Poet in the House
This week's post marks a new ... hmmmm ... chapter? Scene? Stanza? in my life. It started with a new bedroom!
Like all the best stories, this one begins, “It was a dark and stormy night,” ... if you substitute torrentially wet for dark and stormy, and afternoon for night. Dad and I turned up at the Preseli building to collect my key fob and ... discovered we'd found the wrong hall! Luckily a lady from the accommodation office, who I've spoken to several times by email, , is based there and came out in time to spot me so directed us towards Preseli. So dad and I set off and ... could not spot the building ... I mean, these 12 storey tower blocks do tend to hide behind raindrops, don't they! Dad and I were pondering a You Are Here map when the lady came out, in the deluge, to point us again in the right direction ... and this time we did get there!
The afternoon was beginning to feel a lot like this, Hello Cleveland!. My key fob worked fine for the main door to Horton, and it worked fine on the security controlled door to my corridor ... but it was dead as a dodo on the door to my room! I tried half a dozen times. Dad tried half a dozen too but we were not getting into my room!
I began to think Horton was a level in Dante's Inferno ... to say it was warm was an understatement! Mum and I waited in the kitchen whilst dad went back to Preseli and reported our predicament and then started bringing my belongings up from the car to leave them in the kitchen. An accommodation engineer arrived before long and got mediaeval at the door with a pair of pliers and a blow torch. He got in and called in another engineer to replace the faulty door fob unit.
That was the excitement for the day. I had my stuff in my room and, within an hour of mum and dad departing I managed to venture to the kitchen and make myself a coffee and put a Sainsbury's sausage and pasta bake in the oven (which mum and I had labelled with a paint Braille dot so I knew which temperature I needed). I was hooked up to the wi-fi prety quick in my room and just pottered around online much of the rest of the night.
The Forces Arrive!
The arrival of fellow students was a bit like this piece of music, Entry March of the Boyars, Op. 17, by Johan Halvorsen - YouTube ... I can't remember exactly the order of arrivals but basically Alex, Benjamin and Matt (alphabeticising by first name) moved themselves in and all very kindly offered to help if ever I needed it, including with cooking.
We're Going on a Bare Hunt
As I bent down to take my socks off for bed on Thursday I realised my right foot had been parading around in its birthday suit! At some point in the proceedings of Thursday my sock had parted company from my right foot!! (It's a diabetic nerve damage thing ... I don't notice a tiny temperature or texture difference between my foot wearing a sock and it not wearing a sock.) as I chatted to Matt and Alex for the first time and they told me to ask if I needed anything, I mentioned at some point the preceding day I had been sockless and fancy free! Alex helpfully said he'd seen it in the kitchen and offered to go retrieve it for me! It's like those old Gold Blend Coffee adverts where a neighbour knocks on the door hoping to borrow some coffee ... well, sort of! ;)
Better the Devil You Know
I moved in on Thursday, settled in on Friday and then my past caught up with me on Saturday! On Saturday morning I had a message from my former Cwmbran creative writing group tutor, who let me know that she was bringing her granddaughter for a look around ... well that's how I interpreted it! I strongly advised her not to come on moving-in weekend because the campus would be hectic! ... Of course I didn't get the right end of the stick ... the granddaughter was moving in to begin studying law. so the tutor and I got to meet up and have a coffee and discuss news ... namely that the centre where I used to do the creative writing class has decided not to run it this term — there are not enough people registered to take it. In the past they'd always pro-rata how many weeks they'd run the course based on how many people were enrolled — they always want 10 people for a course to run for 10 weeks but, if only 8 sign up :(
All Roads Lead to Swansea
There are 7 of us now in my half of the floor. two from Wales, me (an honorary Welshman having lived more time in Wales than anywhere else), an American, somebody from Greece, somebody from China, and another from France. It reminds me of a time when I was looking to buy a house in Swansea and I looked at an area called the Hafod (pronounced Havod because, in Welsh, a single f is a v, a double f, as in ffordd allan (way out) is pronounced f). A former work colleague commented that Hafod was very cosmopolitan, with the very detectable implication that I shouldn't live there ... I love cosmopolitan!! ;)
The Entry of the Modules
I have an easy week next week. I have a creative writing module selection event and meet the tutors session on Wednesday morning and a socialise with classmates over a cuppa in the afternoon. I should start my mobility training on Thursday morning and might be meeting my new personal assistant (a lady from Romania) on Thursday for a trip to Sainsbury's because I'll be all out of food except for shortbread biscuits and Oreos by then! ;). On Monday I'm expecting a call from the lady who is going to give me 8 hours of tech training on my new technology (namely a new screen reader program and a new talking GPS that will, fingers crossed, allow me to navigate from Horton to the Keir Hardie building where the MA creative writing workshops are held.
My timetable this semester is as follows:
- Monday morning, 11am to 1pm, Screenwriting
- Wednesday morning, 10am to 1pm, Poetry 1
- Thursday afternoon, 2pm to 5pm, Long Form Fiction.
Polly Put the Kettle On
I left my kettlebell at home so it was a surprise to find one waiting for me in the kitchen ... well it wasn't really a kettlebell, nor a bell, it was an old style kettle with the handle above the lid. It was stainless steel. It was very much like using a kettlebell when it was full of water! I'd carry it from the side of the kitchen where it was plugged in, over to the sink where I make my drink (trust me, when you're blind it's easy to make a mess pouring water ... I did on the very first time I tried it at Horton and ended up on my hands and knees wiping up water that had run down into my cupboard with a tea towel!). Once the water was transferred into my cup I then took the kettle back to its base and ... being blind and needing to touch the kettle to line it up with the base, I pretty much scorched my fingers on the stainless steel body!
I reported this to the accommodation office who promptly delivered a replacement, which arrived just as I was on my way up the Khyber, I mean the corridor, to make another cup of coffee. I had requested one of those jug style kettles, where the kettle's body is between the hand and the steam, plus the insulated plastic body is cooler to the touch. Optimistically I entered the kitchen and discovered ... a kettle in a box. Inside the box proved to be ... exactly the same stainless steel model they had just taken away! I sent up a prayer to the Accommodation Office Gods and, truly a miricle occurred ... a new jug style kettle was delivered and it works perfectly! All was right in the world once more ... except for the French student who has no bedding and the Chinese student whose toilet won't flush! Still, overall, these en suite flats are very impressive and I' m very happy :)
Poet In the House #SwanseaUniversity #singletonParkCampus
What a weekend! It sounds like you needed that extra day to find things and build confidence. At least the American won’t be talking to a room full of mates who don’t have a clue, since you lived here so long! Where’s he from? Your schedule sounds so appealing. Right now, I’d love to live in a dorm and have three fabulous writing classes to attend every week. Make the most of this wonderful year!
He’s from Illinois. I was playing him some of my new audiobook recordings yesterday evening 🙂 (the real students were out partying in the Fresher’s tent to very loud DJ music … I’d have been there with bells on in my sighted days, LOL)
I love the timetable best of all. Enjoy every minute, Giles, and tons of luck.