Donnerstag, 30. Oktober 2008

Booklist update

I've finally managed to update the booklist, after I just got new food for my mind. It took me about three months I think, but I finished reading Moby Dick some weeks ago already. Glenkill was next and the first book that I've read in German in ages. Very good read. Then came Through the Looking Glass which had been sitting on my shelf for quite a while. I tried Round Ireland with a Fridge but I didn't get very far before reading for class arrived: The Hours by Michael Cunningham was another fast read that I finished during some long shifts at work. The Fellowship of the Ring travelled to England with me, as I didn't know what else to take. Turned out I didn't read very much on the trip; instead I kept staring out of windows and sucking in every impression. Now I have picked up Peter Pan as interim-reading until my new books arrive which they did just today. So Love's Labour's Lost will be carried with me now because now that I've seen it, I want to read it as well. And then see it again. Next up will probably be the third Harry Potter, possibly Oliver Twist, and then again reading for class.

Beware of the news

For those of you who are very Doctor Who - sensitive: better not read on. Although there is definitiely no way to hide from this: David Tennant will leave after the four specials next year.

My initial reaction was: More time for theatre!

(El's reaction was actually the same.)

And the entry for Day 4 of the trip to Stratford has to wait until tomorrow. I am actually not that awake anymore. At least not to type away for about four hours.

Mittwoch, 29. Oktober 2008

Stratford Day 3 Or: "The which I hope is not enrolled there"

Day Three saw us watching Love's Labour's Lost, so there might be some slight spoilers ahead. Though I probably mixed up details of the play. Bear with me, it's been a week already since I saw it, and my notes are a bit difficult to read. Also there will be a bit of uncontrolled fangirlying that can only be rendered in German because in English the joke would be lost. :ugly:

Hoppi and I get up at seven today; as we want to go to Oxford we had asked Mr Kim yesterday for breakfast at eight, so we could catch the train out of Stratford without problems. Today first Hoppi's cellphone wakes us with birds singing and then my cellphone goes off making Tardis sounds. We shower and then go to room number five to knock on the door again. We head down for breakfast, but the door is closed. After half an hour, at half past eight, Mrs Kim lets us in; apparently the news didn't reach her. She is a bit surprised to see us waiting and we tell her that we need to catch a train at 9:41. she promises to serve breakfast at once, which she does and even offers to give us a lift to the station. We are speechless for a second but then assure her that we can walk there and be perfectly on time. If we haven't fallen in love with her by now, we certainly do now.

After breakfast we grab our stuff and march off across Stratford to the station. Kristy has seen Oxford already and decides to stay at Stratford, so we part. After a brisk walk Hoppi, El and I reach the station ten minutes before the train leaves, buy tickets (with group discount) at the counter and flop down on some seats, being a little out of breath. Our train arrives and after checking thrice we head in and sit down. On the way to Leamington we admire the wonderful landscape and squee at the sheep we pass by. We get off at Leamington Spa and wait for train service to Oxford, which is late. As is almost every train announced. I briefly wonder if that is a normal day of British train service. We sit inside the heated waiting area when I notice the rain that is pouring down. I tell the others, who tell me that it has already been raining for a while. Hey, I tend to see the obvious a little later than most people.

Our train finally comes, we step on and only find some single seats. Hoppi and I sit down, El is left standing in the aisle. The conducter arrives and checks our tickets. He stamps El's, when I show him mine he looks a bit longer and says that these tickets are not valid on Cross Country Services because of their group discount. Uhhh, what? He says we either have to upgrade or get off the next station. We think getting off is the better idea. Who would want a free upgrade? :delete: So we get off at Banbury, one stop away from Oxford. And find out that there actually is no train service today to Oxford that is not Cross Country. The leaflet says something about occasional service. Now that doesn't sound too reassuring. We decide to get on the next train no matter what train it is and either bat our eye-lashes at the conductor or submit to the upgrade then. So the next train is Cross Country Service again, and we keep standing at the door this time, as there is no free seat anyway. The conducter arrives - and is a woman. So no batting of eye-lashes. She sees the ticket El holds still in her hand. A ticket that has already been checked. Before Hoppi and I can get out our tickets she mumbles something like okay and is passed on into the next waggon. Well - yay! We escaped the upgrade! Some ten minutes later we arrive at Oxford and get off the train. At least it is not raining that heavily. We go into the town and head towards Christ Church. Harry Potter has been filmed there, so we go to worship another fandom. On the way however we pick up some nice postcards, among them the nice one that will be sent to The Hole.

