Saturday, 22 January 2011


Blue sky through two arched windows
It has been a rollercoaster ride over the last few days, which have been crammed full to the brim with activities, leading to this post being a day late.

At the end of Wednesday, I was in rather a splendid mood. The unpleasantness of insurance and cleaning and the evil dental hygienist had faded, and Mr A and I went snowboarding again, this time using vouchers that gave us three hours on the slope plus a cup of tea or coffee and a biscuit, for just £5 each. The fuel to get us there and back probably cost more.

I did fall over a lot, though, until I asked for tips from one of the staff (who are available for informal advice on this super discount session) and then I fell over less. I think we will go again next Wednesday morning, even if we do have to pay a bit more than £5. I am REALLY looking forward to our holiday, when the slopes will be wider and longer and the snow deeper and more comfortable to land on.

We came back from the Snowdome just in time for my routine blood donation appointment. More crossing-off the To Do List. I accumulated viewings of accommodation in GNT (godforsaken northern town) ready for my excursion there at the weekend, and then it was time for the last part of my coursework, when my supervisor and another lecturer quizzed me about my research project.

It went very well, and afterwards I had a meeting with my supervisor, who is also my tutor for the clinical placement in GNT. She told me that the university is putting pressure on departments to earn research income, and because there seems to be nothing going on in the area of my research, perhaps this would be a good one to follow up, and that I would clearly be in a good position to carry out any projects that might arise.

I would love to carry on with this research, but at the moment I think that after I graduate I need to get some clinical experience under my belt. Having said that, I would also be very keen to follow up on the research that I've done, so doing each of them part time might be feasible. Nothing is certain, though, and although that conversation was only two days ago, it seems very distant. At this point, I felt great.

One of the potential landlords contacted me to ask if I could see his room sooner than the weekend. With a little creative thinking on the part of Mr A, it became clear that I could go north after the Thursday meeting, so I arranged two room viewings. The one that I thought was most promising turned out to be nothing of the sort, and the backup plan that I thought wasn't going to be any good turned out very well indeed, to the point where I thought that the accommodation situation was sorted.

I stayed over in GNT, working on an OUP book review in the evening, and then arranged to drop some forms off at the dietetic department next day, so now at least I know where it is. Despite the freezing cold, and the smart clothes that offer less protection from the elements than my normal casual wear, I decided to explore the town centre, and visited the Tourist Information office, the Travel Information office, and the markets. I like a market, and there were splendid food stalls as well as grand architecture. The pictured fish stall is fairly standard, but of the offal stall, I only recognised the tripe. Cow heel, chitterling pipes, pressed chitterlings, pig bag and brawn are not items that I have ever dealt with. These GNT residents are clearly folk with traditional tastes and hardy stomachs.

Still feeling good, I came back to a night out with the (old, fat) ex-badminton crew and associated hangers-on. We went to the Cricketers, they looked after us beautifully, and in return we cleaned our plates - the chef there is really very good. We even hosted a sleepover, although after my exertions over the past few days I wasn't up to much late night conversation, and Mr A retired even earlier than I did. New bee fact from my favourite Bee Lady: you should label your honey according to where the pollen came from, so that allergy sufferers can buy honey that is unlikely to cause them problems. And a supplementary fact: you can transport your bees from one place to another inside their hives in a domestic car.

The low point came on Saturday morning, when I finally received a message from the GNT landlord I had expected to be renting from, informing me that he was going to rent the house to someone else. So it was back to square one again, and after an interlude of badminton which served to raise my spirits, it was back to the rent-a-room websites for another soul-destroying search. I now have another couple of options, one of which looks promising, but I'm not holding my breath. There and back tomorrow, and if nothing comes of it I'll settle for the hospital accommodation and look for something better while I'm there.

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