London with the Core Crew

Wednesday 14 January 2015

I’ve been in London for three days now and I perhaps somewhat eagerly feel not as much a tourist but a visiting local. The sojourn over, days ago feels like a holiday ago. Where did the time go and where did it begin.

A scholarship to study in London! It was a whirlwind and bloody exciting. London always seemed to escape my travels thus far. Melbourne sure turned on the winter post sweltering summer days in a prelude to winter. A true cold winter. And it’ll feel like a double winter for me.

The plane over was an easy ride. We left Melbourne close to midnight and I almost got a full night sleep, semi recumbent, who am I kidding, almost in the upright position. Post Abu Dhabi with a short layover, the landscape truly changed. The Saudi Alps – geography was never my strong suit – I never realised the desert countries were laden with Alps stretching for thousands of kilometres all covered in snow. Snow for as long as the far as the eye can see with little obvious signs of habitation. It strikes me that I am far from home. Mount Hotham has nothing on this terrain.

Touchdown Saturday. I expect London to be similar to home. After all, England is the ‘motherland’. The streetscape is remarkably different. Terrace houses, flats, units, where are the detached house and land packages?

Welcome dinner hosted by Liz. What a remarkable host and a great way to say hi to my fellow students. We pushed though fatigue and socilaised and ate traditional British pub meals. The English know how to run a pub. If there is not a pub on every street corner, or every other corner I’ll be. Back to our digs for a well-earned rest. Sunday is a tour organised by Liz, such a gracious host.

Far from being an easy grid to understand the layout of Melbourne, London is riddled with streets set out lawlessly, no order, there is no, King / William – Queen / Elizabeth Streets to navigate from. There is Hyde Park. An impressive park that once was the private hunting park of the Royals, now open to the public. It is easy to picture a King on horseback galloping through the dotted trees and rolling grass. Monuments to the great fire, stories of the plague with dog and cat exterminations to eradicate the plague from London that only proliferated the rat population and it was the rats that spread the plague.

Monday 12 January

Study. The reason we are here. Class one and what an introduction. Sean, our lecturer, is quite the paparazzi photographer and we are his targets. He introduces himself and we introduce ourselves. Sean is as an engaging teacher as I could have hoped for. Witty, hilarious and enthusiastic to impart his knowledge. Our first site visit is to a migrant shelter. Let’s get out of the class room and into the real world.

Core London, what an experience. I can’t wait to bring you the next instalment.