Christ Church is very nice and part of it can be visited by tourists. We pass by a huge park and then enter. But bad luck: as this is a normal university the Hall is closed today. Damn. We take pictures in the corridors that have stood in for Hogwarts nonetheless and then go into the cathedral. I love churches, so I grab a leaflet and have a good look at everything. (Looking at the leaflet once more I have just realized that we haven't really taken the whole tour. We didn't go down Tom Quadrangle and passed the library, did we?) Anyways, while we have been inside, it has started pouring with rain. We get out our umbrellas and fold up our jeans as we make our way back into town. We buy something to eat and drink at a store and then decide to worship the second fandom of the day: Tolkien's grave is somewhere at Oxford. So we walk through the pouring rain trying to find the tourist information to ask the way, but we somehow miss it. We find a map though, and a cemetery not too far away on it. After memorizing the way we walk there. We reach the church and feel a bit like trespassing because we actually have to push open a door to enter the cemetery. There is a sign listing the famous persons buried here and Professor Tolkien is not among them. Damn. We conclude we are in the wrong place. Which is true, we were in Holywell Cemetery and Professor Tolkien is buried in Wolvercote Cemetery. It would have been too far to walk on that day anyway.

We decide to head back to the station to catch an earlier train home as we are now soaked. Hoppi's Chucks are wet, and my supposedly waterproof boots proove to be not waterproof at all. Even El's shoes are giving in. The water in my jeans has crept up over my knees by the time we reach the station. But hey, there is a train leaving which we only happen to catch because it is delayed (Ahahahaha.). We get on and stand in the aisle waiting with our slightly not valid tickets for the conductor to upgrade us. He arrives, asks whether we got wet (No, not at all.), checks our tickets and hands them back to us without another word. Okay. We escape upgrading a second time, this time probably because of the pitiful state we are in. At Leamington we get of the train because we remember there was a heated waiting area there. Unfortunately the heated waiting area turns out to have been on the other side of the tracks and we are just to tired, wet and lazy to walk over. Instead we sit down for half an hour, after finding out that we have to wait a whole hour for the next train. After half an hour we are not only wet but also cold because of not moving and decide to grab a coffee. We think we have to go to the other side of the tracks now, but - lo and behold! there is a cafe with tables to sit at and a television in the corner right next to the waiting area. Ahahahaha. We spend the rest of time waiting at least with a hot drink in our hands. The train arrives (only slightly delayed) and at last we find seats again. We overhear a girl some seats behind us who is talking on the phone telling that she is also going to see Love's Labour's Lost tonight. The mention of the play lightens up our moods at least a little, but there are still a couple of things to be done.

First we are a bit late because of the delay of the train. So when we get off, we again fall into a brisk walk, where El proves to be the fastest walker of us. (I suspect because she needed to use a toilet. :ugly:) El and I decide to go to New Look once more. El wants legwarmers, I need new shoes now that mine have turned into small fishponds. No way I am gonna sit through the play with wet and cold feet. So Hoppi goes ahead to the B&B, and El is a bit faster buying her legwarmers than me, and runs ahead as well. Still I reckon this is the fastest purchase of shoes ever done by me. I circle the boots three times, lock eyes with my prey, hunt down a pair my size, stuff my wet feet into it, walk three steps, and carry my prize to the counter to pay (student discount! Again!). Then I fall back into the brisk jog towards the B&B.

Having arrived I get out of my completely soaked clothes and put on something dry. My feet start warming up, too! Yay! We all get dressed and then walk off to the theatre. Another brisk walk as we start a little later than we intended. Having arrived, we leave our coats and umbrellas at the cloak room and then go and buy a programme. I am delighted; cloak room is for free and the programme is a wonderful book with lots of information for three pounds fifty. I am used to much worse products and service for much more money. The shop they have is so crowded we don't fit in, so we decide to have a look later. Some minutes later the auditorium is opened, so we head in. Our seats are in the stalls, last row three seats away from one of the ways that lead onto the stage. But as the seats are rising, we have a brilliant view of everything happening, and right behind us the actors pass during the play to get on stage. (David Tennant passed by right behind us. Sorry, the inner fangirl just had to type this. :ugly:) So we all sit there and flip through our programmes. I kinda have to look at what the staff are doing. Professional interest you might say. (They write down which seats are not occupied to match them with possible latecomers. I also want a notepad!)

On stage is this lovely big tree, and ten minutes before the play starts Dumaine and Longaville enter the scene and make themselves at home. We briefly wonder that maybe we are so unlucky that David Tennant doesn't play tonight, when he enters the stage right at the same moment. He walks around a bit and then lies down, pulls a hat over his head, and sleeps. We watch and try not to squee too loudly. El breaks the silence saying "Er ist ganz schön groß." Hoppi and I stare for three seconds, then El adds "Also ich meine lang." We all start laughing and agree there is no way to phrase without the innuendo. Oh well.

