helenic: (branches and air)

When I got into work this morning I knew how this entry would begin. The first sentence was going to be There is a kind of wildness in me. A freshness, fierce and fleet of wing. I stayed in London last night and adventurously commuted to work from Kings Cross, on the Cambridge stopping service that wanders through fields and past small, misty, sunlit villages. I finished my book just moments before the train pulled into Meldreth station.

I've been re-reading the Earthsea quartet, which my parents gave to me when I was ten and which I must have read at least fourteen, fifteen times over the next few years. I found it the other week in one of the old boxes my parents brought up for me from home, and opened it for the first time in at least six years. To read it now is like revisiting any of one's old haunts of childhood; it seems smaller somehow, more familiar and less momentous, and fragments of it rise up before you like remembered glimpses of dream, the patterns of plot and character slipping comfortably and rightly into place as you progress through it. And yet the sweet keen of escapism is as poignant as it ever was, the yearning awoken by her prose for wind and forest and sky, for the old songs. And then there were the wholly new discoveries, the adult references and socio-political themes that I failed to really notice when I was reading it as a naive, self-absorbed, daydreaming pre-pubescent.

So, I finished it as the train drew in, and I manouvered the bike I'm borrowing from [livejournal.com profile] elise onto the platform with some difficulty and started riding it with surprising ease, considering the after-effects of the more rigorous of the weekend's activities and that I'd got up at 6.30am that morning. And flying down the High Street in Melbourn village, the only vehicle on the road, the ending of the novel singing in me still, aching and satisfying and sweet, I felt a delicious sense of freedom rising in me, an exhilaration.

Unfortunately, three hours in work has pretty much deadened it. Tiredness, computer hum and caffeine are making my head throb; I've switched roles to cover for someone's leave and have barely anything to do, and what I do need to do, I can't, because I can no longer receive my emails. My new piercings managed to get themselves slept on and pulled over the weekend, and hurt like buggery. My entire right ear is pulsing. But. The memory of that lightness this morning, flying on a borrowed bike through the cool summer morning of an English village, that's worth holding on to.

helenic: (innocent kitten eyes)

Dear all,

You are hereby cordially invited to the flat-warming of the Satyr Suite, also dubbed the Flat of Love and the Young Ladies' Seminary for the Taking In of Eccentric Waifs and Strays by various of its inhabitants. These are [livejournal.com profile] elise, [livejournal.com profile] libellum and [livejournal.com profile] strongtrousers, otherwise known as the Satyr (or, on occasion, Sapphic) Suities.

The flat-warming will take place on the evening and night of Saturday 20th August, from 7pm onwards. Party food (such as pizza, chips and dips, salads, cheese) will be provided. Please do bring a bottle or several, and as many friends as you can persuade to join you provided that they're fabulous.

The theme and dress code, in accordance with one of the flat's many names, is "Eccentric Waifs and Strays". This may manifest itself in various ways, and you are highly encouraged to dress in whichever manner you think best fits it. Suggested dress-codes include: Victorian/Edwardian; Street Urchin; Consumptive Heroine (it's actually the date of Emily Bronte's birth); Music Hall Trash; Lady (or, indeed, Gentleman) of Negotiable Affection; Dickens; Jack the Ripper; Ankh-Morpork; Burlesque; generic drag or other period costume.

The address can be found here or by commenting with your email address so I can send it to you.

RSVP )

helenic: (bowler hattedness)

Today has been one of those delicious wastes of a day. I slept my hangover off (last night we celebrated [livejournal.com profile] elise's 21st birthday, again), then sought out caffiene (tea) and salt (leftover Pringles) and curled up on the sofa in the dining room with a trashy Anne Rice book for a few hours. I've spent the afternoon at [livejournal.com profile] fellatiovilla catching up online using [livejournal.com profile] cantabulous's computer, and have just discovered that I've locked myself out of the flat and am therefore trapped here until [livejournal.com profile] strongtrousers gets home from work. It would be annoying if I wasn't so relaxed. Actually I'm revelling in having such a grand excuse not to do any painting yet.

