UK Trip part 1

Well I've been in the UK for 6 days. I arrived Thursday morning at about 6:20am after a 22hr flight + 4hrs stopover after having had only 1.5 hrs sleep the night before due to being up all night packing. To make matters worse I couldn't check in until 12noon!

But I'm making the story sound much worse than it actually felt. I did manage to sleep for a couple of hours on the plane and dosed most of the rest of the time. Plus at the Hostel I was staying in "Hostel639" they let me leave my bag behind the counter and check in early at 10:45 or so.

Still I the diary entry that I wrote at the time shows I wasn't having such a great time. 

"It all looks the same as Australia!
People dress the same.
The cars look the same.
The trains are like Melbourne...Just being over here is not worth it."

It didn't feel like the other side of the world, it almost feel like I was just in an unknown suburb without a car and that I could just go home very easily. That was what felt the strangest, the fact that I felt as though I hadn't gone anywhere and that I could just throw it in and go home. There was even a blue gum in a nearby back yard!

I'd brought too many clothes, expecting it to be cold and raining some of the time even in summer, but the weather here has been like early November the end of our spring and it hasn't rained once.

Once I'd checked in I emailed Mum & Dad to let them know I'd arrived safely and quickly looked up the Crick Crack (storytelling) Club that I knew was in London. What I found was that Ben Haggarty was performing that evening, and it was a free once off show. I had to go.

I must have eaten something but I can't imagine what. In fact I can't remember what I ate that whole day except for the plane food. Perhaps it was this first day that I wend to the supermarket "Sainsburys" down the road and bought bread, cheese and salad for sandwiches. Yes it must have been. I made myself a late lunch and then paid £3.50 for a another bus ticket.

The buses here come much more frequently, every 8-12 minutes usually, but it costs about £2.80 for a one way ticket or £3.50 for all day. (Double these to get AU$ values.)

Anyway I was 15min late or so I thought, but when I arrived I was told that it was nearly finishing. It seems they have daylight saving (called summer 'time') here too. As I write this its 10:30 at night and it's only just got dark about 15min ago.

So I was able to see one story that Ben told and to meet him and another storyteller Tuup who I didn't get to see but would really like to. He said that he doesn't rehears the words of a story before he tells it. He just 'lives' with the story until it's familiar too him and he know the plot and the characters very well and then he goes on stage and sees what comes out.

I like his style! I must try that some time. I seem to learn stories in a similar way but have never been game to do a paid performance of a story that I haven't rehearsed before. He said he like doing it that way because it keeps the energy up and makes it alive. And it would too! Gotta try it some time.

Friday I sat on the internet most of the morning calling Granny on skype and wishing her a happy birthday, then calling mum and chatting for a bit. Skype is great if your travelling. Laptops are heavy but they're worth it. I also did a lot of emailing that day.

In the afternoon I went to find Hobgoblins and get a Low Whistle but they had sold their last "Chieftain D Tunable" They said they would have another one in by Thursday. I'd like to find one before that but I don't know where I'd get it, so perhaps I'll be back there soon.

Saturday I went and got myself a Mobile. I had to change rooms first though because the single room I was in was booked so I couldn't stay longer. I moved to a room with 8 beds, and also discovered the Hostel had a storage room where I could lock up my bags. I'll devote another blog entry to describing the Hostel because it deserves a story for it's self.

In the afternoon I went into town and got the mobile, I also bought a 160GB portable HDD for £70 ($140). I tried to get to the Library to see the Ramayana Exhibition but it was closed by the time I got there.

Sunday I went back in to town and did see the Ramayana, I kept meaning to go to speakers corner in Hyde Park but never got there. I did find the markets on Brick Lane though, I'd been told about it by some drama students I had met on the street the day before. Here finally were some markets like I was used to. Little temporary stalls selling things. Often what is called markets are the roads where the market is held and while there are little shops that sell similar things as what you would expect to find in a market, when it's not market day there are only these few shops.

In Brick Lane Markets I found many fedora style hats. Most cost £15 but one lady offered my one very like the one I bought off Reilly and then lost for £10. I didn't buy it because I couldn't decide if I wanted one like that or one with a big brim all the way around. Because there were so many I don't think it will be hard for me to find one when I know what I want.

I rang Cassandra Wye this day and she said she would contact some people and see what she could arrange. Boy could she arrange stuff! She rang me  back a few hours later and told me that she had found someone for me to stay with; Tina the administrator of the Society For Storytelling (SFS) no less!

Monday I packed up and then went to see Portabello Rd. Unfortunately this is where I realised that the markets were only open on particular days, so the only riches of ages that I found were in a little costume jewellery store.

I went back to the Hostel and walked up the Canal. It was really very nice, I discovered what stinging nettles were without getting stung! And I saw the river boat houses. It was a good 45min walk to the next bridge where I crossed over and then came back through the old cemetery that lay behind the hostel. The graves are so wobbly and crooked in some places I had to take photos of them but after reading some of the dates I realised that this cemetery was in use! Some of the graves were only 20 years old! I was going to take on more photo when a small black stone fell on my head. I looked up but there was no bird that could have dropped it and I distinctly felt like a spirit had thrown it at me in an attempt to be noticed. So I refrained from taking more photos until I came to some mausoleums. I'd never seen mausoleums before and so I had to ask the spirits permission to take a photo of them.

A little further on I saw some squirrels, they move there tails so funnily when they are fighting, like they are puffing themselves up. I didn't have time to go through the older part of the Cemetery because my train ticket was only valid during off peak times ie. before 3:30pm. So I checked out and caught the train to Reading where Tina met me and we caught the bus back to her place. Where I'm to stay for a week.