Friday, September 30, 2011

London - Day Three

With nervous excitement on a grey weather day, The Heiress and I packed up heaps of belongings and made our way to the street outside the Morgan Hotel.  With the lift of a finger a cabbie stopped and piling everything in we were on our way to St Pancras station by 8:30 am.  Thankfully a couple of the attendants at the gate had us in stitches with their witty repartee and by the time the cosy train left the station any sign of butterflies had disappeared.

The gorgeous countryside whizzed by while we noted the similarities and differences in the landscape.  After an hour we pulled into the Canterbury West station and joined groups of other students struggling with their own heaps of belongings.  With apologies to yet another cab driver for piling such heft into his car, we were off at last to where The Heiress would call home for the next twelve months.  Pictured above is the view from her room of the quadrangle of dorms.

Students dressed in matching t-shirts circled around us bubbling with information about registration, banking, student cards, grocery shopping and bus passes.  And lots of smiles!  While The Heiress sorted out the details I passed some time chatting and laughing with some local transit employees in a double-decker bus (if you stand still for even a minute, I will make friends with you!)  It was brought on site as a location for students signing up for the discounted bus pass and what a deal.  Regularly priced at 240 GBP it was on offer for 150 GBP.  You needed your student card to register which would have meant more waiting for me so The Heiress said that if I had had enough she would take care of it later.  "Do it now and I'll pay, do it later and you pay" I said to her.  Guess which one she chose...

With most of the paperwork taken care of we hopped on a bus that took us to the city centre to buy some utensils and see about a bank.  Quaint shops, high street shops, streams of people shopping and bewildered students filled the streets and cobbled lane ways.  We squealed with delight at the sight of bunting draped across the road!  Determined to try a pasty, even if it wasn't an authentic one, we were thrilled to find a West Cornwall Pasty Shop to have lunch in.  They were delicious and just what these weary travellers needed.  With the details seen to The Heiress desperately wanted to explore the shops and since the train station was around the corner and the day was getting on it was time to part ways.  So unceremoniously, in front of Patisserie-Valerie and throngs of people, we hugged and attempted through tears to say a few words.  And that was it...she was gone, I didn't dare look back.  Then I came upon an Oxfam bookshop and was soon all smiles again!

Crossing a bridge on my way to the train station, dragging an empty suitcase behind me, I knew The Heiress had made the perfect choice.  To be challenged by her academic peers surrounded by such a gorgeous landscape in a country we've admired from afar for many years would be a dream come true for The Heiress.  And to top it all off she has already landed a job as a student mentor! 

With my own sense of accomplishment I boarded the train back to London.  And as usual, asking at least one person on the platform and one on the train about its destination to make sure that I didn't end up in Wales.  I opened my copy of Jane Austen's Persuasion and sat back to enjoy the quiet.  Once back in London I took myself on a walking tour of Bloomsbury in the mist, it suited my melancholy mood but the next day I'd be meeting Rachel, Simon and Mary and I couldn't wait!


  1. Beautiful setting to spend the next few years, your daughter is blessed to be in such a setting and to have a mother like you to help her on her way.

    Enjoy your weekend and Jane Austen.

  2. What a lovely place to study in. My heart leapt when I read about your parting, I know what it was like when I moved away for the first time from home and that was only for 8 weeks!

  3. So glad you've written about my home town, I can picture all the places you're mentioning. Then to discover you read Persuasion on the way back. Two very dear things in one post. How is your daughter finding Canterbury & the university now she's been there a little longer?

  4. Your daughter is in for such an exciting year... how wonderful!

  5. I've just been catching up on your trip. How wonderful. I remember that shaky bench in the IWM! I'm so glad the Oxfam bookshop cheered you up, did you buy anything?

  6. Yes - like Lyn I want to know if you bought anything in Oxfam. I hope T is getting on ok! I am impressed at your relaxed approach to it all - I'm sure it was far more stressful when I went to university and that was only 3 hours away.

  7. Elizabeth, Oh that is so nice of you to say, thank you.

    Jo, Aaaw, hopefully you settled in quickly!

    Joan, I'm sure we've lost her to Canterbury and she is in awe of her professors. Everyone has been so welcoming and today she is off to Whitstable! We couldn't be more thrilled for her. You're very lucky to live in such a gorgeous place packed with history and breathtaking architecture.

    JoAnn, Oh to be that age with such an opportunity *sigh*.

    lyn, I screamed the first time I visited that bench in 2009! Well, it suddenly occurred to me that if was browsing the shops she might just stroll in and we'd have tears I left empty-handed. No worries though, the next day was Charing Cross Rd!

    Verity, The Heiress is doing fabulously well! She misses cuddles with Deacon most of all I think. And see my comment to Lyn about the Oxfam shop...stay tuned for book details to come!

  8. I'm glad she is doing well :) She should have a blog about her adventures in England!

  9. You're both very brave--this is so exciting for the Heiress--is she just studying there for a year or will she stay to take her degree there?

  10. Darlene I am loving catching up on your adventures after having no home internet for a week! What a lovely time you had and such a sad goodbye, though I am very glad to hear that the Heiress is settling in marvellously. I forgot to ask - did you see the ducking stool? Also for next time the cathedral is well worth a visit - so beautiful!