Saturday, October 30, 2010

End of Week Four

This week was ok, nothing special really until the Halloween party tonight. The trains between Stratford and Birmingham were down so getting to class on Wednesday was a bit tricky, but we pulled it off.

Yesterday morning I went to a weekly performance workshop at the Institute. During the warm ups I decided to do the leg lifts from my dance class in college.....bad idea. I didn't notice until I was playing futbol, but my hips are killing me now. I almost got a taxi yesterday to take me home 5 blocks. But this morning I am ok. Then I went home and read before going to futbol. My team lost.....again.

I went to the Attic Theatre to see Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde last night. It is a community theatre in town. I am going to see if they need electricians for the rest of the season.

Tonight is the Halloween party at my friends' house. I am going as Desdemona's handkerchief.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


I moved into my apartment three days ago. It is a small one bedroom with the bedroom being a mezzanine upstairs and everything else down stairs. It is in a walled area directly across from Holy Trinity Church, where Shakespeare is buried along with most of his family. I am in one of eight units that partially surround a central courtyard (called a close). You can see the spire of the church, which is about 800 years old, from my front window.

And that brings me to the bells. Holy Trinity has a series of bells that are rung every day, especially on Sunday morning. I woke up at 7.45 this morning to the sound of bells, and they have gone off three times since, each time for about 15 or 20 minutes. Thankfully though I am enjoying it, at least for now.

I played and lost futbol on Friday (I am beginning to think I am bad luck, but at least I have good time playing). I have been working on a paper all this weekend for my Social and Cultural History of Renaissance England class; it is going well and I may have to actually cut it down, as it is getting long (there is a 2,000 word limit).

My friend who lives in Birmingham is going to be staying with me most of next week, as the train line between here and there will be closed for maintenance.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention: I tried out for the Shakespeare Institute Players' production of The Comedy of Errors, and I am Antipholus of Ephesus (or is it Syracuse, I think Ephesus, I always mix them up......they are identical twins separated at birth).

Saturday, October 16, 2010

How to Heat Soup in a B&B

So let's say you want to heat up soup, but you are living in a Bed and Breakfast with no access to a stove, and only an electric kettle to heat anything with. What is a poor grad student to do?Well here is how you do it in 4 easy steps.
Step 1) Cut off the top of a clean plastic coke bottle. Fill 3/4 full with soup (this also works well with curry sauce).

Step 2) Fill your electric kettle to the max line with water and boil.

Step 4) Now here is the tricky part. Turn off your kettle and float the plastic coke bottle in the water. Make sure you do not leave any soup on the sides of the bottle, or else you have a mess to clean up. This will also be the moment when you find out if you over filled the coke bottle. Now close the lid and wait.

Step 4) Remove from kettle and ENJOY!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Night Football

Just thought I would let you all know that I played futbol again today, and I am getting better at it. Even though I am terrified of getting control of the ball, mostly because I know I will kick in the wrong direction, I am pretty good at using my considerable bulk to block the ball. I was able to hit the ball with my head twice (once by accident and I didn't know it was coming my way, quite a surprise). Attached is a picture of some one hitting a ball with their head, it is not me (obviously) but trust me, it was just as extreme and awesome, if not more so.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pictures from Canterbury

I just uploaded pictures form Canterbury, here are some of them.

This is the site of the old shrine to St. Thomas a Beckett before it was destroyed by the reformation.

The cathedral at sunset.

This is the Martyrdom of St. Thomas a Beckett; the site where we was murdered. St. Thomas stood up to Henry II and eventually three knights of the king attacked him in the cathedral, slicing the top of his head off and smearing his brains on the floor. (That is a VERY simplified version of the story)

Another view of the old Beckett Shrine. In the back (not the one surrounded by a metal gate) is the tomb of a French Catholic Bishop who came to England to help French Protestants. He died in England and his family refused to take his body back since he was a heretic for helping Protestants, so he has been in the cathedral ever since.

This is of the main altar from the quire. The chair barely visible behind the altar cross is the arch-episcopal cathedra, the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury when he is attending services as the Archbishop and not just as the Bishop.

The sixth is a picture of the nave facing the altar.

This was the place for the shrine of the crown. The top of Thomas' skull was preserved and placed in a shrine in this chapel at the eastern end of the nave.

This is the entrance from the nave into the quire.

I think this is my favorite Cathedral in England.

