Spring is on its way, and I am very glad. The nice weather has meant that spending time outside has been more pleasant, and I’m just waiting for the day I can put my big black wool coat into my suitcase for good.
I’ve been lucky to have a few very nice days lately. Last week, I had a class cancelled due to the teacher falling ill. As such, I had the rest of the day off, and I decided to take advantage of the sunshine (the first sunny day I’d seen while here) and do some exploring. I took the bus downtown, and then went for a walk down to the pier (the place pictured at the top of this blog). It looks just like it does on all the postcards, and while there were lots of rides and food stands and such, what really interested me were the little historical plaques along the pier which gave info on the pier and its surroundings. I did enjoy just watching the sea, as well.
From there, I followed the shore east for a couple of miles to the Brighton Marina Village. This village is home to ASDA (England’s Wal-Mart, but that’s not really important), the cinema, bowling alley, and some other shops. It also has a large harbor for smaller, private boats to dock. The walk there itself was quite enjoyable, and once I arrived, I got a really good chocolate gelato cone from a little Italian cafe there and then proceeded to explore the docks and pier, watching the different skippers out there using the nice weather to do some repair work on their ships.
I also have taken another trip to London for a horn lesson. The lesson went well, although we didn’t touch any music (just more long tones and a few more exercises). He did say that this next lesson, however, we will actually look at some music (which is reassuring, as I’m starting to lose my motivation in only playing exercises…). Afterwards, I took the tube from south London to Buckingham palace, where I got off and walked to St. James Park where I ate my packed lunch. From there, I walked down to the National Gallery of Art at Trafalgar Square, and spent most of my afternoon there.
No pictures are allowed in the museum, but they have quite an assortment of things. There’s a lot of religious art, which doesn’t interest me much (I found it fishy that many of these Jesus and Mary figures, who are in theory Hebrew and Jewish, were fair and blonde…), but if you get far enough along they have other things, too. The way it is set up, you have galleries that are organized by country and time period, so you can watch the progression of art through time, and see how different countries influenced others in art. My personal favorite room was the one that had impressionism in it, as I’m definitely a Monet fan, and the wing they had for Van Gogh. The last piece I saw before leaving was a Di Vinci of Mary and the Christ child, and I found that one really beautiful as well. It wasn’t a painting, but a sketch, so I don’t know if it was finished, but even unfinished, the realistic quality he had captured in their faces was stunning. I noticed that quite a few of the paintings on display were ones that had been speculated to be “unfinished.” And sometimes, they would show the “practice” or “trial runs” leading up to the masterpieces, and then show the finished masterpiece itself, which for me, the viewer, was really neat; however, I think I would be mortified if every time I performed a solo or a concert, my audience was exposed to the practice sessions beforehand.
Finally, I ended my busy week with my first concert with the Brighton and Hove Concert Orchestra on Saturday, and then by joining some friends from church the next day for my first proper Sunday roast. The Sunday roast is the traditional Sunday afternoon meal, and it’s basically like Thanksgiving–every week. There’s a roast meat of some kind (this week it was chicken, but it could be lamb, pork, or beef), potatoes and parsnips roasted in olive oil, stuffing, mashed carrots and sweed (kind of like mashed potatoes, only drier), peas, and Yorkshire pudding all drowned in gravy. Pudding is a very interesting word. In the States, we think of it as something smooth, somewhat liquid-y, and made by Jell-O. Here, though, I learned it is actually just the word for anything that’s a dessert. That being said, Yorkshire pudding is not a dessert item, or even really sweet. It’s a type of bread that you cook by placing a small amount of thin batter in a muffin tin with olive oil, and the batter soaks up all the oil and bakes into a large bowl-shaped pastry, and you eat it with gravy. When I asked the host why they called it Yorkshire pudding, if it isn’t even eaten as a dessert, her answer was “To confuse Americans.” I’m not sure if that’s true or not, but if it is, it worked. Anyway, overall, everything was really good, but I don’t think I could eat it once a week.
And with that, it’s time for a post-colonial lit class. Happy Wednesday!