Sunday, August 15, 2010

England Living Three Weeks In

So much for me updating every day, fail.

I am really going to try and be better.

Funny thing about that sentence, I don’t really know how it got started, but two of my closest friends here, Ed and Lucy say “Be Better” in an amazing American accent (well they say it in an amazing American accent I just say it normally). Whenever it fits the situation. We find it ridiculously funny for some reason. I think it started the first time we were on high ropes and Lucy was up on something and somebody shouted, “give her encouragement!” and I might have decided on “Be Better!”

Anyway my life. I will start from a few days ago and work forwards shall I?

This week was pretty good in training. Lots of soft skills modules about team building and communication and healthy competition and what not. We had our first proper abseil training on the towers, which was great. It was actually more difficult to keep track of the different safety lines and all of the random carabineers that need to be screwed down all over the place. But I'm pretty sure eventually it will just be second nature. I just need to remember when be asses to CHECK THE HELMET AND HARNESS, of every kid every time, because if you don’t do that you fail automatically and that would be a huge bummer.

I had a fight with a Diablo this week that lasted all of two days. A Diablo for those of you that don’t know is a silly little circus like toy, that I have to master in order to maintain my piece of mind. It is one of the things we are supposed to teach the kids how to do on the circus skills session besides juggling, and spinning plates on sticks. I still haven’t really figured it out but I will one day.

I went ice-skating one night I forget which, with some people in Telford. It was a very pretty drive. We went through a little town called ‘Brignorth’ which I hope I can go back to soon because it was ridiculously charming from the road.

Ice skating was fun, I was better than I thought I would be, it was weird because I was the only newbie there I kind of felt like I was crashing there party, but it was good to get away from the centre and not to just go down to the village but to do something different, glad that I went.

Last night six of us (names): Ed, Lucy, Me, Anne (Dane), Paul and Kieran. Went to dinner at the Balti, which is Cleorbury’s leading ‘curry house’ aka Indian. It was Fantastic! I had something with chickpeas and potatoes and chicken and spinach with rice and Nan, EPIC. I am officially converted.

Then we went to the ‘KA’ pub, also known as the Kings Arms. It is not the PC (Pioneer Centre) kids’ ‘local’ joint, meaning the pub they most frequent. But I still wanted to try something different. And I loved it, it looked exactly as a pub should, we then went to the Lion (our local pub which is just down the street a little.) I was feeling quite ‘squiffy’ British for buzzed, one of my favorite new words. And we all headed home in Lucy’s car pretty early, except for Paul and Dane who went to his flat in the village… that’s another story.

Today was surprisingly fantastic.

I woke up feeling pretty crusty. I made my way to the gym around noon; on my back from the gym I finally popped into the Cleobury bookshop on the high street. It is in a three story yellow stucco Georgian building and it is adorable. Walking through the door the smell of the musky old books and the helter skelter beauty of different colored book spines all pilled on each other was incredibly comforting. Sitting in the back was the shopkeeper, who looked exactly as the shopkeeper of a bookstore in a English village should look. Grey sweater, gray hair and glasses, upon seeing him I thought in my head, I want to know this man.

And so I endeavored to do so. I did not leave the bookshop for another hour and a half. It was pretty much the coolest thing ever. His name is Mark, and he has lived in Cleobury for 30 years. Upon hearing my interest in history he went up to the back room and pulled down the town records from hundreds of hundreds of years. You could tell he complies it all just waiting for the day that someone will show an interest in the town.

For example: I asked him about the cemetery up the road and how old it was. He said “Oh that cemetery was founded in 1890, its rubbish not old at all.” He then proceeded to show me the document signed by queen Victoria (a copy of her signature he adorable assured me. HA as if). That declared all cemeteries in England should be moved away from the town’s water supply. As it turned out the Cleobury church sits right on top of the old town spring and for hundreds of years the well water was passing directly under the churchyard where the villager cemetery was. Due to a nasty outbreak of cholera in London at the end of the 19th century, and the subsequent link of water born diseases, all cemeteries near wells were moved just in case. Cleobury’s included.

What else did he say that I loved? Hmmmm. Oh Cleobury used to have a cinema. During WWII (he found out I like WWII, guess what he loves WWII, yeah he is my new best friend) the us army I believe it was the 57th infantry division, was stationed up at Kinlett (a tiny town not far from here) and the special forces asked the owner of the cinema if he might mind opening the cinema on Sundays (which was illegal) so the soldiers could have something to do. So the guy that owned the cinema had to write all of these letters to local magistrates to ask them to let him stay open for the troops. Anyway Mark, (that’s the shopkeepers name) had all of these letters. He also had the original letter from the US Army to the cinema owner to ask him to stay open for the war effort. It was very cool to say the least.

Also we talked about books. (He thinks Atticus Finch sold out at the end of to Kill A Mockingbird to the system)… I'm definitely going to have to re-read that one to see if I think he is right. I told him he needs to read Guernsey and he said he would do it.

I needed up buying three books. Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence. Until You by Judith McNaught (an old friend I thought was a very good omen when I saw it in the book store.) And the book that he recommended called Fair Stood the Wind for France. He claims it is one of his favorite WWII books. Funnily enough when I got it home it turns out by WWII books he meant about the war but I also think he means during the war, because the copy I bought for 1 pound 50 was published in 1946. It is a very cute little book and I can’t wait to read it and go back and tell him what I think.

He says next time I come back to the shop he will talk to me more about WWII, he says his favorite part of the war is the code breaking/ spy situation. I can’t wait to hear more.

That’s all for now. Cheers to anyone who has actually read this ; ).

Love, Me

No comments:

Post a Comment