The play starts with the King dropping a chest onto stage, waking Berowne from his slumber. The edict is to be signed, but Berowne is not very happy with it. His more and more panicked "the which I hope is not enrolled there" makes us laugh more the more often he repeats it. And the accent. Awww. Scottish accent. There is just nothing like it. The penalties against trespassing women are read out, and Berowne's shock is just hilarious. And after three minutes I realize that it is so different to see a play performed than to read it. The problems the audience may have with the words are glossed over brilliantly by the actors, and they pull just so many jokes. I already wrote about Berowne throwing his hat towards this protruding branch of the tree and missing - we just laughed. And I still wonder whether the "every time" is in the play or not, because we all seem to recall that he said it when he missed, too. Costard enters the scene in all his bouncing madness. The next scene then is a bit hard to understand with Don Armado and Moth. Then the princess and her ladies enter. Did I already mention that they all wear Elizabethan costumes? So we four girls admire the dresses. There is the first exchange between Berowne and Rosaline. Costard redefines the word 'remuneration', a Shakespeare rap follows and then he mixes up the letters to Jaquenetta and Rosaline. Berowne enters, all fool in love writing sonnets after he thought he would be the last one to break the oath he signed. Berowne's monologue is so great because he addresses people from the audience, talking to them and using them as examples. One guy who has folded his arms has to stand in as Cupid along with Berowne mimicking the shooting of bow and arrow. Then he turns to a woman in the first row. "A woman-" Long pause and a long meaningful nod towards her as if she already knows that it is just her fault "-that is just like a German clock, Still a-repairing; ever out of frame; and never going aright, being a watch, But being watcht that it may still go right!" When he hears the king approach he climbs onto the tree to overhear the king all in love. Longaville comes on stage, while the king hastily hides behind some strands of leaves from the tree that he pulls down. Then Dumaine comes in, carrying a huge book with him, which reveals to have a ukulele (?) inside, and Dumaine starts singing. Awww. Longaville and the King reveal themselves, and we scream with laughter as the King asks "What would Berowne say?" as Berowne makes a face full of glee. We laugh even harder when Berowne comes out of hiding and asserts "I, that am honest; I, that hold it sin to break the vow that I'm engaged in" -- until Jaquenetta enters, carrying the letter Berowne wrote and giving it to the king. Berowne gets hold of the letter, tears it to pieces and --- stuffs them into his mouth, chewing it down. We almost fall off our chairs with laughter. The scene just so brilliantly piles joke upon joke, it is just a joy to watch. Berowne confesses and then lectures about love, delivering my favourite line from the play: "When love speaks, the voice of all the gods make heaven drowsy with the harmony." By now the whole audience is silent again, listening. And by the way, while we try to squee not too loudly, El hears a distinct "Awwwwwww!" from above at some point.

I think at the end of this scene the interval starts. We head out into the crowded foyer, get something to drink and then the others go back in already, while I go to the toilet. As I come back Costard and some others perform a song in the foyer before they go back in onto the stage where they perform another song before the play goes on. Holofernes, Nathaniel and Armado plan a show of the Nine (or five) Worthies to perform for the Princess. Then the princess and her ladies enter, deciding to swap the presents they received from the King and his attendants so that they should mistake them. Moth enters to introduce four Russians and the King and his men enter dressed in coats and beards and huge hats. And they dance. And sing. And then speak in Russian accent. "Vouchsafe to show the sunshine of your feces, that we, like savages, may worship it." Believe me, if we could have continued watching from the floor, we would have rolled on it laughing. It is just hilarious. The women mock the men so much that they retreat, and return without their disguise only to be told that the ladies played a trick on them. They are mocked more and more and at some point Berowne just gives up: "Speak for yourselves; my wit is at an end." Yet all settle down to see the Worthies. But the show ends in a fight between Armado and Costard over the pregnant Jaquenetta with Berowne waving a lance between the contenders, and the scene breaks into a only half-serious struggle, when a messenger enters bringing the princess bad news. Berowne's "Worthies away! the scene begins to cloud." sobers everyone in an almost heartbreaking way. The light changes. The princess asks the King to wait a twelvemonth and a day, and so do the other ladies. Especially Rosaline's request to Berowne is just great: he is to jest a twelvemonth in a hospital and make the sick laugh. All would be rather sad if it was not for the song at the end of the owl and the cuckoo. I so wish there was a recording of that song because it was so lovely, the whole mood of the scene and at the end Rosaline and Berowne looking at each other as the owl flies around the stage. Awwwwwww. At some point they had hung big lanterns into the tree to create an even lovelier atmosphere. The play ends and we applaud like mad. Hoppi mimicks the tuwhit towhoo of the owl. We all go out with big smiles on our faces and sighing all the time because it was so beautiful.

Haaach.

