Thursday February 9th-Thursday February 16th
On Thursday, I went to class and then the grocery store. Specifically I went to the bigger Lidl, which is further away, but has better stuff. The distance became a problem, however, when the self-service machine wouldn’t take my £10 note, which meant that I had to spend all my change to pay for my groceries. That, combined with the change I was going to get from the £10 note, was supposed to be my bus fare, so I had to walk a little (a Lidl?) under a mile to get home. It was unpleasant.
I had a policy at Hampshire that I should never go into town without bus fare for two trips. Even though most of the buses are free for students, I’ve ended up on ones I’ve had to pay for in Northampton. Here, where I have to pay for all the buses, I should be strictly adhering to that rule. I was depending on the change from the £10 bill, and the coins I had with me, to come out to £1.60 in one way or another. So when it didn’t happen, I had no backup option. From now on, unless I absolutely can’t manage it, I’m going to try to make sure I always have bus fare both ways when I go out.
On Friday, I planned to go to the Botanical Garden for realsies, but I was sick; I thought about going on Saturday, but it was rainy, which makes my joints hurt. There was also a follow-up protest against the Muslim ban on Saturday. I knew I shouldn’t go, because I was in pretty bad shape for a long time after the last one, but I felt guilty when I thought about not going. Still, with my aching joints, I decided to stay home. I really hope this Botanical Garden thing doesn’t become a running joke. Maybe I’ll make it on Sunday?
It rained again on Sunday. I didn’t make it. Then I was sick on Monday, which was boring.
I had to run lots of errands on Tuesday, because I had things planned on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. I had time around the events I was planning to go to that I could use for errands, but that’s the problem with chronic illness. You can have all the time in the world, but no energy. In the morning, I went to the post office to mail a letter to my best friend. I had to put two stamps on, which I wasn’t expecting. I thought about doing my other errands (over on Princes Street) before class, but I’d be cutting it too close. So I trundled off to class, picking up that prescription from last week on my way.
I was planning on going to Princes Street immediately after class, but I couldn’t find the bus stop near the uni. See, one of the errands was refilling my phone account–I started on the 14th of January, so I needed to go back on the 14th of February. Problem is, since I hadn’t paid for the next month yet, my phone wasn’t working on data. I thought I’d sorted everything out on the wifi in my room, but it crapped out once I was walking around and I couldn’t figure out where to go from the blurry photos I’d taken of the map on my computer.
(Listen, I maintain that I have an excellent sense of direction. The problem is that I’m not as good at the other things involved in navigation. Ask me what direction my room is from somewhere else in the city? I can point to it. Ask me what streets to take to get there? I have no idea. Maybe I should take to carrying a compass and a paper map, just in case.)
So I went back to my room and decided to set out from there, since I know how to get to the stops in that area pretty well by now. I made it to most of my errands, but didn’t manage to go to the grocery store–I need to get the materials to bake myself a birthday cake this week!
Since it was Valentine’s day, and I walked past someone selling flowers, I got something for myself.
[Image description: one photo of a single orange rose in a glass mug, on a shelf in front of some books.]
On Wednesday evening, I went to a lecture that was hosted by LangSoc. I was kinda tired, so I don’t remember much more than the main point, which is that people are saying “um” more these days in the places where people used to say “uh”. (It was more complicated than that, but I don’t feel like summarizing all of it.) Afterwards, a bunch of the people went to a pub, along with the lecturer. It was the same pub (Southside Social) the murder mystery thing was at–I think that may just be the Linguistics pub? It’s funny I ended up going there before I joined LangSoc. I got a cider, because I wanted to drink alcohol here before I turned twenty-one so that I could feel like I was getting away with something. (My 21st birthday was the day after that. I’m an expert in procrastination.) I was so worried about the alcohol messing with my heart that I forgot that apple juice and cider make me really sick to my stomach, so that was unpleasant. But other than that, I was fine!
