Saturday, 23 October 2010

Lake District and Oxford

Hey there!  I know it's been a long time since my last post, but I have been absolutely SWAMPED with homework.  After putting forth a valiant effort to avoid falling behind in all my classes, I've come to the conclusion that it's better just to pick my battles, especially since I will not be held accountable for the vast majority of things that I "have" to read as far as the assessments are concerned.  I still intend to read as much as I can, but I couldn't possibly read everything that's assigned and still be able to see this beautiful country to which I've come; in this case, I believe that a compromise is both healthy and forward thinking.

I'm sure you're all dying to know what's been going on in my life since my last post, when I saw Love Never Dies and wrote and epic critique, if I do say so myself.  Well last weekend, my program took us to the Lake District, reputed to be one of the most beautiful areas of the entire country.  It certainly was a sight; the calm, placid lakes and gently wooded landscape drew a sharp and sublime contrast with the suddenly jutting mountains.  I got to visit the former home and the grave (!) of one of my literary idols, William Wordsworth.  Here's a picture of his old house, Dove Cottage.

It was surprisingly small inside, but Wordsworth was a simple man who by all accounts enjoyed traipsing about in nature far more than the amenities of the home.  We also went to Beatrix Potter's place, Hilltop Farm.  She is not one of my literary idols, but it was interesting to see her house all the same.

Oh yeah, before I forget, here's Wordsworth's grave at Grasmere.

When we got back to the place where we were staying, my program threw us a party; and I got fearfully, frightfully, far too drunk (which, I may remind you, is legal here in the UK).  I hadn't had anything to drink in quite a long time, and I suppose I just threw caution and self control to the wind; needless to say, I payed for it the following morning.  I'd rather not dwell on the particulars of that unfortunate hangover, however, as I feel my time and yours would be better spent addressing happier, less morally degrading topics.

Yesterday, I went to see Red with a couple of my friends; it wasn't the best movie ever made, but it had an incredible cast that largely redeemed it of its ludicrous plot; said cast included my older girlfriend...

...and my even older girlfriend:

Which of these two women do you think wielded an assault rifle and a gatling gun during the course of the movie?  I'll give you a hint: it's the one with the Oscar.

Anyway, enough about Red.  In my attempt to speed read through Dracula, I only got 45 minutes of sleep last night before I roused myself to go to Oxford.  I've been pretty groggy all day long, but Oxford was gorgeous.  Highlight of the trip - the Ashmolean musem, which is pretty legit as far as museums of its size go, and had a special exhibition on the Pre-Raphealites.  I LOVE the Pre-Raphealites.

I wanted to write a long, eloquent post filled with captivating imagery describing how my sleep deprivation had thrown my mind into a wonderfully hazy state of oneirism, thereby priming my receptive faculties to the sensitive appreciation of the sunlight drifting in dappled patches over the brown and gray stone of the college buildings and of the intense, voluptuous beauty captured in Jane Morris' contemptuous sneer by the brush of her idolater, Dante Gabriel Rossetti; but I decided that my time would be better spent sleeping than gushing over the physical and artistic beauty I beheld during the course of my day.  I have to rest up for my trip to Cambridge tomorrow.  I'll catch you all later.  Before I leave, here's a wonderful portrait of Jane Morris (as Proserpina) by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (This was definitely on display in the temporary exhibition at the Ashmolean, but I can't remember if it was a study or actually the original painting.  At any rate, I know that the original typically makes its home at the Tate Museum in London, which I have to get around to visiting one of these days.).

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