Sunday, March 13, 2005

Into Exile I Go

I awoke at 8 am, or at least I got up then, feeling utterly exhausted and with a really sore stomach. For obvious reasons I had not slept much, going over routes and so forth in my mind. Dad had decided to write out a third route to Leicester on a bit of paper, and then we loaded the car. Unfortunately I'd decided to take my PC which took up a ton of space in the car, so the back seats had to be popped down to allow more trunk space. Finally with that done and a plate of cereal scarfed down I began my long journey to Leicester in a car which was filled with cardboard boxes and junk. A photo of this will be forthcoming...

The route I eventually elected to take was to take the A1 from the outskirts of Edinburgh and follow it past Berwick and Newcastle until it eventually became the M1. This was quite nice as it allowed me to pass by the Borders, where I was born, though I didn't have enough time to drive to Jedburgh. I stopped at Berwick for a desperately needed break and then about an hour later stopped again. This being my first journey longer than 2 hours, and given my tiredness, by the time I passed Newcastle I was utterly nackered. That and for some insane reason the A1 become a single lane country road for about 80 miles, with signs telling you of the 169 casualties the road has suffered in 3 years. Hard to wonder why?

The problem was that inevitably I ended up stuck behind an ice cream van and a horse van for these single lanes, which I think helped delay me. Eventually I made it to the M1 and after a third break and a caffeine laced Pepsi Max I was able to finally make it to Leicester. Unfortunately my maps of Leicester were woefully inaccurate and I was convinced somehow if I approached from the north I could find Oadby and the halls of residence easily. Unfortunately it was now 6pm and dark, so the intricacies of Liecester's roundabouts and lanes were completely lost on me. However by trial and error I eventually managed to drive past Manor Road and turn up to the halls.

However I'd said by email I would've been up by 4pm, and it was now approaching 7pm. The halls lady had gone home and left a note with her mobile number. The helpful student-assistant at the halls called her up and after a protracted conversation, lengthened by my inability to understand what was going on at this point. About 7:30 she came back and after some profuse apologising on my part took me to the flat.

The flat...

Well, it is smaller than I thought but it is quite cozy. The previous occupant had left the heating on and the place was scorching. Additionally, being a student hall there is always someone who feels they should listen to music at top volume. And tonight was the Hall Ball night 'til about 1am. Add to that excessive heat much carrying of boxes and unpacking and come 9pm I collapsed on my bed only to have mother phone me, wondering if I was wrapped round a tree near Leeds.

And at about 9:30, after hooking up my PC, my stomach reminded me it likes being fed.

Leicester's student digs possess the most dubious honour of being in a residential neighbourhood that seems devoid of any take-aways, supermarkets etc. Given harrowing experiences when I was up for my interview I decided I might just take the car and hunt down some food. Ironically, after asking at the nearby petrol station, where I am beginning to think ignorance of any local geography is a prerequisite (I asked for directions there before and the guy didn't even know where the university was) I decided to get some English cash in my wallet at one of the all too common pay-as-you-use ATMs. About five minutes later with the usual Kerrigan-luck I stumbled upon an Asda and about a million Link cash machines. After buying some breakfast cereal and taking a further 15 mins to find the milk while exhausted I even managed to find an honest to God pizza place in Oadby. So by 10pm I was fed, and even had cereal for the morning. And settled down to watch Buck Rogers on DVD - except my PC DVDR didn't like that disk. So I watched Angel on DVD. Except my DVDR didn't like that disk. So I concluded I need a new DVD drive today... and some food.

So I went to sleep to the sound of the disco going on down the road.

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