Today the sun shone down on me. It was literally a sunny warm day, with just a light breeze. Felt more like August than the end of October. I didn't really have to go to the university, but there was a one-hour talk about choosing titles for dissertations, so thought it might be interesting. It was only slightly interesting.
I also wanted to check out the bike auction that the Norwich Constabulary was putting on. I got there early and had a chance to view many of the few hundred bikes they were going to auction off. There was one I particularly took a shine to because it was one of the few that a) had mud guards and b) had not only a basket, but a back trap and a bell. It also had five speeds and was a pretty pinky mauve colour. It wasn't too long before "my bike" was lifted onto the platform for the bidding war, which consisted of me and one other person. I won and got this little jewel for the incredible price of £35! I was so thrilled I immediately took it for a spin around the lake, known locally as the UEA Broads.
I saw a rabbit, several people walking their dogs, and a few fishers with their large khaki golf-style umbrellas fishing at the side of the lake. There are signs asking people not to swim there because of the dangerous depths - all very exciting! I then reluctantly locked up my little beauty (had to buy a lock, darn it) and thought it would be a good idea to notice any identifying brand names (not that I wouldn't spot her by her lovely basket) so I'd be able to find her amongst the sea of other bikes when I came back. I was quite shocked to see the name "Douglas" across her V-frame. All these little signs that keep people in my mind (and my heart, I guess), lest I should forget them.
Spotted another very quaint British sign today near the big field alongside the lake. They were warning people with dogs that there will be a "Sparkles on the Lawn" evening, meaning they'll be shooting off fireworks on Hallowe'en. God I love the Brits!
I decided that since I was on campus anyway, I'd check out the Sports Centre for the first time. It's actually the largest sports facility in the UK. The young woman at the counter was very warm and helpful and gave me a brochure outlining all the facilities. The cost is minimal - £6 to join and £1 to go to the gym or take advantage of any of the other many facilities. I plan to take yoga until pilates starts up again in January. The services to students here are amazing. UBC is good, but I don't think it offers as much and at so little cost.
I came home to an email on my UEA account from a woman in my class inviting me for coffee sometime because she realizes I'm alone here and wanted to let me know I really wasn't. So, I not only got a new bike today, it seems I have a new friend too.
Tonight I celebrated with a glass of red wine and a bowl of the delicious soup I made last night - a concoction of Sunday's left over beef roast, parsnips, potato, celery, corn, and kidney beans. Not only nourishing but delicious.
Now I have to buckle down and read Elizabeth Gaskell's LIfe of Charlotte Bronte (1857) which I've downloaded free from the Gutenberg Project. I've made a vow not to buy any books while I'm here, at least if I can help it. It's the library or the Gutenberg for me. I just got rid of six huge boxes before I left Vancouver, and realize it's a little bit of an obsession with me - buying books. I really think it's time to stop accumulating "stuff" and feel I've made a very good start with this "end of year" resolution.