Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Places I'll miss about Nottingham #1: The Arboretum

My acquaintance with the Arboretum was quite a superficial one until recently. That probably goes for a lot of places in Nottingham that I've never needed to get to know well. For those of you who don't know the backstory, I have lived in my current part of town for six years and was assaulted in the street a month into that - it didn't make me very enthusiastic to wander around and explore, which had always been my habit before then. So I'm really only 'discovering' a lot of places now, in my last summer before moving away.

Anyway, the Arboretum. If you don't already know, it is right next to the tram lines, a few yards towards town from the High School stop. I've been there loads of times for events, but tended to stick to the central areas. Recently, however, I've been exploring a bit more. Of course every walk I have there starts with a circuit of the lake to visit the ducks. I've watched one particular family of ducklings grow from tiny balls of fluff to adult ducks indistinguishable from the rest of the flock to a casual observer. There are still new babies being hatched at this point, I'm a bit sad that I won't get to see them grow up. Oh, and I can't finish this paragraph without mentioning the little baby moorhens - they are the gothest baby birds ever, and they are basically balls of black fluff on massive stilts. They have the pathetic feed-me noises down to a finer art than the baby ducks too...

Working anti-clockwise from the High School entrance, the next attraction is a scented flower bed that would be somewhat maze-like if the plants came up higher. That makes a nice digression if you get bored with just doing a straightforward circuit of a park. Then there is a gun-tower - a cannon at each of the four corners and a bell at the top - which reminds me of some of the more militarily-themed tourist attractions around Helsinki. (it has loads) After that is the tunnel, which is pretty cool to walk through but rather boringly take you to a track leading to Mansfield Road. Then, if you want to get to the tram tracks, you can follow an earth/woodchip road part of the way, past more scented plants.

I've been having a walk in the Arboretum about once a week since I finished teaching for the summer. I appreciate having the time to do little things like this - it preserves my sanity to get back to the less fun stuff...

Saturday, 24 July 2010

On the move!

As many of you know, I am moving to Scotland at the end of August. I have a month and a half to pack up three years worth of life from four rooms, with the small matter of finishing a PhD at the same time. Now those of you who know me well will realise that my response to any vaguely interesting situation is to blog about it, and this, lets face it, could qualify as 'interesting times' in the sense of the ancient Chinese curse. I'm hoping however that it will also be interesting in a good way.

The packing is at a VERY early stage right now. I've divided the flat into a sorting area (the main landing), an area for piles of unsorted tat (the living room - I can just about get in there to eat and so on!) and an area for stuff that is already packed. (a small landing halfway down the stairs) All good fun, but the last of these three is the emptiest.

A few observations:
I am no good whatsoever at predicting what I will need more than a day in advance. Hence it is very difficult to pack clothes, books or kitchenware on the basis of not being able to use these for the next month and a half.
Food can in fact go bad in the freezer. Good thing I didn't put the chilli on my chips, just next to them.
Newspaper recycling is the last task on the agenda, after making sure all breakables are wrapped.
Two large boxes and one small one full of books makes hardly any dent on the main bookshelves and surrounding area, let alone the rest of the flat.
I have too many clothes. I could live happily with half as many. I cannot, however, bring myself to get rid of any individual item without a specific reason.