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Archive for March, 2016

A Good Week In Londontown

March 23rd, 2016 at 02:57 pm

It's been another fun week with really good classes, not much spending, and lots of adventures. I had my hair cut and colored last week, and got an unexpected e-mail later from the salon about the colorist wanting to re-do the color. I thought it looked great, but if she wants to re-do it for free in two weeks, I'm all for it. It'll stretch the next appointment a bit.

Another highlight was a fun coffee date with a former colleague.

And today I took my British Life and Culture class to the Sky Garden in the heart of the "City," London's financial hub. It's has an amazing garden and beautiful view spot on the 35th floor of an office building they call the Walky-Talky. We always go for coffee on Wednesdays, and although you have to book , it's just a normal casual coffee shop in the morning. It was a cloudy day, but fabulous anyway. Lots of fun and lots of memories for them and me.

Magic Continues

March 10th, 2016 at 03:15 am

Yep, another wonderful week here. I was getting a little restless last weekend, but this week has been great. Monday saw my British Lit class on a little walking tour of literary sites. Tuesday the British Women Writers class was on fire with a fabulous discussion and then all students (and me) went to see The Lion King. I think they loved it more than me, but the spectacle was very good. I couldn't sleep after all that, but classes went fine. The best part, however, was the surprise invitation from a colleague to the British Antiques Dealer Show. He'd bought things there before and had free tickets--complete with a champagne reception. So, I got to rub shoulders with the fancy antique types, look at some fantastic paintings, silver, ceramics (oh the Art Nouveau bowl), and furniture, have a lovely (and cheap) dinner, and several glasses of free Taittinger champagne. I spent 12 GBP on dinner; my colleague wouldn't let me buy him dinner, had a magnificent crab salad and a wonderful evening. Someone remind me of this when I'm decluttering and selling crud from my basement this summer.

Lovely Evening

March 5th, 2016 at 07:28 am

I managed to rouse myself out of my semi-illness to go to a poetry reading at the National Theatre last night. It was a benefit for Amnesty International and cost me a whopping 4 GBP (about $6). For that I heard ten writers, actresses, and reporters read "Poems That Make Grown Women Cry." It was a geek-heaven experience for me as half the poems they read are poems I teach. And some of these women are legends--Edna O'Brien, Juliet Stevenson, Maureen Lipman, and Vanessa Redgrave. I swooned.
I had a small dinner there and walked for 30 minutes--just across the river Thames and up Charing Cross Road, through Leicester Square, and up to Tottenham Court Road to catch the tube. I stopped several times to etch the silhouette of St. Pauls in my brain as I stood on the Jubilee Bridge. But I was exhausted when I got home, took a hot bath and slept for 12 hours.

I especially appreciate snafu's advice (as always) about Rome. I'm going to rethink it for my last full weekend here. The weather may be slightly better in April, and hopefully I'll be at 100% then.

I've got a full slate this week as I've asked my students for dinner, am going to the theatre on Tuesday, and I need to be at full strength.

What I've Been Up To

March 4th, 2016 at 04:46 am

It's been a lovely few weeks in Londontown, punctuated by a trip to Nice with my girlfriends. I'm really trying to relish every single moment. It's going to be tough to go back to real life in six weeks.

Amazingly Nice didn't cost too much. It's off season, and I shared a room with my Minnesota girlfriends who flew over to join me. Six nights with breakfast and a balcony overlooking the Med cost less than $300 each. With the flight under $100 (thanks to my BA Avios), and the wonderful bus system there, it was just dinners and some misc. spending. We went back to Eze on a day trip, also Villefranche and the fabulous Rothschild villa and gardens, and Antibes and Vence all on the bus. A seven-day bus pass cost 15 Euros (less than $20), and with the enormous breakfast buffet, we rarely ate lunch--just coffee or wine and pastry.

I've had two no-spend days since coming home Sunday, but am off to the National Theatre tonight and will have dinner there too. Next week my students are coming here for dinner ( I think), so there will be a little more grocery spending. They are such super-nice girls; my best group ever.

They were in Scotland while I was in France, and one of the California students slipped at a castle and had a compound leg fracture. She's still in the hospital there. Ugh.

In my very charmed life, I'm trying to decide whether to go to Rome next weekend with a friend. Hotel and airfare is about $500, but I came home with a cold and I'm kind of tired. I'm also fretting a little about money--though I don't think I've spend much--certainly less than in previous years. May all decisions be so nice. I'll post a photo from Eze--a hilltown outside of Nice.