Sorry. Just the memory. Haaaach.

Well, we collect our coats then and go outside to maybe get an autograph or two. Well, yes, we wanted one of David Tennant. I mean, we came all the way, so it would have been weird not even to try, right? Some of the actors come out at the front door and we get their autographs, but we are not fully aware of the fact that the real stage door is around the corner. (Actually I should have known, working at theatres and stuff.) Anyways. We wait. And wait. And sing every weird German song that comes to our heads, just to keep doing something. And wait. And chat with a lovely American lady who had come all the way to see the plays and can't leave either. So we wait longer. Our feet freeze. Our hands freeze. (Except mine because I have stuffed them into the pockets of my coat at some time.) But we can't stop waiting.

At midnight we give up though and head home, still smiling about the lovely play. Not even our cold hands and feet can harm the warm feeling inside.

Montag, 27. Oktober 2008

Stratford Day 2 Or: "So, do you know David Tennant?"

Hoppi and I get up at half past seven because breakfast is set at half past eight, and we both want to get showered until then. So while Hoppi is in the bathroom I switch on the telly to find that childrens' programmes in England seem to be as weird as in Germany. Until we are confronted with the baby tapir, the first animal we squee at in a long day of squeeing at animals.

Five minutes before breakfast time we knock on the door of room no. 5 where El and Kristy are still sorting themselves. We head downstairs, are greeted by Mrs Kim, and after some minutes I get my first English breakfast since my stay at the boarding school twelve years ago, where I decided to go for cereals in the morning for the whole week. So here it is: sausage, bacon, poached egg, hash brown, beans and toast to go with it. The sausage is really not my taste, and beans and what in Germany would be a variety of Kartoffelpuffer, seem a bit strange at first, too, but I am starved, so I dig in. And I even like it. (We should have taken a picture of that plate.)

We sit at the table for almost an hour, enjoying breakfast and chatting, before we head upstairs, get our things and go into town to find a way to get to Oxford. Going down Shipston Road we see the pear: a small pear impaled on a spike of the lovely metal fence underneath the tree. We have to take a picture. Next there is the hightech telephone box: Email, text and phone! All in one box! Seems a bit like a Tardis dressed in red. Later we try if it is really bigger on the inside, but we are mistaken. We pass over Tramway Bridge where El makes a ridiculous number of pictures of the swans, geese and other birds swimming on the Avon, squeeing at each of them. First we go to the bus station, then we realize we have to find out somewhere else when exactly the busses are leaving. Cultural difference number two of the day: the bus station not always has a sign saying what's its name and when which bus is going where. So we are sent to the tourist information, which we had already visited because one of us wanted to buy something. We go back and ask the lady at the counter how to get to Oxford today. She gets two leaflets containing train service information and marks the pages for us. We find out that there is really only one suitable train leaving Stratford that would get us on our way, and it has left already. Public transport on a Sunday. I am once more glad I decided to travel on Saturday already. So we postpone the trip to Oxford to the next day, and have a look at Stratford instead.

We head into town and find all shops open. We walk right into New Look, the equivalent of H&M just with cooler shirts. My problem of finding clothes I like continues even in another country; I try a couple of things but don't find anything until Hoppi shows me a shirt in just the right shade of purple that suits me and goes well with my scarf. I yell an enthusiastic "Mine, mine!" and find the shirt in my size. Prizes are reduced for students that day, so I get the shirt even a little cheaper. Good times.

We go on into town, squee at a lovely fluffy dog, and get to Shakespeare's Birthplace, a lovely old house. Next to it is the most disgusting building I have seen in Stratford so far. Unfortunately that is the Shakespeare Centre. Prices for admission to the birthplace are not too convincing to us at first either. So we go on down the street when I suddenly see something in a window. I just manage to stare and point and stammer "Da! Da! Da!" The window has a miniature AT-AT and a Dalek sitting on the shelf battling each other. Hoppi and El both take pictures and we briefly wonder if alleged fanboy Tennant lives there.

We go on and after circling the statue of the Fool at the end of the street decide to head out to Anne Hathaway's Cottage. We find the small way that cuts a direct way through Stratford to Shottery. We practically walk past peoples' gardens and squee at every cat and dog we come across. There is a particularly fluffy cat sitting on a shed first eyeing us, then turning its back on us. After a while the way leads over a patch of grass, and - OMG! - there is a fork in the road. Kristy says we go left, because there is a house that way that looks like it could be Anne Hathaway's Cottage. The way to the right on the other hand leads up to a sign that looks from afar like the others pointing to the cottage. We decide to go left anyways. We see a sign - we walk in the opposite direction. And of course we are wrong. So we trudge on, keep to the right and manage to find the way again. We pass a field with cows to squee at. Finally we reach the cottage. We figure out that actually the pass for all five Shakespeare houses is 13 pounds and is valid for a whole year. So we buy the pass, and a booklet along with it. The guy at the counter needs to see our student ids, and seeing that we come from abroad, he asks us why we are here. We explain that we have tickets for Love's Labour's Lost and Hamlet, and that's why we came. He pauses for 10 seconds and then asks "So do you know David Tennant?" We just burst with laughter, as our inner fangirls take over for a second and jump up and down. Having quieted down we explain that we know him from Doctor Who. We add that he probably is not very famous in Austria and Germany, but some people know him. Like us. Well. (BTW, one running gag of the whole trip: "Where are you from?" "Austria." - "And Germany!" hastily added by me. :ugly:)

