Friday, September 14, 2007

One More Time, for the memories

Summer School is over. Tomorrow the students (and us) all head off in different directions back to their own countries or to begin courses in Sheffield Uni or Sheffield International College.

There was a get-together, a banquet, a chance to say 'thank you' to everyone involved.

We were just settling down to our last sleep in our student room ... and guess what?

One more fire alarm. That makes 8, I think, in our six weeks here. On with shoes and warm clothes, and outside to wait for the fire trucks - and yes, the fire trucks still show up.

Time to Travel

Tomorrow: catch the train to Brighton.

Monday: take a plane to Ireland to see cousin Max. Return on Friday.

The following Tuesday: to Australia to see the kids and grandkids. Returning after two weeks.

October 15: Working in Torquay, Devon for two weeks.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Leeding the way

The last student outing for this summer school - a bus trip to Leeds. I had no idea what is at Leeds. It was less than an hour's trip.

The bus dropped us off, and as usual we were given a photocopied map to make sure we found our way back. Unfortunately, the drop-off point wasn't even on the map. So we walked until we came across some of the streets that were on the map.

Someone had said something about one of the biggest shopping malls being in Leeds. I'm beginning to think the Brits just don't know about shopping malls. Anyway this was just one of those arcades that you walk through and "ooh!" and "aah!" but no one would think of buying anything here.

Then we came across the market. Nice old building. Inside - well, it's a market full of stalls of cheap junk. One of the good things about living out of a suitcase is that you don't feel in the slightest tempted by this stuff.

Someone said the Royal Armouries was the place to see. So we trudged through town and across a bridge following the occasional little sign. That's the RA on the left beside this quiet little canal cul-de-sac.

The whole area was remarkably deserted. We saw very few people other than our students who were off the bus we came on.
But here there were a number of barges moored - very clean, and pretty-looking as they appeared to be inhabited.

This lady was showing off her barge-towing horse and giving quite a (long-winded but) interesting talk on the ways and traditions of barges and tow horses.

Inside the Royal Armories museum there was this huge tower displaying arms. Lots of swords and spears, helmets, shields and other bits and pieces artistically arrayed.

There were several floors on themes such as "Tournament" and "War". This apparently friendly fellow was in the tournament room.

This armoured helmet obviously belonged to a very sofisticated bloke.

But I can't help wondering if this chap was a bit of a comedian and wanted his opponents to die laughing.

There were stuffed horses and riders, and tents set up for a jousting tournament. There was going to be some sort of theatrical display, but we didn't want to hang around that long.

We did however chance upon a monologue by a chappy in the "War" room, dramatically telling about the Christmas Day during the First World War when the opposing sides briefly ceased hostilities for a game of football in No Man's Land.

We wandered back through the city. By now it was Saturday afternoon, and the place was packed - almost as crowded as Istanbul on a quiet day. There is a large section of town which is walking streets - shopping mall - only. Maybe that's the big shopping centre they were talking about.

Again, the place is full of old majestic buildings, mostly in pristine condition, but in stark contrast to things like this massive TV screen.

We heard music and followed our ears - Morris Dancing! Now there's a sight you don't see every day!

Time To Move On

One more week of teaching here and then we are moving on, leaving Sheffield and Yorkshire. It's been nice. Certainly Sheffield is much more "green leafy" than we expected. Not that keen on Leeds, but it's ok.