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The last week of term.

July 7, 2008

Suffice it to say it’s been a really nice week. I sort of took it as a “vacation” week, since I start right in on the MA on Monday, and this is all the break I’m going to get. We had lots of school festivities. On Tuesday we had the annual raku firing all day, with Ingrid making pizzas in a clay oven all evening, and good company (and fire) into the night. Wednesday, the books department set up an exhibition downstairs for our private viewing with invited professionals, which took place on Thursday.

(My display space)

(More photos of the exhibition can be seen here)

Then on Thursday night, a bunch of students slapped gluey newspaper onto cardboard to make 8 piñatas for the Awards Day party to be held on Saturday. Kajsa later decorated them as the heads of the various West Dean tutors. They were a riot.

Friday was the 4th of July, which, obviously…isn’t exactly recognized here in England. Back home my family has a tradition of going hiking on the 4th (indeed, we even have a song that was spontaneously invented one year…and is now sung every year). So I decided to take the whole day and go “hiking.” Actually, the South Downs are gorgeous and hilly, so I did get some nice uphill/downhill walking in. My goal was to make it to Kingly Vale, which is aprox. 5 miles away, and back. Kingly Vale is a protected yew forest, and some of the trees are perhaps the oldest living things in Britain. Some of the trees in the deeper parts of the forest are at least 2000 years old. I wasn’t always exactly sure where I was going (I had at least printed out a map for myself, and I had a good overall sense of direction–so it was kind of fun trying to find a place I’d heard of but never visited), but I was glad for maps withing the reserve, because at one point I did almost head further West across the Vale, which would have made for a much longer hike…

The beginning of the forest (above)

My seat for lunch (above)

tangle of yew branches (above)

View from the top

(Complete album from the hike can be seen here)

Friday night, Sarah Jane (who is English, but dating Zach who is American) had a bbq in her back garden and so I got to have my 4th of July burger–and Toby and Rosalee even had sparklers for us all. Somehow it was nice to be celebrating Independence Day on English soil with English and American (and Scottish) friends. As I joked to my family, while I’m glad to be free from England’s tyrannical reign, ; ) I’m also glad we’re friends with England again, and that they let me come back to study. :)

Saturday was awards day. I guess I’m officially a post-graduate! Much like my graduation from BYU last summer, it was a bit anti-climactic, especially in light of the 10 grueling weeks of thesis-writing/projects to come, but still, it was a really really nice day. Cally and Eva, friends from church, came. So I got to show them around the workshops. Each workshop had an end-of-year exhibition and doh–I forgot to take photographs. The musical instruments and tapestry (woven for Stirling Castle) were so exquisite. I sometimes forget what amazingly gifted craftspeople I associate with on a daily basis

We celebrated last night with a hog roast and by smashing the heads (piñatas) of our tutors.
The rain stayed away, and while it was cold for July, it was a great day.

(Complete album from the day can be seen here)

In spite of being up until 1:30 (and I left earlier than many), I still managed to catch the 8:40 am bus for church at 10. After church I took a long nap. :)

Tomorrow, the thesis-marathon begins!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Robby permalink
    July 7, 2008 1:41 am

    What beautiful photos. It makes me jealous… :)

  2. zstitches permalink
    July 7, 2008 4:50 am

    I think England recognizes the 4th of July — they just don’t celebrate it as Independence Day. (Sorry — I always notice that one when I see it nowadays.)

    Hooray for Sunday naps — I *really* needed one today. Dean got sick last night (maybe food poisoning? He seems mostly better by tonight) so I was at church alone with the kids (this after having them up ’til 11 the last two nights for fireworks/parties) and the kids were NOT well-behaved in Sacrament Meeting.

  3. July 7, 2008 7:02 am

    It certainly differs from my dark dank zone

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