So we enter the cottage and the lovely lady there explains to us that the house used to have only two rooms before more rooms were added. We find out later on that each of the Shakespeare houses focus on some different aspect; here we hear a lot about life in the sixteenth century, especially women's life, spiced up with the origins of sayings like being left on the shelf. Unmarried women slept up on a sort of shelf, so if you stayed unmarried you were left on the shelf. You simply have to love the English for idioms like that. The cottage is just lovely. If it had running water, I'd move right in. We even sit in the bay on first floor at the window. The garden of the cottage is so lovely; we wander off underneath the apple trees that are still laden with fruit which just seem to fall to the ground and rot away. What a waste we think, and Kristy briskly walks over to a tree, jumps and picks an apple, also dislodging a not very subtle cloud of leaves falling to the ground. We move away from the crime scene quickly, but no one comes after us. And really, it seems like such a waste. Part of me wishes to be hired as gardener here and being able to pick the apples and tend the trees and make hay of the grass.

We take the walk through the forest, which is long because it is winding and winding in endless turns through this patch of forest. Another funny bit: all trees are green on all sides. So no way of finding out which way is north. Finally we go back into the orchard and El steals another apple, this time with more stealth and without the rain of leaves. We spend some money at the first of the shops, I buy a pen, some postcards and a book with farmhouse recipes, which I intend to try out as soon as I've made a translation for the measures and weights used. We head back to town then, to find some more food. This time we follow the way which leads through a lane in Shottery (The Old Tramway? No that was the name of one of the inns.) with the cutest houses and gardens and everything. At one house stands a cart full of apples with a sign saying "Please take!" We take and take the time to write a "Thank you!" note. Back in town, we go to Marks and Spencers and buy sandwiches; then we head over to Sainsbury's and buy cup soup. We have a kettle and cups in our rooms after all. We go back to the B&B and devour our food; then after resting a while we go to Shakespeare's birthplace. Now that we have the pass for all five houses it is the most sensible thing to visit one more today.

Shakespeare's birthplace starts with a tour through the visitor centre where an exhibition tells the story of Shakespeare's life. Then we head over into the house. We are shown the glove-making shop (Shakespeare's father was a glove-maker and traded in wool, something that was a bit unusual at the time). I am particularly impressed with the heavy painted linen that covers the walls. It served as much as decoration as as isolation against the cold, creating another pocket of air between the wall and the linen. The beds we see are shorter than ours would be, not because people were smaller then, but because people slept sitting upright in bed. On the one hand they constantly suffered from respiratory infections, and sitting upright made it easier to breathe. On the other hand they believed only dead people would lie down and if they lay down to sleep the devil would come and snatch their soul away.

We head upstairs then. I have to say, it is rather weird to stand in the room Shakespeare was born in. I mean, I don't feel like the Japanese tourists the lady at Anne Hathaway's Cottage told us about, who kissed the floor upon which Shakespeare supposedly trod. The hushed air of history and significance that we create around these places is a bit strange to experience nonetheless. We go into the back wing next, a part of the house that was probably added when it was turned into an inn. We go back downstairs and then head into the garden. Awww, another beautiful garden with an astonishing tree at the end of it. We pass through the second shop where I buy the Shakespeare Insult Mug that already struck my fancy at Anne Hathaway's. How can I not be enchanted by something saying "I do desire we may be better strangers" or "You rampallian! You fustilarian!"? Next I decide to test the nice phone box and call home to tell my mom I survived the trip. After several tries I finally throw enough money into the phone to eventually get a call out of England. My mom is delighted to talk to me as I pop pound after pound into the telephone. As my coins draw to an end I try to say goodbye before the bloody phone cuts me off and --- don't succeed. I really don't like that.

