Now that was the busiest weekend I've had in a while!
Friday was results day for James, Tim and I, so it was a kind of stressful day waiting for those! Tim came down to Brighton in the morn, and was waiting for a phonecall from his friend in Brum @ 12 (he ended up with a 2:1 in env. science and GIS in the end, so he was v pleased). James officially passed his PGCE at masters level in the morning =) so he's got half the credits needed for a masters in education now, which is pretty cool! And I had to wait 'til 4 for mine to come out! So we walked down to the seafront, had scampi and chips on the beach, and looked around town a little to kill a bit of time. When we eventually got in to uni just before 4 there were tonnes of computer science/AI/IT/multimedia students and lecturers hanging about outside our building, sitting on the grass, and I assumed they must all be waiting for the results, until I saw Del and it became clear that I was somewhat late! There were all these tables outside with strawberries and champagne bottles (empty! darn lecturers!) , and there was this printed off list of names, grouped by degree class, just lying on the table! Apparently they had been out since 12, so all that waiting for nothing! Lol, anyway, Del kindly congratulated me and showed me the list, it was amazing: Del, Sacha, Ali, Tom x 2, Neil, and I all got 1sts, and Tegan got a 2:1! I'm so pleased! Everyone had to work so hard for that! Oh yeah, and another bit of good news I heard on Friday, Fahd got a first in physics, so he's off to Cambridge to do a phd next year, that's grand!
Anyway, the rest of the day was spent hanging around uni eating strawberries in the sunshine, then after a celebratory takeaway and film, we went out to Walkabout in town for a dance, sat on the beach to recover our ears from the live band in there, and then headed off back to the flat for sleeeep!
On Saturday morning we got up bright and early to pack up the car with more stuff from the flat to take back to Oxted --it was packing to the extreme -- with roughly 5 cm squared breathing space remaining, we headed off to Birmingham, via home!
Next stop, Oxford. We had a couple of hours wandering around the town, and ate lunch in the University botanical gardens. They're really nice actually, they even have a couple of little kew gardens style hot houses full of rainforest flora; I am always disappointed by the absense of sloths and things in those places though, but I guess the jungle insects and arachnids wouldn't be too fun. The river actually runs alongside the gardens too, so we could see people punting past whilst we were walking around! We must go back there sometime when we have a bit more time for exploring..
We arrived in Brum in the early evening, and had a quick guided tour of the town and Aston uni campus from Tim. There are some really grand old Victorian dark red buildings, juxtaposed with modern shop frontages.. Bar Med, HSBC, lol, it's the same in every British city I think, apart from maybe York where they still house amazing tea rooms and things that have been there since the 1800s. I remember Bill Bryson making this observation actually, in 'Notes from a Small Island', along with the point about the spread of clone towns across the country: how you can almost go to any town in the UK and expect to find a WHSmiths, Woolworths, and a Boots. Its so true! (Side note: apparently Guildford is the worst offending clone town in the country, lol). Anyway, I was actually impressed by the revamp of Birmingham that is in progress, the centre of town is an architectural dream, every new building is a work of art, and the whole place is almost entirely pedestrianised! I'll post some pictures of the bullring in a while (the ex largest shopping centre in Europe).
Brum seems to like doing things to the extreme, they have the largest Gamestation shop, and even the Wetherspoons we went to for supper had the longest bar in Europe, lol, either that or Tim was just trying to impress us. We met up with some of his uni mates for the evening, all with wierd and wonderful nicknames, and one of whom looked almost entirely unlike James, but his brother didn't. Apparently. Probably as similar as I look to Mena Suvari -not very. Lol, anyway, that was cool, it was quite entertaining watching this guy try and drink beer with sour cream and jalapeno peppers mixed in, for some reason. Students! We finished up at a place called Snobs, where the bouncer stole my crisps, unbelievable, and finally got back to halls very sleepy indeed.
Yesterday morn then, I woke up and took pity on James having driven us all the way up there, and starting a new job Monday too, so I decided to drive us back! Tim decided to stay up there to pack up his stuff, and see a few last friends, or not to risk his life with my driving, lol. We were on the road by just after 8, and arrived in Stratford-upon-Avon before anyone had woken up! We did all the touristy things like posing in front of the Royal Shakespeare Company building, visiting Shakespeare's birthplace, and taking photos of all the random actors wandering about the place in costume! It's a really cool place, we're hopefully going to go back there later in the summer to see Anthony & Cleopatra with Patrick Stewart in! We got some nice cornish pasties for lunch, and even a pudding pastie (banana & chocolate!!!) to share, which we ate by the river, before hiring a rowing boat to play with for half an hour! So much fun! =)
We actually managed to get back home just after 2 yesterday afternoon, not at all bad for a day's work! Update: Oh, doh, we forgot to go to CadburyWorld!! ;P