Sep 20, 2007

A Quick Hello and Some New Books

Taking this picture was one of the first things I did after arriving to the UK. Not exactly intentionally – I flew to London and then I had to take a train to Nottingham. The train left from St Pancras, which is right next to King’s Cross, so it was on the way. But yeah, taking this picture made me extremely happy. I stood in front of Platform 9 ¾ for some 10 minutes, and in that time several groups of people went to have their pictures taken there. Some would approach it reluctantly, as if they were ashamed; others would come with big grins and take their times. But what they all had in common was that they left smiling. It was really nice to be there watching people come and go for a little while. It was as if that place had a bit of the magic from the books.

As for book news, I haven’t been able to get much reading done. Almost a week has gone by and I’m still only a third of the way into The God of Small Things. Hopefully things will calm down soon and I’ll have more time to read. I am really enjoying it, so I can't wait to be able to devote the proper amount of time to it.

I have managed to fit some book buying into my schedule, though :P There’s a street in Beeston, the neighbourhood where I will most likely be living, that has some 8 charity shops where used books are sold for great prices – normally under £1.50. Some are a bit battered, but most are in very good condition. You can tell they’ve only been read once. So, on my first two days here I got the following books for a total of less than £3:
  • Watership Down by Richard Adams, which I will be reading for the Four-Legged Friend Challenge.

  • Miss Wyoming by Douglas Coupland – he’s one of my favourite authors and I haven’t read this one yet.

  • The Virago Book of Ghost Stories – a hardcover copy in perfect condition. It includes authors like E. Nesbit, Angela Carter, A. S. Byatt and Charlotte Brönte. It’d be perfect for short story Sunday – if only I had the time to read it!

  • Robin Hood by Antonia Fraser – I figured that while I’m in Nottingham I just have to read a retelling of this legend.

  • The Zigzag Way by Anita Desai – I am not familiar with the author, but one of her other books was short listed for the Booker prize. I was drawn to this one because of the cover, and by the fact that the story is set in Mexico and involves the Day of the Dead.
And don't get me started on all the great books I saw but didn't get. Even books I am not particularly interested in - you can find copies of popular books in great condition that would be perfect for trading on BookMooch.

Other than the stress of house-hunting, I’ve been having a very nice time here. The university campus is absolutely gorgeous – lots of trees, big lawns, nice buildings, crows and squirrels everywhere. Half of the time I feel like I am inside Pamela Dean’s Tam Lim. I like how the campus has an old, almost haunted feel to it. If I happen to be here on All Hallows Eve I think I will be scared of running into the Queen of Faeries and her court. The city centre seems lovely too, but I haven’t had the time to explore it properly because I've been spending my days looking for a place near the university. I have created a Picassa account with some pictures of the city and the campus, so if anyone wants to take a look just click here.

I miss reading everyone’s blogs. The place I am probably going to move in to has Internet access, to hopefully I will be able to visit you all again regularly from next week on.


  1. What a cool picture! I'm envious.

    I'm also glad you checked in. I've been wondering about you a bit. And, I'm also envious on that level, too.


  2. What a fun picture and experience at the train station! Glad to hear you're having fun, and I hope you'll be plugged in again soon.

  3. Platform 9 3/4! That's awesome :p

    The city is beautiful!! I just checked out your Picassa album and it's like a dream. What I wouldn't give to live somewhere overseas for awhile. I'd just love to live somewhere with more history than we have here in the States. Nottingham is quickly going onto my places to visit list after your recent blogs and I'm really looking forward to your posts while you're there.

    Glad to hear that you made it safely and that things seem to be going good! And I see that you've already found the bookstores ;) That's great that you're reading Robin Hood while you're there! That should be a cool experience.

    Hope things continue to go well for you and your boyfriend. Good to hear from you :)

  4. Glad you made it to UK safe. Ah, I was smiling when I saw this picture at the platform with the trolley. Yes, it is a picture that HAD be taken! And like a good bookbug you grativate towards a bookstore! :)

    I didn't know Antonia Fraser wrote Robin Hood? Have to check it out.

    Cheers. Found you settle in real soon!

  5. I love the photo, Nymeth! I can just imagine the different reactions of people visiting the site. :-)

    The campus sounds wonerful. Thanks for the link to the photos.

