Kenyon College

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Some things - Bath & Other

A couple of weeks ago, we went to Bath to see a rugby game. We spent a good part of the day wandering around Bath in search of the elusive music shop. The best music shop turned out to be the first one we found, and it was obscured by scaffolding. Guitars lined the walls and floor, and it was staffed by a cheeky long-haired fellow and several skinny lads who I could only assume were his underlings. He seemed like the sort of music shop employee who would enjoy having underlings.

An exchange:
Me: "Can I hold a guitar?"
Him [pausing for an uncomfortable moment to assess me]: "Yeah, it looks like you could hold one."

I smiled in a resigned sort of way, and perhaps mumbled something appreciative, and led him over to the guitar I wanted. And there was a certainty in my heart as I held it. I would post a picture, but its beauty cannot be captured by the photographs on the internet. All you need to know is that it is made of an exotic wood called Bubinga, and it is quite simply the most beautiful creature that human hands have ever crafted.

It's a Tanglewood, which I feel is an appropriately poetic name, and on the back it says "Tanglewood Guitar Company - United Kingdom," and I love it.

I got a bag for it and we ate pasties for lunch. A pre-game pint of Guinness later, we were off to the stadium, where we queued orderly for a bit, then shuffled to the wrong seats, as we were to realize later on. It was all okay, though it was a bit cold. A rugby game goes something like this: there are men running for two seconds, then there is a tangled knot of dudes sort of trying to give birth to the rugby ball, then there is a second more of running before another knot gathers violently, and so on. It was entertaining, and Bath Rugby beat Edinburgh, a fact I attribute entirely to the man behind us who would yell every five minutes at the top of his lungs, "COME ON YOU BATH BOYS!" His voice thundered over the field like a war cry. I hugged my guitar.

More on trains:

Just the other day it was Christmas Eve, and I had to wake up quite early to catch a train to London Paddington. I curled up as the train was pulling out of Exeter St. David's, passed out, and woke an hour later to fields of snow going by out the window. I was delighted, as I was living with the certainty that I would never see snow in the UK. How wrong I was! It was grand.

Paddington station is freezing and full of people carting bags and children and clustering around the arrivals and departures screens. I both love it and hate it. This conflict probably arises out of the tension between my love of trains, and my dislike for crowds and waiting in the cold.

Nevertheless, I picked up my charge-for-twelve-days at Paddington, and we caught the 12:06 back to Exeter. This was a journey spent in the vestibule, listening to the mumbling train manager joking with us over the speakers about delays caused by someone pilfering the copper out of some vital electrical component, and how we may have to divert etc, etc, and it all added up to the train running 1 hours 41 minutes late.

As concerns Christmas, it just isn't the same when the country you're in doesn't do pumpkin pie. This caused me several moments of incredulous despair.

That is all I have at the moment. In the next few days my charge and I will be going to London, and from there tunnelling to Paris for the new year. More on this later!

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