The flat is blissful and I'm enormously content. We don't have a phoneline or internet yet, so I'm spending my time in the company of (shock!) Real People, and haven't yet had a chance to update with my Scandawegia photos or lengthy travel journal. I've been unpacking and tidying and organising the kitchen, and alphabetising books and CDs, and cooking extravagant salads. It's extraordinarily pleasant to live with two other accomplished cooks and we've been eating very well. I have a delightful en suite with a large bath, and I've arranged all my toiletries in there and decorated it with erotic photography. (All bathrooms should be decorated with erotic photography.) My housemates are wonderful and I love them to pieces. [livejournal.com profile] thelovelyoliver is practically an honorary housemate at the moment and it's great to see so much of him. I'm sorry to gush, but my life appears to have suddenly and magically worked out, and honestly, the last twenty one years have so been worth ending up here. [livejournal.com profile] romauld and I have reached an arrangement which is mutually pleasing and hopefully sustainable, and I'm thrilled to have finally figured out this whole Staying Friends With Exes thing. If anything, we're almost getting on better than before, or perhaps I've just grown up a bit. And being able to be truly relaxed, and enjoy spending time in a home that is mine, and beautiful, that I've been waiting for after years of living with my parents and in college and in-between places ... it's too good for words. I'm happy. I'm really happy. At the moment I'm emotionally and physically recovering from the excesses and excitement of the last six weeks and I'm tired and I'm happy.

I also have Shiny, Shiny New Things of Joy. My parents came up on Friday and with them they brought:
- a lorry FULL of old furniture they've been saving for me, all of it perfectly servicable and some of it in rather attractive dark woods. Including two bookcases, a desk, a chest of drawers, a wardrobe, two smaller chests of drawers for filing, and a folding English elm dining table, which we've put in the kitchen.
- several boxes of old folders, writing, notebooks, paperbacks, and assorted Stuff which it's been fascinating to sort through - discovering things I'd forgotten, beautiful things, painful things, arranging them all around me and thoroughly establishing myself in the place...
- £860 in twenty pound notes. It's the final balance of my trust fund and they gave it to me in cash just to see my face.
- a letter from Downing College containing a cheque for £229, refund for my last college bill and matriculation deposit
- a letter from the Classics Faculty entitling me to £550 towards travel to Greece or Rome in the next year, which I have to claim with a journey itinerary, and which I hadn't even applied for. I appear to be going to Greece for a while. Which is nice.

Then they took me shopping for 21st birthday and getting a First and graduation presents, and there was much much more Shinyness. Specifically, there was a portable CD and cassette player, a posh liquidiser for making smoothies and soups and houmous and things, two lovely sexy nighties and some slinky pyjamas, lots of very nice lacy knickers, TWO WHOLE TREES OF MY VERY OWN for the balcony (I've become incredibly attached to the trees. We've bonded. They are tall leafy shrubs in large terracotta pots and they're called Spider and Jerusalem), a VIOLIN, oh my god, an actual violin because I mentioned wanting to learn folk fiddle, and some wine, and a bodhran, and herb pots for the kitchen, and cushions, and a kingsized duvet and they're going to get me attractive bedding when I'm in Leicester because it's cheap there, and a laundry hamper, and and and. SHINY SHINY THINGS OF JOY. Mmmmm.

The shiny things are not the only reason I'm happy. Good friends and holiday and travelling, and good books (I don't include the Anne Rice in this category, but I've been reading Georgette Heyer and Stella Gibbons and Ursula le Guin) and good food and good wine, those things all contribute as well. Having a place of my own that's mine, when you all know by now how over-affected I am by environment, is most of it. I'm here. At last. And I'm loving it.

helenic: (Default)

I got a first.

My god.

I got a first from fucking Cambridge.

overture

Jun. 24th, 2005 01:33 am
helenic: (maenad; throat to the stars)

The Calling was grand, although FAR TOO HOT. The sweat was sliding down my legs and I was swigging icewater and pissing off the bar staff by asking for "just ice cubes" every ten minutes. I felt slightly guilty for flaking early but I've been drinking pretty much every night for the last two weeks, and tomorrow I need to post cheques and take ID into the renting agency and get stuck into painting if I want to stand a chance of getting this commission finished by the time I go to Sweden.

