Thursday, 10 December 2009

Cambridge! Day 2

Right, as promised, here's day 2...

I woke up really early (about six o clock), and decided that I was fed up of trying to sleep, so I got up and opened the curtains. It was still really dark outside, but there was a vague sense that there was something quite impressive out my window, but I couldn't see any details. I sat on my bed and started to read, and I kept glancing up, seeing a few more details each time I looked up. Eventually, about seven, I got up and found myself drawn to the window. I looked outside, and lo and behold, I was in a magical world completely distinct from the world you find in Preston. It was like being in a castle. I was completely awed at how beautiful it was. There were huge, ancient trees opposite my window, and behind them, a wall. It was a castle-type wall, with great old stones, weathered and strong. Then I looked to my right, and that was what really took my breath away. I hadn't really seen it the night before because it was dark; in the light of the dawn it was incredible. The Fellow's building was there, ivy creeping up the lower half of the wall, an elaborate gate in the centre. The brickwork was old and beautiful and I was so amazed. I felt like I was in another world, like I'd left England and stepped back into the past, to a world where you could see princes and dragons and have a huge adventure. I'm actually going to set a story there.

Then it was time for breakfast. I went off through the grounds, and it was so beautiful. Anyway, had my breakfast and then it was time for my interview! I went into this building further along into the College, and when I got inside I was a bit awed, because it was just so old and amazing. The staircase felt like it was ancient, with the really old wood all shiny and dark. [Wow cool, I just got mentioned on the radio! I'm on the CrossRhythms chatroom and they just mentioned me on the show! Sorry, back to my story...]. I got to this door, and it didn't quite look like an office door, but I wasn't entirely sure. So I knocked on it and there was no response, so I decided that I'd go in, because I was pretty sure it wasn't the actual room. It wasn't. I sat down as it was a sort of waiting room area, and I was about ten minutes early so I read my magazine for a bit, and then the interviewer came out and promised me a passage to read in a few minutes. Came back, gave me the passage, it was really interesting. I was quite surprised by it to be honest, I was expecting something a bit more well, maybe ancient or pompous. Anyway, it was all about propoganda in the German Reformation, and it was quite surprising in a way. I never really thought about it as propaganda... Quite good though, because the last topic at our reading group had actually been the English Reformation! So I did have a bit of an idea of what it was talking about! But I really enjoyed it, and had a great discussion about the passage.

After that interview finished, and I managed to misread the pictures I got shown under the assumption that the artist was a Protestant who would disparage the Catholic excesses (or perceived excesses). Turns out the artist was a Catholic who was probably somewhat peeved about the fact that things had been 'rationalised'. Oh well, I tried my best. Then I went down to this waiting room and got to meet a bunch of other people who were there for interview too, but nobody who was there for history. Then there was another interview, and this one was a forty minute one. Really interesting again. I actually quite enjoyed myself I have to say. All about different 'types' of history eg oral as opposed to source based, objectivity and whether that was possible (no, there's too much chance that some little thing you have in your past is going to influence you--in weighing stuff up different people will naturally give different emphasis to different aspects or instinctively trust certain sources more than others), and using novels as a source.

Next came lunch, and then I tootled off to try and find the train station. Well, I was going to go by bus, but there was a one way street right outside the college, going the wrong direction. So I assumed it would follow about the only piece of logic Preston has managed to incorporate into its roads and there would be a one way street going the opposite direction if I walked off in a parallel direction. As an added bonus, I could go see King's College on the way. However, when I realised that I'd done the whole touristy bit and gaped at King's College (which is absolutely stunning, if you don't know what I'm talking about google it and you'll see why I was quite happy to go off on a diversion), and there was no sign of a road they even let cars down, let alone one going in the right direction, I realised that I'd perhaps misjudged things somewhat. But right at that moment, who should I see but a lady I'd met the previous night at church?! It just shows how awesome God's provision is. I was just starting to think I might have to stop a random passer by when lo and behold someone I actually knew (kind of) was walking past. So I got directions to the bus station where I could catch a bus to the train station. So that's what I did.

Had an interesting experience at the train station though... I misread the boards, went to platform three to catch the Birmingham train, and a train pulled up. I knew that the train wasn't due to leave for a while, and I was a bit dubious about the train. I can't say why exactly, it didn't have a destination on it or anything, it just didn't feel right. So I decided after a little while of reading that I would go and just check the boards, and that's when I discovered that the train was going to somewhere else (I can't remember where, but it certainly wasn't Birmingham), and that I actually wanted to be at platform four. So I managed to get on the right train home, or at least, half way there. I got there and discovered that Birmingham New Street is one of the worst stations I've ever been to. There was nowhere to sit down, and I had no idea what platform my train (in about half an hour) would be going from. I also thought, based on the timetables on the platform I'd got off at, that the train was actually going to Preston, it wasn't, it was going to somewhere else as its final destination. Thankfully, I realised this in time and was able to catch it without a problem. From there, it was a relatively simple matter to get home, where my dad met me at the station. So I had a wonderful time in Cambridge, and even if I don't get in (hope I do though), I can at least say I have slept in Christ's College, which was a fantastic experience.

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