. We chose ‘Bakewell Cup Cakes’ which, whilst tasting very nice indeed, were nothing like actual Bakewells! Still, it was great fun making them, complete with glacé cherry on top!

We then went for a walk in the evening, visiting our favourite road in town – a small country road tucked away but containing some of the most beautiful houses around. Exquisite, thatched cottages, moss covered red-brick houses with wonkey roofs and, to top it off, a quaint pub! It’s a delight to walk down and spy the beautiful gardens and flowers. We pottered home for tea and then decided to bring a game to the pub and enjoy a drink, it was delightful. Several games of an old fashioned Mastermind box later we headed home with a smile.

On the sixteenth we headed down to my girlfriend’s house to do final preparations for her trip to university! It was strange, she thought, to see her life in possessions all contained into a few boxes in the back of the car. Needless to say it took an expected ‘longer than expected’ time to pack it all and we headed to bed.

And so the big day came! Driving to the university took some considerable time due to traffic, and upon stopping for a break at the motorway services we did spot a lot of other studenty faces, with equally packed cars. Other than the length of the journey it was unremarkable. The moving in went very smoothly and my girlfriend was very happy with the place indeed. The city is much nicer than anticipated, plenty of greenery – I thought it looked more like a very large town, and full of very nice looking old buildings with a not clashing mix of clean, new ones- perfect. Her flatmates were all very friendly and, according to reports, all is going swimmingly.

Her mother and I headed back, which was another long trip, so by the end of it we’d cumulated a lot of driving hours. Needless to say when I got back it hit me a bit and I was sad to feel the pang of emptiness. However, it’s been strengthening to speak to her on the phone regularly, that night, in fact and I will head up to see her again before too long (:

On the eighteenth I partook in a walking event that was a bit of a distance to get to but really, really enjoyable. It was an eighteen mile walk, I do really enjoy walking as you might gather by my signing up to something like that, but I wasn’t feeling too joyous due to the recent move-out of my girlfriend, but no sooner than 5 steps in I got chatting to some really friendly people who were forrestors and they told me all about the scenery they managed, and we walked through it on the walk. We saw some great sites, including the PM’s out of office house – Chequers! Having the company did help lift my mood and I thoroughly enjoyed the time. Sore feet afterward, though!

Today has been a strange day, it actually started at 1am when we nearly had a trip to A&E due to my brother having a serious gut pain. But it subsided as soon as it started and he said he was okay just as we were starting the car. A visit to the doctors tomorrow won’t go astray. However, upon waking I went out with my parent to Costa, which was very enjoyable but the rest of the day seems to have disintegrated into nothing, which is a great shame. I have been looking, for the first time, at the dreaded time table for next year and it looks pretty full. I am slightly lamenting it but I’m sure once I get started it won’t be so bad. I guess it’s a sign I’ve really and truly enjoyed the summer so far! Started a bit of anatomy work, because I think that’s going to hit me hard come term time so it’ll be good to hit some of it back earlier!

Speak to you soon!


11th September & Whitstable Camp (12 – 14th)

I can’t for the life of me recall what happened on the 11th other than going to my girlfriend’s house in preparation for her birthday on the 12th. It is odd how you can completely forget an entire day, worrying really.

However, after giving gifts I unscrupulously left on my lady’s special day (I’m sorry!) to go off camping in the seaside town of Whitstable. My mother was going down with two of her old college friends to stay in a house and I was to stay in a campsite, which was run by a dear couple who were so accommodating. They’re still there and I only stayed two nights but it was so pleasant. It really took you away from everything, you could taste the salt in the sea air and hear the sound of the gulls just as you left the train station. This wonderful pocket of south east England is only 1.5 hours from King’s Cross! I can’t think of a larger contrast, but I will remember I can escape easily for a weekend, if the opportunity lends itself.

On the first morning I got up bright and early in and ventured out into the bitter cold. Before I went I had printed out some walks and this particular one took you through the nearby town of Seasalter and was intended for birdwatchers. I must say I can’t really think of a nicer way to start ones day than wondering in an old Churchyard of an XI century church surrounded by the chatterings, tweets and chirrups of a plethora of birds. It truly was an idyllic experience. I thought it couldn’t get much better but I ended up walking to the coast and walking down the beach comprised of shingle and I heard the gulls and saw the ships at low tide, the wonderful beach huts and one or two friendly walkers. That alone made me so glad I came.

Then I went to the house my mother and her friends were staying at and we did some crafts, book making, to be precise with a special Japanese method of book-binding. They make good gifts and I hope my girlfriend will forgive me leaving her on her birthday with a belated gift! We had lunch on the beach and then did some shopping in the afternoon, followed by Scrabble in the evening! Not something you’d necessarily expect someone of my age to do, but I really did enjoy it thoroughly!

Today I went and met up with them in a small town called Tankerton and we pottered around the shops and went into a café with the wonderful name of ‘The Cakery’. Sadly, soon after that, it was time for me to leave Whitstable but I certainly want to go back – there’s still so much to do and it’s such a pleasant hideaway if ever you need to escape from it all.

Time to sort out photos!

7th – 10th September, 2011

The seventh was spent as a rather ‘general’ day keeping up with remedial tasks. A day I perhaps should have made more of, at least it’s been identified! One thing that I did manage was to finish Sebastian Faulks’ Birdsong. An incredible read that really makes you think about the sacrifices the soldiers made for us, and almost makes you feel you ought not waste a day for their sake.

Fortunately the rest were somewhat more productive. On the Thursday I went to Cambridge to visit my Grandfather and ate at the wonderfully named ‘Tatties’ – despite this name, I did not indulge in a potato. We chatted and he completed his cryptic crossword. It amazes me how much he knows and how switched on he is in his late eighties. He’s a remarkable gentleman. I had a quick look around the nice shopping centre there and then it was time to head home, ready for the big ‘move in’ on Friday.

We trundled down to London, happy that we could go when we wanted and not in the rush hour. Waiting around on a journey can make it seem so much more labourious, I feel. We packed all my possessions into the car from my halls and put them into the new flat I’m staying at. This being the first time I’d seen it cleaned and with a fresh coat of paint, I must say I’m very happy with it. It’ll be a pleasant place to live for the coming few months, or even years.

Today we worked on our Gibson’s jigsaw (more on that in a later blog, it’s proving a challenge!) and then I made some strawberry jam (I was all too happy to see the English strawberries still in Tescos – and on offer). My small indulgence also arrived, a graphics tablet I’d purchased. It’s definitely helped my digital art from the first few things I’ve did. Of course, they’re no good, but I think they’re a tad better than what was there beforehand! At any rate I enjoyed relaxing with it and taking part in the therapeutic activity that is art and I hope the tablet will continue to provide that when I need a break from the steady hammer that medicine can sometimes be.