Thursday–my birthday!–was nasty, weather-wise. It was really windy, and then it started to rain in the afternoon. Much more the sort of weather I was warned about. It’s been quite* nice here, at least compared to what it was like when I left Connecticut. I accidentally packed my flimsy umbrella instead of my sturdy one, so with the wind I didn’t dare to use it, but luckily even though the rain was blowing around, it wasn’t too heavy. And it’s still better than the snow I’ve been seeing pictures of back home! I like cold weather, but I don’t relish the thought of wading through that. Other than that, things were fine; I went to classes and then bought myself fish and chips from my favorite restaurant for dinner. I don’t tend to advertise that it’s my birthday, since I don’t want people to feel obligated to do anything for me–especially since I’m not close with anyone here, so it would just be awkward if they felt like that! And the one time I did talk about it being my birthday while I was in college, I was horribly disappointed by a certain awful someone. (This is the same person who almost ruined my skillet.)
Then, in the evening, I got to make use of the birthday present I’d bought myself–a ticket to see The Winter’s Tale! Not only am I a Shakespeare nerd, but I was actually in a production of The Winter’s Tale. Well, the first half. It was someone’s Div III and he put the first and second halves on as separate productions to highlight how different they are. I was only in the first half–I played Camillo, Emilia, Dion, and the Shepherd. (We had a small cast.) It was interesting to see which things were the same and which were different. Their Camillo was a woman–when I played Camillo, we went for a more ambiguous gender because we felt that Leontes didn’t like women enough to have one be his closest confidant. They also had the actor for Mamillius double for the bear, like we did, although our Mamillius was actually just the director on his knees and he pulled his hoodie up over his face to be the bear. Amusingly, this Shepherd also snuck in the same rude gesture that I did for the one scene I played him.
There were a ton of differences, though–they modernized the script a lot, and completely changed a lot of the Bohemian dialogue to very rural Scots, because the play was set in different parts of Scotland. (I couldn’t understand a lot of that dialogue.) They also skipped or rearranged a number of scenes that I liked. That being said, I loved the production. I thought they made a lot of good choices (especially regarding Mamillius who is probably the most screwed-over character) and the sets were amazing. I thought it was mostly a good modernization of Shakespeare, because as much as I believe that Shakespeare is timeless, there are a lot of truly awful modernizations out there. One thing that was awkward was that we know that Perdita is sixteen after the timeskip, and Florizel is probably something like five years older than her? That’s really awkward in modern times, even if Google has just informed me that the age of consent is sixteen here.
Overall, I thought the actors were really good, but I did have a few gripes. Their Paulina acted well but seemed a little off. Her emotions were well done, but it didn’t feel like she had any connection to the other characters. I thought the Paulina from my half was better, although that may just be because I will never forget her holding a sword to our Leontes’s throat. (I don’t remember the Paulina from the second half since I only saw the one performance.) Their Camillo (Camilla) was excellent, but I felt like she rushed through some of her most important speeches. Their Perdita was lovely and went in a different direction from what I remember of the one in the second half at Hampshire. (Perdita in the first half was an onion wrapped in some cloths, as she was still a baby. Yes, I had to coo nonsense at an onion. It was fun.) The Hampshire Perdita was quieter, while this one was a bit of a bratty teenager, in an entertaining and sympathetic way. I thought the Leonteses and Hermiones were equal; their Hermione was so good at being a statue that I wondered if they had made an incredibly realistic statue and the actual actress was just going to walk on from offstage at the reveal. And for the record, I’m not just being pompous, comparing a no-budget production staged in the Dakin Living Room to a professional production with fancy sets in a real theatre. I do think that ours was good enough to compare to this.
Also, Florizel dabbed at one point.
*And I mean that in the U.S. way, not the U.K. one! Here, “quite” is sort of a “damning with faint praise” thing, which I’d known before I showed up but then forgotten until an American teacher brought it up with me as something she’s had a lot of problems with.