Tuesday, August 30, 2016
My early get-ups continue--somewhat annoyingly, because I would prefer to sleep longer. The weather is much cooler now, so it isn't a too-hot bedroom that is causing short spells of sleep. Still, I am using time productively and have started reading in bed. Currently, it is John Banville's Booker Prize-winning novel The Sea--whose setting, since it is ambiguous, is reminding me much about my recent travels in Dorset as it is set in a nameless coastal town.
I also drafted a blog post and continued work on my Powerpoint presentation which is coming along nicely. Orientation Week has begun at NYU and work email is now appearing on my laptop. I guess our Summer Hiatus is over! Now that I keep getting email from both NYU-New York and NYU-London, there is much correspondence to which I must respond. I am excited as my Fellowship officially begins next week. My own month of getting re-oriented to London and my new life here is ending and I feel pleased and happy about the next phrase. Later this week, I have meetings on our campus and the tenor of my life here will change from a mixture of research, academic writing and leisure to a much more regimented program. I also received an invitation to another appearance at a Nineteenth Century Seminar held at UCL--which I accepted. I drafted an abstract and sent it to the organizers and am awaiting the setting of a definite date sometime in October.
Off for Lunch with a Relative:
And so the morning flew past as I dealt with so many impromptu happenings. At 12 noon, after a shower, I left the house to get to Euston Station as my relative Joel had made plans to meet me on Drummond Street after his hospital appointment at UCL. Llew and I had once had a meal on Drummond Street with our friend Ian at a place called Diwana. I was keen to return there as the small street has developed into Little India--there are a string of restaurants there, mostly vegetarian, all modestly-priced and catering to local office-goers mainly.
Because Joel texted me to say that he was running late just as I emerged from the Underground, I nipped into the Wellcome Collection next door to see a very unusual sculpture called Bleigiessen, commissioned by the Wellcome Trust for their Headquarters on Euston Road. Once there, I discovered that while you can catch a passing glimpse of it from one corner of the side street, to see it at close quarters you need to register for a once-a-month guided tour given on the last Friday each month. Alas, I had just missed it...perhaps sometime in the future I shall see it. However, I did catch a glimpse of it--it is a floor to ceiling affair that has used modern technology to create a flowing sculpture that was quite interesting even from the outside.
Ten minutes later, I was reunited with Joel. We chose the Taste of India restaurant for their non-veg buffet which is great value for money at just under 7 pounds. It gave me an opportunity to veg out--literally, for there was a huge selection of salads and I simply feel as if I have not been eating enough vegetables. These were fresh and delicious but it was the Lamb Curry that was really excellent over pilaf. Otherwise, the place was nothing to shout about. It might be okay for Indians who desperately need fix of Indian cooking--but for the more discerning, I would say keep trying to find one you really like.
More importantly, Joel and I had a chance to gab non-stop as he filled me in on family news. He was once married to my Dad's cousin but although they divorced many years ago, we have kept in touch. Joel looked back on his fifty-odd years in the UK and the ways in which life and Britain have treated him. It was a real treat to listen to his stories of voyaging to the UK via the Suez Canal and on another occasion via Marseilles. He also, it turns out, is badly affected by Plantar Fasciitis but had no idea his painful soles even had a name! I showed him some exercises he could do to alleviate his misery.
A little later, Joel dropped me off in his car to the British Library so that I could put in requests for some more books as I had spent much of the morning creating a Bibliography for further reading in my new area of inquiry.
At the British Library:
I then spent much time at the Library putting in requests for new desired material. It is still a challenge to get the hang of their computerized systems but help is always at hand. In about an hour, I headed home. Llew and I chatted at the Library using Facetime on the Library's wifi system and, after a little while, I took the Tube back home for a cup of tea. I love how the weather has changed and become so much more pleasant. It is perfect weather for walking, but of course, I have resolved to give up my walking tours for the moment or keep it to the minimum.
With Friends in Chelsea:
In the evening, I left the house again to spend the evening with my friend Cynthia on Sloan Street. Summer is clearly waning as the days are getting shorter. Even though it was about 6. 45 when I arrived at her place for a long natter, twilight was around the corner. It was a pleasure to hear about their long weekend pilgrimage to Walsingham to the Shrine of Our Lady where I had once accompanied them on a previous visit to the UK. Over a nice cup of decaff tea (which Cynthia had especially kept for me!), we chattered on and about 8.00 pm (although she invited me to stay for dinner), I left as I did not want to get home late.
Back home about 40 minutes later, I got my own dinner organized: chicken piri with broccoli and a cup of soup. I also watched the next episode of Making a Murderer which is leaving me dazed at the travesty of justice in a country that prides itself on being lawful. What a shame that the whole world is seeing this series through Netflix! Recently, my friend Edward told me that there was a ruling as the case is still on-going. Stunning! I only wish I had watched this with Llew as viewing it causes me to long for a companion for discussion. Llew, too, had watched it while I was traveling and now I am watching it also while quite solitary.
By 11.00 pm, I switched off my light and feel asleep.
Until tomorrow, cheerio...