We head off next to find the theatre. Not a big problem actually as Stratford really is a village. We pass the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and The Swan, which are both under construction, and walk on to The Courtyard Theatre which is closed today. Damn. And we thought we could stalk David Tennant check out the theatre and the shop. But the theatre seems always to be closed on Sundays, something completely new to me as I have to work most Sundays at the theatre. We go up the road towards Holy Trinity Church where Shakespeare's grave is and haunt the graveyard just as it is getting dark. Standing at the door we hear singing and then the service being held, so we decide not to go in but listen for a little longer. I briefly wonder what kind of Church Holy Trinity is, being completely unfamiliar with the English Church system. In Germany it's Catholic or Protestant, and it's usually quite easy to tell which is which.

We leave after a while and decide to hit a pub. What else to do on a Sunday night? We find the Garrick's, a lovely old place. Kristy is sent to order cider for all of us (another ongoing thing of the trip, whenever we need asking something we usually wait until Kristy volunteers to ask someone), and we are told we have to wait a while to order some food. So we drink our cider and our conversation gets livelier and livelier as our cheeks get more and more flushed by that stuff that tastes like apple juice. After a while we order a bowl of chips for each of us. (After it has taken me quite a while to realize that chips are chips, not crisps. I really didn't imagine I would fall for that false friend. You are taught that in sixth grade.) We eat and chat and I notice that especially Hoppi is drifting more and more into Austrian accent. And that I start to pick up the accent as well. I mean, I am not bothered by that at all, but I'm always a bit afraid that people think I mimick them when I suddenly start to adopt their accent, but it's just what I do. I've been watching Scottish TV shows for the last three days and I start thinking in Scottish already.

So we chat when suddenly a deep booming voice behind me says "Excuse me, but we were wondering what language you are speaking." One of the four people at the next table has addressed us. He adds "We have considered a lot of things, even Latvian." The Austrians laugh out loud at the idea of speaking Latvian, and I explain that they speak Austrian German at which the guy on the left reveals himself to have won the bet. We chat for a while about why we are at Stratford. They tell us about the Music Festival that has just ended today and tell us that they were singing earlier at Holy Trinity. We tell them that we were there, but only heard them from the outside. What a coincidence. It is one of the funniest chats though. They say something to me that I don't understand (three times) only to find out that it is Brahms pronounced in English. The booming voice says to me "So if you don't know Brahms you are Liszt?" I understand that I am the butt of the joke here, but I don't understand the joke. The booming voice kindly explains it is rhyming slang. No matter how good my English is, rhyming slang is simply beyond everything. :ugly: But it is funny though. After introducing us to "the local witch" and talking about the weather (Stratford lies in a sort of pocket for good weather, and it has all something to do with the moon and the water, and the cider is slightly blurring my memory here), the booming voice, the witch and the other guy leave. The winner of the competition moves over and buys us another halfpint of cider. We find out that he has been living in Austria, having a job there which is why he knew the language. We chat and after finishing our cider call it a night. As we walk home we laugh about the coincidence of meeting some of the people we have been listening to earlier. I think Hoppi and I watch Graham Norton before we turn off the TV and fall asleep, and agree once more that British television (well especially Graham Norton) tends to be a lot more respectless and funny than German television.

Sonntag, 26. Oktober 2008

Stratford Day 1 Or: Sorry, I'm German.

This is going to be rather longish because it is my first trip of that sort and, you know, I can't just cut it short. Sorry for that.

It's Saturday morning 5:30, and after a really short night (my flatmates just plainly suck) I get up, pack the rest of my stuff and am off to the airport. After a major freak-out because of not feeling well for the whole week and being afraid I couldn't go on the trip I feel remarkably well. (Sorry to Hoppi once more, because I managed to freak her out too.) I arrive at the airport, go to the Check-In, think for a moment, and call my mom to tell her I'm going. She almost drags me through the phone. So I go through the first security check, then to check-in where I tell the guy "Hi, this is my first flight, so I'm gonna need a little help with all this." He tells me what to do, where to go and when I leave check in I start missing my luggage. They took my luggage! I feel almost naked without my luggage! I usually go by train, and there you practically sit on your luggage!

Anyway, I go queueing for the next security check. I take off my coat and scarf, go through the metal detector and "BEEEEEP!" Uhhaa. The nice lady does the whole check with the small scanner and I realize I forgot to take off my belt. *cough* Oops. I pass on into the shopping area, look to the right and there it is: a plane. I briefly ask myself what on earth possessed me to decide to go on one of those things. Boarding and everything happens relatively fast. I get a window seat, although I doubt my own sanity for a moment for wanting to have a window seat. But then I doubt my sanity most of the time. So I sit down and the flight attendant introduces himself: his name is Craig and according to his accent he is from Scotland. I try desperately not to squee. Craig is hilarious because he talks and talks really fast and the accent just makes me smile, so I utterly forget to panic. Then we accelerate and take off, for a moment I think "Oh my God!" as I am pressed into the seat. Then I look to the left out of the window and think "Oh my God, how cool is that!" Which is the state of mind I remain in for the rest of the flight. We have quite good weather and I enjoy the view. Land from above, clouds from above, sea from above, all great. So: good first flight besides the pain in my back because the seats are just horrible.

