One thing I’d like to be better at is taking time to remember the positive, tiny things that make a difference in every day life: the things that get me laughing in the morning or thinking ‘huzzah!’ when I get in from work. So, this week’s good things are…
Leeds for work, Leeds for catch-ups
I was lucky enough to have my (first ever) paper accepted for the annual Association of Performing Arts Collections (APAC) symposium, this year held in Leeds. I went up the day before because trains are so expensive, but it gave me a bit to explore the city and – most importantly – catch up with a friend from uni who I haven’t seen properly in years. We went to the excellent Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen which won me over with a) its rooftop bar, b) its veggie burgers and c) the rather delicious strawberry and black pepper gin cocktail, aka YUM. It was such a lovely way to spend an evening and see somewhere in Leeds totally different!
The next day, I gave my paper (which went well, I think) and we were treated to a tour of the Special Collections at the University of Leeds, nestled in their Brotherton Library which was “modelled on the British Library’s reading room, only bigger”. It’s such an impressive building, all polished wood and marble columns! The architecture in Leeds is such an interesting mix, with the glorious industrial-era redbrick campus contrasting against the very modern high rises of lights and shiny glass. I loved visiting the city for a couple of days; daft as it sounds, there is so much country beyond the Southern bubble I often inhabit and every time I leave that bubble I just want to see more.
New gym class
Having missed my normal Monday spin and Tuesday abs classes, I finally got around to attending a kettlebells class on Wednesday. I’m so, so glad I did! I love my gym because it’s so small and personal which has really helped me feel at ease (I’m not the most sporty person ever, to put it mildly). When I got there, the instructors were all “you came!” and it was great to catch up with everyone. The class was hard, and I’ve been aching all week since, but it was SO satisfying. This week I’m gonna try and do all three Monday – Wednesday classes, so let’s see how that goes…
Discoveries: David Lloyd George’s copy of Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’
We’ve been collaborating a lot with the School of Music at work recently, and in amongst all the forthcoming pantomime activity there’s a bit of Dickens in the midst. A colleague recommended having a look at David Lloyd George’s copy of ‘A Christmas Carol’ for images and – wow! It’s a gorgeous 1930s edition, with an intact bookplate and some utterly gorgeous woodcut illustrations. Definitely one to remember.
Best friends in Canterbury
This weekend we broke our guests-in-the-house record by having FIVE people stay over at one time! (Duvets were more of an issue than space, once it was agreed that it was totally fine to sleep in the conservatory). On Saturday, we ate so much homemade pizza (and snacks) (and Pimms) (and these chocolate brownies) whilst generally hanging out and playing Mario Kart, which we’ve rediscovered. (In accidentally stereotypical ways, the girls were very noisy – “Oh NO! I’m going to DIE! No not the LAVA ARGH I’M 12TH!!!!!!!!!!!” – whilst the boys silently fought it out for 1st and 2nd place. Though I’ve still not forgiven Chris for bashing me a lot because his car was bigger than my bike…)
Sunday saw us pretend that last night’s food fest hadn’t happened and the obligatory brunch in town was needed. By chance, The Refectory had space and so eight of us merged outside tables together and desperately prayed that the grey clouds overhead wouldn’t get any ideas. They didn’t, and WOW the food was incredible! Great coffee and one of the nicest lunches I’ve had in months – a spinach and chive crepe with baked egg, artichokes, goats cheese, mushrooms, caramelised onions and parmesan. I can’t believe it’s taken us a year to get round to trying this cafe, because I think it’s a new Canterbury favourite…
But the best bit of the weekend? Laughing my head off with friends I’ve known, in part, since we were 10. They are the best humans and it always feels like coming home when we meet up, even if the adulthood contrasts are getting a bit marked: we like sleep, and good coffee, and acknowledge that takeaway isn’t always the best thing ever. But they sure as heck are.
This week, I’m starting on my MA assignment, attempting three gym classes on three consecutive days, finishing up Master of None (STILL SO GOOD) and continuing reading Hans Fallada’s WW2 resistance novel Alone In Berlin.
How was your week? What’s been bringing you joy?