Friday-Euston to Strickland Junction (really Oxenholme) for the Lake District
"Hayfever" was pretty good, but not the best vehicle for Judi Dench, I
think. She can be much more subtle than the play is, I think.
I took a rest and then saw "Two Thousand Years" on Thursday evening. It
wasn't very exciting, since I know all those people in real life. It
was well done, but...
I discovered an amusing little bit of language yesterday. I'm suffering
from a bit of fungus ("tinea cruris"), and found that the British
popular name for it is "dhobi itch" (US "jock itch"). Since dhobi is
the Indian term for clothes washing (apparently used commonly by British
armed forces), and I had a lot of that done, it's entirely appropriate.
I'm on a very crowded train now, headed north to the Lake District to
camp out in the rain. The TARS meeting is at a school in Coniston, and
accommodation that didn't require an automobile over the Bank Holiday
weekend was beyond my capabilities, so I had a tent, sleeping bag and
pad shipped over, and will spend three nights in the campground.
They'll provide all meals, so cooking equipment wasn't necessary.
So, It's now the Tuesday morning, and I didn't send that out last night.
I'm on another train, to Falmouth this time, to visit the newer,
Cornwall, part of the National Maritime Museum. Some of the collection
came from the now-defunct maritime museum in Exeter, that I visited a
number of years ago. I'm still hoping to get some access to Poldhu, but
since the TARS AGM will be in Falmouth two years from now, I can put
that on the to-do list for then.
This AGM was brilliant, except for the food service. The venue was the
John Ruskin School, a middle school in the village of Coniston. Meals
were uniformly late, and since there were two seatings for dinner, of
necessity, we lost that bonding experience to some degree. There were
boat cruises on Coniston Water both Saturday and Sunday evenings, with
even those being divided between two boats, and there were also talks
and activities both evenings, so I think we didn't cohere quite as well
as we've done in the past. Shared interests brought us together, and
shared activities help us maintain that.
TARS provided coffee and tea available at all times, and that was
perfect, since we'd often come in cold and/or wet from our activities
(including sleeping), and a hot drink was just right.
The highest point was Gabriel Wolfe, who has done taped abridged
readings of all twelve books of the major canon, reading some of the
best sections from a few of them, and a portion of a "13th book" of his
own creation. I personally think that he did a good job of what he
wrote, but am definitely ambivalent (right!!) about others adding to the
canon. OTOH, I also have bought the Amazon Publications edition of such
a book, written long ago when the author was a young reader who'd gotten
to the end of the dozen.
I camped, for the first time at an AGM, and it worked pretty well. The
tent was just the right size, and stood up to the rain and high winds
very well, unlike some others. The bag and pad were quite comfortable,
also, although I needed my fleece PJ layer on the last night, since it
was clear and cold. In keeping with the stereotypical image of English
schools, the showers provided were pretty cold, and I was the only one I
actually saw using them. I'd have been more comfortable in one of the
nearby hostels, but will camp in the future if the situation calls for
it. The next two, Southampton and Falmouth, will have residential
facilities available, and I'll take advantage of that.
I'm now in Falmouth, sitting at the cafe at the NMM. It's a brilliant
museum, and I've been to a few. It's got just the right mix of history,
science and "toys", in my opinion. They've got a photo exhibition of
Cornish shipwrecks on now and I just wish I could be here longer, or
earlier, too. They had a dramatized production of the life of Tom Crean
in mid-March, and on Wednesday a week they have a talk on the "Flying
Enterprise". That's of particular interest, both because I remember the
interest and tension when it happened (my father had been a merchant
seaman); and the fact that Captain Carlsen was a radio amateur, and used
his equipment and knowledge to communicate after he'd sent the rest of
his crew to safety and stayed on the ship himself.
The JAMES CAIRD is here, in an exhibit on survival and endurance at sea,
including shipwreck survivors and solo sailors of all sorts. I want to
investigate the possibilities of training to live on cat-naps, like
Ellen MacArthur (patron of the NBT, BTW) has apparently done.
I stayed at the Falmouth Hotel, a very nice historic hotel a short walk
from the station and the Museum, with incredible views in both seaward
and harbor directions. My only gripe is that I was overlooked at dinner
last night for 42 minutes after I was seated. I was three minutes from
walking out, when someone realized I'd been neglected. The food was
quite good, though.
Unfortunately, the tides preclude my taking a water taxi to Truro to
catch the mainline train to London, but it was worth investigating. And
perhaps I, and other TARS, can use that facility in 2008. I'll suggest
it to the Southern Region organizers.