Over the weekend we housemates managed to hop on a train out of town down to Lyme Regis. Spent most of my time on the beach and enjoyed chatting up fishermen and fossil hunters. Saw three rainbows.
What with my seminar schedule this term I am finding I have a lot of spare time on Tuesdays. So far this is getting entirely taken up with baking and cooking for the week ahead. Tuesday’s muffins were an odd combination of white chocolate, pear, and balsamic vinegar. Perhaps overambitious. They actually tasted savoury, so an addition of cornmeal might have pulled it all together. I also made minestrone. It is rather heavy on the noodles and has turned into stew rather than soup, but it tastes quite good. Cook’s Illustrated has never failed me yet. There in the kitchen all afternoon listening to the News From Lake Wobegon, I finally figured it out. Wait, wait… don’t tell me! If you mix a freewheelin’ Garrison Keillor with a ravelry search and a dash of both Julie & Julia and hopefully the Vinyl Cafe, you’d get my rambling thoughts.
At 6 o’clock while walking back from the grocery store last night I noticed it was pitch dark and I felt nearly ready for bed. The nights draw in quickly and I keep reminding myself London is nearly as far north as Prince George.
A couple weeks ago my father was able to detour through London with work. We determined to visit the Prime Meridian! Greenwich means time. The Greenwich Observatory is up a steep hill which rewards with a charming view down to the Thames. I’d like to return to sketch it all, as its a lovely spot. Both being cheapskates we decided against a photoshoot straddling the actual line, instead wandering around the excellent National Maritime Museum. This was a silly decision as photos are of course the aim of any outing and we had to take ours with some fancy clock on a wrought iron fence outside. The main lawn on the grounds still held the aluminum frame of an Olympic scale stadium. It was beautifully skeletal, perfectly engineered and endlessly re-assemble-able. I also considered the now-out-of-work-designers, the team of contract workers, and the soulless suburban storage unit… but there is no winning that argument with myself.
The park was full of Sunday morning joggers, hornbeam, and beech. Since we weren’t paying for the pleasure of entering the site, I was able to linger in admiration of the symmetry at Christopher Wren’s Old Royal Naval college. I was struck by the statue of James Wolfe, a figure from Canadian history of whom I was woefully ignorant and whereby my knowledge of the history of Quebec happily received a refresher. I must be American by now, as it is consistently a surprise to me how often Canada pops up here. The marble gates round Buckingham Palace are even inscribed with the Canadian provinces! A favourite thing about my school so far is its relative diversity, for an elite institution of higher learning, especially the frequency with which I meet Canadians. When someone asks me whether I am Canadian or American, my pat line is that I’m 100% both. I hope that doesn’t clear things up much.
In this kind of environment we all spend a lot of time introducing ourselves and explaining things, and I wonder whether this actually forces honesty. If I could hear a thousand recordings of myself, would I believe it anymore? Good thing I keep meeting new people.
And now, back to China’s Modernization in the Nineteenth Century.