allochthonous: (communist party)
So, I am officially a student again, which means NUS cards, Athens passwords and 30% off public transport (if I could marry my student oyster card, I would). Also, education, but mainly I have missed being able to go to the cinema  for a fiver.

I'm studying at King's, bang in centre of London, and bizarrely enough, I've ended up in the geography department (echoing across the years, I can hear my younger self is cursing me for a traitor; geography has been my least favourite subject since time immemorial. In fairness, I had no idea how cool it got at postgrad level). My MA is officially in Disasters, Adaptation and Development (primarily chosen so I could tell people I'm doing postgraduate study in Disasters) - in practise, this means climate change adaptation, and especially floods, which I am dead keen on (it is fun seeing peoples' expressions when I tell them this). After a handful of mind-numbingly dire lectures on how to use a computer (I'm pretty sure that if you haven't worked out the right-click function on your mouse, you probably shouldn't be doing a postgraduate degree in a subject that requires a certain amount of data analysis; King's apparently disagrees), things have picked up and I've had a bunch of great lectures on hydropolitics and hydrogeology and other things beginning with "hydro" and also natural disasters (NB these are all totally fun and interesting subjects! In case, you know, you thought they weren't).

King's has a good modern language centre,so my goal for tomorrow is to blag my way into reasonably challenging French and Russian classes. At undergrad, all that was required was the ability to keep a straight face while claiming that you had an A-level in the right language (helped if you could do this in said language) and no one actually checked, whle I'm mildly concerned that here they may do an actual assessment, and while my speaking is pretty good in both languages, my grammar (especially in Russian) may be politely described as suboptimal. I'd rather have to do a lot of work to catch up grammatically than be bored, especially since I think they are mainly discussion-led classes. Fingers crossed that I don't get the two languages wildly tangled up as happened a couple of times with highly entertaining (to my sisters, at least) consequences in Paris.
allochthonous: (Default)
Bah, rain. I'm halfway through painting my bike, and it really needs to be done by tomorrow, but this drizzle looks persistent. Possibly it was a mistake to cover it with polka dots, but having started, it would look silly to stop in the middle.

I'm psyching myself up for grad school, which starts tomorrow; I'm really looking forward to it but it's in a different field to anything I've studied before (related, but still different) so a little anxious about that, but we'll see how it goes. Still, I've had a very pleasant September so far:Paris with my sisters, [livejournal.com profile] roz_mcclure  and [livejournal.com profile] hoshuteki's wedding (which I was very pleased to go to not only because it was very sweet and great fun, but also because it was my first Grown-Up Wedding - I've sadly missed several friends' weddings due to being away for the past eighteen months, so I was very happy to be able to make this one), and lots of museums and theatre, two things which I love about London. Welcome to Thebes at the National was superb, the Raphael tapestries at the V&A were interesting but I thought the cartoons were better (as my mother put it: "The noses always look so flat on tapestries!", but what I want to squee about is maps.

I have been a map person ever since I first encountered the beautiful Pauline Baynes map of Narnia in my copy of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe", so Magnificent Maps at the British Library was pretty much designed for me. There were some beautiful medieval and renaissance maps, including a monster copy of the Fra Mauro map, a minute map of the world in an thirteenth-century psalter and the supremely-difficult-to-read Hereford Mappa Mundi (requires twenty minute's careful examination to locate anything that isn't Jerusalem), as well as some more recent stuff. However, the map that I (andeveryone else) was left lusting after was this glorious creation of the Tea Market Expansion Board from 1940. Entitled "Tea Revives the World", it is a map of the world annotated with cheery little factoids about tea consumption across the globe; unfortunately, I havent' been able to turn up a version of the map online that allows you to read the annotations, but off the top of my head they included things like "The Australian 'bushman' is revived by a cup of tea after a long day 'out back'" and "In deepest Tibet, bricks of tea are used as currency" and rather more ominously "The Sahara: No tea here!". In short, it is thoroughly charming, and at the end of the exhibition I hotfooted it to the shop to purchase a copy, sure that the BL would have realised they were onto a good thing here. Alas, it was not to be - the long-suffering woman at the counter, who had clearly been asked the same thigns twenty timesa day since the exhibition opened, informed me that the map was still in copyright, and so a poster couldn't be made. A half-hour spent with google later that evening failed to turn up the copyright holder, but did reveal that an awful lot of the internet was after the same thing. Not sure how whoever owns the copyright has failed to make the conceptual leap to the fact that a nation of tea-drinkers might actually go for a tea-related poster. Still, the moment they do, I'll be right there.

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allochthonous

April 2015

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