We arrive at Luton on time which is remarkable given that we started about an hour too late; ten minutes later I have my luggage and find a cash dispenser to get money. Then I head for the toilet to store the money away in my bra. I just feel safer that way. I briefly wonder how I'll get the money out of my bra discreetly when I want to pay at the B&B but decide I will take care of that problem later. I head to M&S and grab some water and a sandwich. After some thoughts I head in a second time and get some fruit too. And before I know I'm wandering around a bookshop. And find out that it is actually cheaper to buy English book in Germany. I sit in the waiting area for an hour and then head outside for the bus stops. National Express is easy to be found. I lean on the seats, or I should better say leans, because you can't sit on them, you can just lean. A guy leans next to me and asks something. I ask "Sorry?" because I can't understand what he says, he repeats twice and finally I get it: he wants to know the time. I apologize for being so slow, adding that I'm German. After a second I realize what a dumb excuse that is. I look at my watch which still has German time and is five minutes ahead as well. That's just too much for my poor brain to process after my first flight ever, so I stare for something like ten seconds and then tell him what I've found out. That poor guy must think Germans are not able to read the clock. Great first impression I've made there. :ugly:

Well, the bus finally arrives. On time. I am delighted, so far this is better than I could hope. We go through Luton and I see the first cute English houses. Then we head for Coventry and I get to see some English landscape. The weather is brilliant and I enjoy the trip. At Pool Meadow bus station I get off and wait for another hour for the next bus to Stratford. That one is on time as well, the bus driver says 'luv' and gets my bag and I'm on the last leg of my trip to Stratford. And it has only lasted 9 hours yet. This time the bus driver announces the stops yelling through the bus. I get a wonderful view of Warwick castle as we go past, and fifteen minutes later I am dropped off at Riverside bus station in Stratford. Perfectly on time and still more than an hour before the others arrive. I decide to find out where I am and where the B&B is. I try to buy a map from one of those machines but the damn thing eats my pound without giving me a map. Bloody thing. I look at the map that is there, memorize the way and ten minutes later I head up Shipston Road. Not long and I stand in front of The Sunnydale. Way to early. A stray cat greats me. "Hey, kitty cat, meet stray tourist." We shake hands. Kitty-cat looks like having been in a fight with its face all swollen up on one side.

I decide to go into town and head back down Shipston Road. I find a bridge and park at the river, and sit down. On the other side of the river is a huge construction site and I think "This looks like the perfect place for a theatre." I am not mistaken because I sit opposite the Royal Shakespeare Theatre which is being transformed at the moment. Now of course I realize I should have gone into town, wander around and grab something decent to eat but hey, this is my first trip anywhere on my own, so give me time. After enjoying the view for a while and writing I head back to the B&B. So I stand there again, stray cat with swollen face joins me once more, and nobody else comes. I begin slightly to worry again.

After waiting for another twenty minutes I knock on the door and meet Mrs Kim who welcomes me warmly, gives me the keys and sends me upstairs. I enter my room and settle in. I have never seen such a tiny bathroom in my life. And because I am not used to the fact that things sometimes just work out perfectly I go on panicking. I had wondered what was meant with tea-making facilities. A kettle of course, cups and tea. :ugly: Great, I decide to make some tea, have a bite of my sandwich. And wait a minute, didn't the website say they have TV sets in every room? Where is the telly? I look up and there it is perched in the corner of the room. I switch it on and the first thing I see is Anthony Steward Head. :-) My panic subsides for a moment. While watching Merlin and a bit of that dancing show (on which John Barrowman briefly appears :-)) Mrs Kim asks me if I could answer the door because she has to go out for ten minutes. She comes back but no Hoppi or El yet. I decide to go to the garage on the corner to get some chocolate and cookies, and leave the key to the second room with Mrs Kim. On my way down the road I see three girls with luggage on the other side walking up. Hmmmmm. That could be them. But I am not settled in enough yet to yell across the street. I buy my sweets and go back up the street. A guy yells "Excuse me!" from across the street. After the third "Excuse me!" I realize he's yelling after me without having any of the reservations that I had earlier. He asks for the way to I don't remember what and I yell back "Sorry, I'm not from here!" refraining from revealing my nationality this time. Back at the B&B the key is gone, and as I head back up the stairs Hoppi is about to put a sign on the door telling me that they have arrived. Horray! We hug and settle into room 5 and chat for some hours, before Hoppi and I head over to our room.

