strange_complex: (La Dolce Vita Trevi)
I'd never been on a hen-do before yesterday, and I don't think my introduction to the tradition was entirely a typical one either. But I enjoyed myself enormously marking [livejournal.com profile] ms_siobhan's impending nuptials.

Gathering in York )

Afternoon tea )

Evening dinner )

Drunken but charming emo boy )

Sunday leisure )

ETA: Oh, by the way - did anyone who was in the restaurant find a purple scarf when you left? I'm pretty sure I left it on the floor by my chair. No worries if not - I think it only cost 99p in the first place. But it was deliciously soft and fluffy and a very lovely shade of purple... :-(

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strange_complex: (Tonino reading)
I'm going to Bristol tomorrow, and need to be there before 10am. I'd quite assumed I would need to catch a train at about 8am, possibly a shade earlier. But, thanks to a rather tedious gap in the timetable, I shall in fact have to catch one at 07:06 tomorrow morning. It's either that, or wait until 08:45, and be late for the thing I'm going to. *grumble*

Still, it will all be worth it, 'cos what I am going to is a day-long workshop at Bristol University's English Department, focussing on Diana Wynne Jones' book, Howl's Moving Castle. There'll be a morning discussion led by a member of the English dept, and then a lunch-time panel featuring Diana herself in conversation with three other authors also being covered by the day, and an afternoon session in which we get to ask her questions. I've never met her before, and am very excited. Any suggestions for questions to ask her are welcome! Shall be frantically re-reading Howl on the train tomorrow morning, and trying to think of a few goods ones of my own...

And, as if that's not enough, afterwards I shall be hooking up with my oldest friend, Amy WINOLJ, to spend the rest of the weekend with her and her cute-as-buttons daughter, Holly. There'll be a street barbecue happening, going out for food and drinks in the evening, and, of course, a scheduled slot for Doctor Who! Little Holly is already watching this with her Mum, at the tender age of nearly two - and she could hardly not be, since Mum is a former Bristol DocSoc president! Apparently, Holly doesn't much like the Ood, and needs reassuring that all is OK. But I think that will kind of add to the fun, bringing back memories of when Amy and I used to get scared by our Dads pretending to be various Dr. Who monsters. After all, what was Bristol's DocSoc officially called, if not 'Behind the Sofa'?

Yup, should be a good weekend.

Commuting

Tuesday, 17 January 2006 12:48
strange_complex: (Penny Farthing)
I can, on occasion, be heard complaining about the three-hour round trip I have to do when I go in to work at Warwick for the day. But, y'know, it's not all bad.

For one thing, the journey time is actually only about quarter of an hour longer than it would take to drive to Warwick from where I live, assuming good driving conditions. This is partly a factor of me living so close to the station, but hey! I do live very close to the station. That's the way it is, so I may as well take advantage of it. Taking into account the smugness I can feel about my environmental friendliness and the utter absence of driving stress, the slightly longer journey time is easily compensated for. Also, in the morning, the trains are extremely reliable, so that I'm not at the mercy of traffic, and don't need to blow my top about whether I'll arrive in time for my lectures or not. This is not the case on the way home, which can be extremely irritating when you've had a long day and just want to crash. But I've learnt to be philosophical about it, and I'd certainly rather they were unreliable on the return leg than the outwards one.

There is also the matter of my morning cup of coffee, which I purchase with great enjoyment from the AMT kiosk in the station, and then sip dreamily as I sit in my favourite seat (all regular commuters have one), gazing out of the window across an early-morning countryside. That coffee really cheers me up, in that disproportionate way that only the small things can. It's the main reason, in fact, that I leave the house with a spring in my step when I go to catch my train. It's sweet, and flavoursome, and always served just right and quickly enough for me to make the 8:00. It sets me up, and sends me off on my journey with a positive note. It is also frequently served to me by a very good-looking young fellow called Ruben, who likes to give me a charming smile and ask how I am each day. I do not actually fancy Ruben, but it does a girl no harm in the morning to be gently flirted at by an attractive gentleman who is also giving her coffee.

But best of all, once on the train, my time is my own. I can sit back and relax, I can get work done, and I can enjoy the charmingly English landscape which slides by on either side. I see some genuinely beautiful sights out of that train window, which I would be sad to miss. For example, in the last fortnight:
  • Pale pink sunrises through the haze
  • Stark, silhouetted tree-tops emerging from successive layers of mist, retreating back layer by layer into the distance
  • Sparkling, frosty fields which look for all the world as though they're made of sugar-icing
  • A sole swan lazing around on a perfect oxbow lake
  • Three deer tip-toeing delicately through a field
  • A fox nosing around in undergrowth
  • A group of cows with two little calves (quite a surprise in January, but there they were - a nice precursor to the lambs who will appear in another few months)
  • Hearty people walking their dogs who allow me to think, "Gosh, I'm glad I'm curled up on a warm train with my coffee, and not out there yomping through the fields like you!"
  • And of course all the usual sheep, horses, cows, canal boats, rural churches and ruined abbeys that I normally see on that route
Yup, it could definitely be worse.

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