Attempts at Sophistication: This Will Go One of Two Ways…

So, I’ve now been in Swindon cracking on six months. Alice reminiscing moment: this time last year I spent a week doing solid dissertation research, including eight hours in Warwick archives on only a snack bar (I painfully discovered that they only had coffee sachets and an out of date cuppa soup. In my defence you look at this site and tell me you wouldn’t assume they’d at least have a bar of chocolate for sale: http://heritage.warwickshire.gov.uk/warwickshire-county-record-office/visit/) It was also the week I interviewed these lovely people:

IMG_5652 Interview Pic 1 Interview Pic 2 Interview Pic 3

Ok, so, left to right: Anne Fox, Coughton Court volunteer, Lisa Parry, Coughton Court property manager (also one of my internship managers), Jeffrey Haworth, National Trust curator, and Lord Hertford, Marquess of Hertford and owner of Ragley Hall. Anne fed me with so much cake I wasn’t sure I’d be able to walk out the door, and I’ve never really shut up about my interview with Lord Hertford.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, half a year in Swindon (one extreme to the other). So, in December I realised I’d been here for a few months. The job was/is going swimmingly and my colleagues were/are hilarious (the toy and game buyer lifted her top to show me her dress underneath this week, such is her desperation to feature in my blog. Don’t say I never mention you Lorna).

But despite this I felt my evenings were lacking. I’d gone from being this clued up, academic who would yell scholarly quotations at those who supported the death penalty, to an individual who by 6pm was in an oversized hoodie and watching Teen Mom 2 (you know, something I could really relate to). I was doing nothing but upholding the Grimgrad title I’d given myself. Something had to change.

So what has changed Alice? Well, I hear Teen Mom 3 is starting soon on Viva… But in all seriousness I have done a few things. I started writing this blog (which I think everyone will agree is the best thing since sliced bread). I’ve also started a pottery course. This Monday will be week four of a ten week course. I have no pottery experience but in week two I made this:WP_20150119_20_25_49_Pro

It certainly isn’t about the start a new arts and crafts movement, but I was quite proud of it (next week I’ll start glazing it). Mumma Bennett gets the award for best reaction: “You know, we always knew when you were running around the garden with mud pies you’d accomplish something.” “really?” “No, but seeing this has reassured us”. I expect to be writing more on my pottery in the upcoming weeks. You ain’t seen the last of Alice and her mishappen pots yet!

A couple of months ago I also restarted my favourite pastime of going to coffee shops in culturally interesting places (e.g. Cardiff, Oxford, Bath) and reading a book. Right now I’m reading Wild Swans, which is all about three generations of Chinese women living under Communism.

This is how I think I look doing this:

This, though, is probably what you’re picturing/what I actually look like:

On top of this I’m also going to try to make a start on my Spanish language CDs which I’ve had knocking around for a while. I did it at GCSE but since then my Spanish has boiled down to ‘piso’ (piss-o) AKA a flat, gato (cat, not to be confused with the French, gato, meaning cake). That and shouting “tortoise!” whenever Captain Jack goes to the Island or Tortuga. Hopefully by April I’ll be able to construct a few sentences. Perfect timing for when I go to the Turkish/ Greek Island of Cyprus.

As my title sums up, I hope doing all this will enlighten, educate and sophisticate. One thing is for sure, I’ll either come out of this as a graceful lady like the ones in Jane Austen novels, or I’ll come out like Jane Eyre. Jane is an annoying, whining, poor, girl who throws the attempts of the rich Mr Rochester to lady-fy her in his face when she runs away across the Yorkshire Dales, taking no provisions with her and leaving her money on the coach. WHO DOES ANY OF THAT?! She ends up moaning about being hungry for the next two chapters. Oh dear Lord, no matter how bad it gets, I hope I’m never Jane Eyre. If anyone sees hints of Jane Eyre in me please stage an intervention before it’s too late.

Right, I better go. We have a slight issue developing here. Nothing big, just water coming through the ceiling. Standard Thursday night really. Until the next time.

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