The funniest moment comes when Hoppi gets out of the bathroom after she has changed into her pyjamas: red plaid trousers and black shirt. She looks at me wearing my pyjamas: red plaid trousers and black shirt. The next morning we find out El is also wearing red plaid pyjamas. The definite proof that the forum shares a collective brain. We all hear the song of the Ood I guess. I just never figured they sing about pyjamas. Hoppi and I sample a bit more of the English TV programme and watch Never mind the Buzzcocks before we fall asleep. And I realize that sometimes things just simply work out.

Mittwoch, 22. Oktober 2008

Berowne and Hamlet

"There was a moment in the beginning of the play when he tossed a straw hat from his head onto a short, protruding tree branch. The hat landed on the branch and stayed there without a hitch. The audience erupted into enthusiastic applause. Then, David broke character for a moment, flashing us a cheeky grin and saying "every time."" Source

Liar! Every time my ass! We just laughed our heads off because he missed. *gg*

I'm back from Stratford and extensive blog entries with all the madness will follow as soon as I can get my hands on Els and Hoppis pictures. Until then I'll enjoy my new Doctor Who Season 2 DVD Box and Blackpool, and miss Stratford, English breakfast (never thought I'd say that), and my fellow travellers. And that poster is going to end up above my telly.

EDIT: Oh, I'm talking about David Tennant in case you haven't noticed. Just to make sure. *gg*

Mittwoch, 15. Oktober 2008

My current state of mind...

... in pictures:

Concerning work:








Concerning love life:








Concerning health:








And no, I don't care to elaborate.

Montag, 6. Oktober 2008

Miaauuuuuu!

Ich habe gerade festgestellt, dass ich kein Icon mit Katzen drauf habe. Nen Wookie könnt ich anbieten. Naja, egal. Im Zuge des Völkerverständigungsprogrammes auf dem Hof hier habe ich heute zwei Stunden draußen verbracht und drei kleine Katzen und einen Hund gehütet. Man ist sich nämlich noch nicht so ganz grün, besonders nicht, wenn Frauchen dabei ist. Katze Nummer Drei begrüßte mich auch gleich mit lautem Mauzen und wies mich mit exzessivem Hinken darauf hin, dass ihr das Hinterbein weh tat. Dann breitete sie sich demonstrativ auf der Katzenbank am Ende der Terrasse aus und maunzte herzerweichend weiter, bis ich begriff, dass ich gefälligst endlich hinkommen und sie liebhaben sollte, damit es nicht mehr so weh tut. Und ich hatte bisher angenommen, dass ich nur Dosenöffner und Kratzbaum bin. Katze Nummer Drei bewegte sich auch en Rest des Nachmittags nicht weg. Ich holte irgendwann den Laptop und ließ mich am Tisch neben der Katzenbank nieder, um meine Hausarbeit zu schreiben.

Keine zwei Minuten später sprang Katze Nummer Zwei auf den Tisch und stieg auf den Laptop um im Internet nach "ozzt666666666666666666666666666". Ich war schockiert. Keine zwei Minuten im Internet und schon auf der Suche nach satanistischen Seiten. *tsts* Katze Nummer Eins begann derweil mit der Maus zu spielen. Weil Katze Nummer Eins und Zwei ja fröhlich spielen konnten, stellte ich der invaliden Katze Nummer Drei das Internet und insbesondere Simon's Cat auf Youtube vor. Wenn man krank ist, dann schaut man ja auch fern. Er war auch sehr interessiert. Ich hätts vielleicht nicht machen sollen, gerade Katze Nummer Drei ist der wahrscheinlichste Kandidat dafür, mich mal mit dem Baseballschläger zu wecken. Nur heute nicht, da war er das liebste, was man sich vorstellen kann. Irgendwann lagen dann auch alle drei Katzen zu meiner rechten und der Hund zu meiner linken. Ohne Gekläffe und Gefauche. Und morgen wiederholen wir das Ganze dann. Genialerweise hab ich da hinten in der Ecke auch WLan. Und für Strom kann ich auch noch sorgen.

Freitag, 3. Oktober 2008

Sie mögen mich...

... wir kennen den Rest. :herzchen: Mein Abendprogramm ist gerettet. Entschlüsse der letzten Tage:

~ Ich werde Schäferin. Und baue Flachs an. Und werde Leinen weben.
~ Hausarbeit Nummer wird 9000 Wörter lang. In kürzer geht nicht.
~ Singlesein ist schön unkompliziert.
~ Kleine Katzenbabies, die einem ins Ohr schnurren, sind unglaublich niedlich.
~ Kevin McKidd ist ja wohl sowas von sexy als Militärarzt. Mein Vorsatz, Grey's Anatomy nicht mehr zu gucken, ist kläglich an seinem "So?!?" gescheitert. :herzchen:²

Und jetzt übergeben wir an Obi-Wan.