  6. The campus is great! I love all that open space. And your Platform 9 3/4 pic is fun! They didn't have the half cart there when we lived there, just the sign. Hope you get settled in soon. Looking forward to more pics when you get a chance. :)

  7. oh man! I love LOVE LOVE that photo!!! That is sooooooo cool! If I had the bucks I'd go there just to take that photo!!! hahaha..

    hope you are settled in soon and happily reading and learning!

  8. Ana, I love the photo!!! And it's so nice to have you posting again! The campus sounds absolutely lovely, and I hope you can find nice housing (with internet access) soon so you can settle in and begin to really enjoy your stay. The new books sound great...the only one I've read is Watership Down, which I really liked. The Anita Desai sounds quite fascinating, and I didn't know that Antonia Fraser had written a version of the Robin Hood story. Is it a book for young people?

  9. What a great picture!! I'm happy that you made your trip safe and sound. What a great adventure!! Hopefully, you will have internet access soon!! I miss you!

  10. That is soo cool!!!I didn't know they made it, it's great!
    Your campus sounds lovely and fascinating, you make me miss my Erasmus year! Good luck with the house hunting, I'm looking for one too, and enjoy the charity shops, they are my favourite spots to browse on my days off, my they are VERY dangeorous!

  11. Glad you arrived safe and sound!

    Oh my gosh...that photo is just too cool!

  12. i'm glad you arrived safely and that things seem to be going well...

    and i know what you mean about seeing books that you can't buy but want...!!!!

    the bookshops here are amazing in comparison to south africa and i became a bit of a blithering idiot when i arrived. i was juts going "wibble wibble" the whole time...

  13. Just remember not to eat anything if you do find the Faeire Queen... I love that they up the 9 1/2 platform sign with the trolly sticking out. I don't use Kings Cross much but when I do I always like to walk past it and see people getting their photo taken. Glad you are enjoying the UK so far :)

  14. I'm so glad you had time for an update!! I'm absolutely in love with the pictures. So so beautiful!

  15. You look wonderful! And I didn't even know there was now such a platform, so thanks for informing me. It makes me smile, and I'm not even there.

  16. Wow, that place is amazing! I am so glad you took pics to share. Thanks. Glad you are settling in and getting back to blogging.

  17. CJ: Thank you. It was such a fun picture to take. Hopefully I'll be able to check in more often from now on.

    Darla: Thanks! Hopefully I will from now on.

    Chris: It really is a beautiful city. I'm in love with it. Everything has been going well. I should be able to post more often from now on, so I will keep you all updated.

    Dark Orpheus: I didn't know either until I saw it at the store, and I just had to have it. I checked online and it seems to have good reviews too. I'm really looking forward to reading it.

    Literary Feline: Thanks :) It was really fun to see the different ways in which people acted.

    Tanabata: I thought the half cart was such a nice touch! I should be able to post more pictures soon.

    Deslily: I'd say coming here to take that photo is totally worth it :P But yeah, coming all the way from the US is a bit harder. Thank you for your wishes. Everything is going well so far :)

    Robin: Internet access should be sorted out soon, hopefully. I can't wait for it - I'm tired of being cut out from blogland and from the world in general. The Robin Hood book is for young readers, yes, and it seems to be a popular one - I had never heard about it before either, though.

    Stephanie: Thank you. I really miss everyone too!

    Valentina: I swear, charity shops will be the death of me! My next-door neighbours are Erasmus students from Italy. There are people from all over the world here!

    Debi: Thank you :) I had so much fun taking the photo.

    Jean Pierre: Yeah, I feel like a blithering idiot every time I enter a bookshop. Stuff I had to order online and wait weeks for back in Portugal is so easy to find here!

    Rhinoa: I will keep that in mind :P The UK has really been great so far. I think I'm going to enjoy the next couple of months a lot.
    Andi: I hope to be able to go back to updating regularly from now on. I really miss blogland!

    Bellezza: Thank you :) I think the platform has been there for a bit, but the half cart seems to be new. It's such a nice touch!

    Carl: I'm glad to be able to get back to bloggng too. I really miss everyone!

  18. I love it! Glad you are doing well. :)


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment - interaction is one of my favourite things about blogging and a huge part of what keeps me going.