Food, Movies and Rain
Well, the second semester is over. I had three modules (or subjects) this semester and I’ve officially passed one of them. I’m nervously confident (if that makes sense) about the other two.
But onto more important things… the weather at the beginning of this week was quite nice so the British tradition of springtime BBQs was in full force in Headingley. Maybe people only BBQ when (a) it’s warm enough to wear shorts comfortably (b) guys feel can they go shirtless outside without freezing and (c) folks feel they won’t get rained on. I actually envy those people who have been able to BBQ because a good BBQ always looks so cool. Last weekend, I saw so many BBQs in front of student houses in Headingley going on well into the evening.
Fortunately, I got in on the fun last Wednesday. While it wasn’t a BBQ, my coursemates and I were able to enjoy some outdoor fun over good fun. We organized a picnic on the Acre and while not of all my coursemates were able to make it, several of the PhD folks joined us as well as a couple of professors. I brought out the brownies – like I did for a Research Methods lecture. Most of the brownies weren’t eaten 😦 but there was no shortage of junk food to go around as well as good chatter.
(I should mention that the Acre is a big grassy area on the Headingley campus that’s flanked by several buildings. It’s a popular place for students to lie down and do nothing, play around with a football [both the American version and the European one] or toss a Frisbee. Right now, being relatively close to the end of May, I’ve seen students just chill on the Acre until like 8 p.m. – when it’s sunny).
Unfortunately, good news regarding the weather in this country usually doesn’t last too long 😦 I really think the line about the weather in Boston (“If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes”) applies here. The day following the picnic on the Acre, Christina invited us to have a BBQ at her place. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other ideas 😦 So the gathering was moved indoors but as always, the food and chatter were fun. I get have the impression that other fun outings will be ruined by rain.
Even more disappointing than the constant rain is the return of the cold. The last couple of me days have seen me wear sweatshirts outside. It’s close to the end of May, for crying out loud!
But don’t despair – there is plenty of fun to be had indoors in Leeds… and near my flat. I’m sure I’ve mentioned in this blog that I live near the Hyde Park Picture House, which is celebrating its centenary this year. I’ve spent a lot of time there in the past week as I have more time to catch up on some independent and non-Hollywood films.
Twice in the last several days, I’ve seen Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises, which is the swansong of his epic career. The Wind Rises has come to the UK recently and the Hyde Park Picture House has promoted the film by putting an image from it on the cover of its brochure. Why did I go see it twice? Well, on Monday, I felt a bit sleepy during the film and I probably missed some parts of it. I have a terrible habit of becoming sleepy in cinemas. In addition, I felt like I didn’t totally understand the film. So I saw it again on Friday.
(Believe it or not, I saw Christina in the Picture House watching the film. Always great to see Japanese cinema supported 🙂 Actually, on Monday and Friday, decent crowds attended the screenings of The Wind Rises. Pretty much, that’s been the case for every film I’ve attended at the Picture House.)
As for more cinema fun, I saw an Australian film named Tracks yesterday with Trish. I had actually never heard of it until last Monday. But while waiting for The Wind Rises to start, I saw the trailer for Tracks and the film looked very interesting. I mentioned it to Trish and oddly enough, she said she met the book’s author in Australia. She was interested in coming along, so that was wonderful.
Okay, what’s Tracks about? It’s about a journey taken by a woman named Robyn Davidson across the Australian Outback in 1977 with some camels and her dog. She writes about her expedition for National Geographic (Davidson was accompanied throughout the journey by a photographer).
It’s a movie that brought more amazement than enjoyment. Mainly because she trekked more than 1,700 miles. I would love to explore the Australian Outback but I could never survive several days there, let alone several months.
I’d definitely watch Tracks again – Having not read the book, I didn’t have any preconceived notions so it was easier for me to enjoy.
If I feel like splashing the cash, the Hyde Park Picture House will see more of me 🙂