The First Two Weeks

The last two weeks have been fun and busy. Last Thursday I went to our first Thursday seminar and then to a group play reading of the Middleton play 'A Chaste Maid in Cheapside' and then to the pub afterwards. On Friday I decided to butch it up a bit and go play futbol (I have to spell it the Spanish way or else I feel like I confuse myself....this is futbol as in soccer). My team almost won, if it jut wasn't for those last 15 minutes. Saturday and Sunday were pretty boring; I worked in the library and hung out with a few friends. It turns out that Stratford-Upon-Avon's nightlife makes Ashland's nightlife seem like New York City. It is that dead at night, even on the weekends.

On Monday and Tuesday Stratford had The Mop Fair. It is kind of like those traveling carnival fairs in the parking lots back home, but bigger, more expensive, and relatively safer. It was started over 500 years ago as an employment fair. After the harvest all of the workers, who were only employed for a year, would gather in the town holding their work implements (like mops) in the air, displaying what their trade was. Two week later all the employed people who did not like their new masters would run away to the Runway Mop Fair; so in two weeks we will be having the Runaway Mop. A few friends and I went. I went on a ride that was like the zipper meets the scream tower at the Puyallup Fair. I ate chips and curry and walked around for a little while.

I turned in an application for an apartment across the street from the church where Shakespeare is buried. I hope I hear back from the letting agent by tomorrow morning so I can move in tomorrow and not have to pay for the next week here at the B&B.

I spent all day in Birmingham at lectures and the library, I don't know how the girls who live there travel back and forth everyday. I have play reading tonight, in about 2 hours, we are reading 'Arden of Faversham'. Tomorrow night is futbol....hopefully we will win this week. We also picked the play for the Institute Players, it will be The Comdey of Errors. I plan on auditioning.

Well hopefully I will update this more often so people don't have to remind me. I will try to attach some pictures from The Mop.

Monday, October 4, 2010


We had a meeting with all new students this morning. I found out that the abbreviation for my course (MA Shakespeare, Stratford-Upon-Avon and the Cultural History of Renaissance England) is MASSCHRE, or as we call it 'Massacre'. The lecturer said 'But don't worry, we wont be massacring anyone......this isn't Paris.' I looked around and everyone got the joke. That kind of confirmed that I was in the right place.

(In case you don't know, Christopher Marlowe (a contemporary of Shakespeare) wrote a play called THE MASSACRE AT PARIS, a play about the Catholic massacre of thousands of French Huguenots (Protestants) in the 1550s.)

I had lunch with some other students before we had out first meeting with our Tutor at the Institute. There are only 7 of us in the MASSCHRE program, and only 2 of us are full time. Four of the others are older, and the others are in our 20s.

I found out that since my degree is an interdisciplinary degree I have class every Wednesday morning/afternoon in Birmingham at the main campus (about an hour away) and every other Wednesday afternoon for a lecture, but the Institute will reimburse me for the train expense.

I am looking at moving out of the B and B I am at, even though I thought about staying here indefinitely. It turns out that most of the students who want room mates already have them, so I may have to move out on my own or look for a room mate that isn't a student. I just know that living here will never really feel like my place, and I will feel like I am invading their space when I use the kitchen or what ever. I also cannot get a phone plan (just a pay as you go) and possibly not a bank account until I have an address where I am on the lease. I need to figure out how much money I get for this term to see how much I can afford.

Classes begin tomorrow.

First Three Days in Strratford-Upon-Avon

I arrived in Stratford four days ago and have almost finished settling in. When I got to the B and B the owner recognized me from 2 years ago, which was a nice surprise. After doing some unpacking I walked to Morrison's to get some groceries and other things for my room. I didn't really do much hat night.

On Saturday I woke up and walked down to the center of town to walk around. I got a cell phone, made an appointment at the bank to open an account (apparently you have to make an appointment for that kind of stuff here) and then looked around for a gym. I was told that there are a lot of gyms in the town center, but I couldn't find one. Since most of the town was built over 300 years ago, and a lot of it is much older, it can be hard to actually see the names of the shops and companies, which makes finding stores kind of difficult. I did find the Leisure Centre and had a tour of the gym, but it cost 30 pounds a month (almost $50), which is a little steep I think.

I didn't do anything on Sunday until the Institute meet and greet at the Windmill pub. There were about 30 or 35 people there, about half of them were first years, the others were research or PhD students. It seems like a lot of them are Americans as well, especially in the MA Shakespeare Studies course. I had a great time and ended up staying at the pub til 9pm with the last few students.