My heels were giving me blisters so I took my shoes off on Pembroke Street and walked home barefoot. And I realised I'll miss this. Miss being able to slip into college via the kitchen gate and B staircase, through the door I know is always open, stopping in the downstairs toilets there to splash water on my face. I hopped painfully across the gravel and onto the paddock. There were groups of people out, still, sitting on benches in the dark or in loose circles on the grass, the low murmur of their conversation and the occasional burst of laughter drifting through the darkness. The May Week marquee was still up and lit and empty, the grass was soft and cold under my sore feet, and I picked my way under the trees by feel. My skin and the damp, firm ground, feelings its pulse beat against mine: there's nothing supernatural or sublime about it, it's just this place, this life. I'd forgotten my keys but the french windows next door were open and our corridors link on the second floor. For all I never really bonded with many of the people here, however little time I've had for the hockey girls and rugby boys and drunk rowers and socialites, I'll miss knowing this college's secrets, its night-time stairwells and empty rooms, being able to cut across it barefoot on a summer night. It's pitch black outside and there isn't the slightest breeze.

helenic: (scholarly)

I didn't manage to sleep until 5am last night, and after [livejournal.com profile] yvesilena's 8.30am wake-up call I fell asleep again for an hour. However, other than that today has been reasonably productive: I had a useful conversation this morning, spent some time doing emotion-sorting visualisation techniques in the shower to try to help me focus on work this week, and I finally overcame my fear of the UL enough to actually go inside, find some books and read them. It was much harder than it sounds, trust me. I've had a two-sided reading list for my thesis sitting in my bag for the last three weeks, and every time I've tried to go to the UL I've been waylaid by anxiety, and ended up in the Classics faculty library, Divinity, or even Sainsburys, or just walking past rather than up the steps, and going home again. I'm terrified of it. Today was the first time in three years at Cambridge I've actually gone inside. I filled out the form for computer access, ascertained that I can withdraw books with my university card, and realised I didn't have £1 for a (compulsory) locker - but the library staff let me leave my bag at the desk, so that was alright. And I made notes on three books, got out five more including two I've been trying to get hold of for ages, and generally felt industrious and scholarly.

It's beautiful inside. It reminds me of museums, all marble and high ceilings, but with an essential Britishness to it; all the books hardbacked and dust-jacketless (occasionally including the glossy paperback cover a few pages in), men in shapeless green cardigans and dog collars (I was in the Religion section), the dim sunlight in the South Wing making the spines harder and harder to read the deeper you go. I found vast quantities of books that would have been tremendously helpful to my thesis if only I'd discovered them a fortnight ago, but it's entirely my own fault for not getting up the nerve to explore earlier. After three hours, however, the lack of caffeine (or, in fact, any liquid at all, as they don't let you have even closed bottles of water) was beginning to tell on me, so I went over the road to Clare, where my friend Aleks fed me about five cups of strong black coffee in rapid succession, and we talked about Venice.

After another hours' work to finish the book I was on, I came home to collect the library books that were due back at the Classics faculty, and pick up some money so I could photocopy some articles, but the lack of sleep and caffeine overdose have caught up with me and I didn't end up going back. I've effectively taken the last two hours' off, answering emails, doing a final edit on my entry for the college writing competition (and huge thanks to [livejournal.com profile] the_lady_lily, [livejournal.com profile] smhwpf, [livejournal.com profile] ixwin and [livejournal.com profile] romauld for your comments; if I win, I'll buy you each a drink) and spending time on Useful Things like this interview meme from [livejournal.com profile] thedivineoliver:

work:masturbation? )


classics? pretention? surely not! )
relative-escaping )
REAL MEN DRINK REAL BEER )
philosophical bollocks )

If you really want questions, shout. But only if you're going to answer them. Post them in your own journal, etc; you know the drill.

April 2016

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