Third Time’s A Charm? Except At Lancaster Castle

A view of Lancaster Castle

I’m racking my mind for some interesting occurrences over the past couple of days, and the very first thing that comes to mind is that I still have not been in the castle in Lancaster. I’ve been saying I’m going to it for about a week now, and every time I get remotely close, I get routed to some shop in town, mainly Sainsbury’s. Three times (to be precise) I’ve tried to go, and three times I’ve failed.

Today, I was right at the foot of it. I swear, I was! But, Sainsbury’s (the British equivalent to Walmart) beckoned, and lo! the essentials needs of a student at uni must be fulfilled. Possibly this weekend?

On the whole, this week has been successful so far. I’ve finally managed to pinpoint where my classes are AND how to get there. I’ve had my history classes so far, digital history and the political history of the late medieval British isles. I’ve yet to have my English class on Renaissance to Restoration literature, but that is tomorrow. Speaking of, I really need to do my reading…ah, procrastination. Good to know some habits never die, even when one crosses borders, or oceans.

My schedule, when compared to home, is extremely light. I have one class Mondays, two on Tuesdays, none on Wednesdays, one on Thursdays, and three on alternating Fridays (one of my seminars are every other week). I am optimistic about my classes. My first class of the week, digital history, is going to present a stimulating challenge to me. It is involving using computing and historical sources together, especially Excel, Dreamweaver, and database management systems like Access. Fortunately, I’ve used Excel before, but I’ve never used many other Microsoft programs but for Publisher, Word, and Powerpoint. Even after being 20 minutes late to the practical (since I couldn’t find my classroom to save my life), the professor explained things to me. We have a practical to print out every week and two hours to do it. In the first one, where we used census records from the early 1900s, I expanded my knowledge of Excel about a hundredfold (which goes to show you my expansive experience in the first place!). I enjoyed it, and I very much like the professor. My lectures are not compulsory, but I’d rather go to them since I stand to learn much from him.

Even more amusing, if just as informative, was my other history class. The professor, named Sandy Grant. And yes, I spelled that right. His real name is Alexander, but he goes by Sandy. He was an older gent, and in a lecture about three times the size I’m used to, I struggled to hear him. But, I was immediately struck by the resemblance he bears to my advisor back home. He likes to swear, dislikes technology, knows his material and knows how to present it, and rambles. The only real differences were the lack of a loud voice and about 25 years. He gives us our lecture notes so I won’t have to take too many of my own, and there is no text book. It is a change, to be sure, but I could get used to it. No gigantic, 2 ton history text books to lug around? Definitely a change for my poor back!

I’m partaking in only one club this term, I think: the History Society. Come as any surprise? Our first event is a Murder Mystery which brings back to mind my own Carroll Players and the Murder Mystery Dinner we did last year. At Lancaster, we are acting the parts of suspects in the murder of Henry Darnley, the husband of Mary Queen of Scots. He was murdered in 1567 in Kirk O’Field, Edinburgh, Scotland, and his murder has never really been solved. This is only partially based on the actual historical event, but it will be fun nonetheless. And, already I have met my English counterpart, Jess. For the Tudor aficionada I am, she shares the same love. I’m very much looking forward to indulging the geeky side of me. 🙂

The travel bug has hit me again. I have not planned any concrete trips, but I’m tossing the idea of Cardiff in Wales around. There is a well-preserved castle at Cardiff, and the longer I’m in England, the more I want to explore castles and the smaller, lesser known areas of the country. Furthermore, there may be a trip to the Lakes District (a friend of mine is from there) and York as well. Well, that is about I have for now, and I’m sure there will be an update this weekend. Cheers!

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