Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Lazy Wednesday

Well Wednesday is the day where we have a science lecture in the morning, work for a couple of hours and then have free time after lunch. I gotta say West Dean has some genius ideas when it comes to educating people.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Stormin' Norman

Well yesterday I received a lot of information from my family, including the fact that my cat Norman was put to sleep. Norman was a 10 year old fluffy white and gray Persian who enjoyed waking me up in the middle of the night by letting his long whiskers tickle my face. He was a good kitty and I will miss him. I know this seems like some crazy cat lady's freaky cat entry, but I just wanted to mark the day somehow.

Monday, February 26, 2007

R.I.P Little Red

A sad sad thing has happened. Last night Catherine's little red Micra was stolen by a couple of bastards and taken for a serious ride. The police found her in a ditch in Lavent and the damage was so bad that they won't even let Catherine see it yet. Needless to say it is a sad day for Micra's the world over. May she rest in peace.

Friday, February 23, 2007

A Surreal Evening

Michon made a comment once that my life should be a reality tv show. Now I’m not saying that my life constitutes having an entire show devoted to following me around or even considering the fact that I am that interesting, but last night would have made a pretty sweet episode. Several of the instrument makers have been working hard on bring their dream of having a good old-fashioned American jug band complete with washtub bass. Well, last night that dream came true. I sat in the Dower House common room and played the jug while the rest of the real musicians made music. The band consisted of a washtub bass (which was made from an oil drum cut in half with a stick and a string) , banjo (made with a large tin that used to house cookies), mouth bow (made of a stick, string, and a tin can) guitar, two sets of spoons (one set wooden another metal), the jug, a cheese grater, and a shaker. And you know what the craziest part was, all of the instruments actually made music that sounded like music. At one point I was sitting there playing the jug in a state of shock because I couldn’t believe this was going on around me. Needless to say West Dean can be a pretty strange place, and last night it was taken to a whole new level.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Warning: Boredom May Occur

Well I was thinking about the things I've seen here and what we do and I decided I needed to mention it at least once in this blog if for no other reason than to avoid being called a transponster in the future. Last term we saw a lot of pretty amazing things that I managed to take some pictures of, so I thought I would share a few of them with you.

I thought this book was interesting mostly because it looks like a patch work quilt. I fully intend on trying to produce one of these some day.

The cover boards of books used to be made of old waste papers laminated together with paste or glue. This cool looking guy used to be part of a cover board before the board was humidified and the sheets of paper making the cover were separated. I think it is a sketch of one of the carvings on Canterbury Cathedral.

This one is a super fancy book with really heavy silver embellished covers. Really amazing and really heavy. I'm pretty sure the original owner of this book would take one look at me and ask where her tea was and why I am so slow at answering her every beckoned call.

This is what happens when a velum book comes in contact with a fire. Not pretty. Sadly there isn't a way to make this one go back to its original shape, the plan is to humidify the pages enough to temporarily flatten them and scan them so that the contents will still be available for readers. The binding itself will go back to this shape once it drys out.

Ok, hopefully you made it through all of that without suffering some sort of head injury from your melon hitting the keyboard. Then again maybe you learned something new, maybe that thing was that Kristi is boring and should never talk about conservation again.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Girls Night Out

Last week amidst my mental breakdown Sonia insisted on taking me out to dinner, and I must say it was exactly what I needed. Once it was over we decided that it should be a weekly event. Girls night out. This week was the first time we tried it out and it went really well. We ended up with 6 girls; Sonia, Catherine, Jenny, Sarah, Emma and myself. You wouldn't believe how many people (men) we had to turn away from our fun. We went to The Fox Goes Free to have drinks and were rudely interrupted by "quiz night", a game English pubs like to play where everyone puts in a pound to play and the winning team gets to keep the money. I have played this game once and did horribly due to the fact that most of the questions are about English history or sport, making it hard for a team of Americans to play. So after listening to the quiz-master repeat the same question three times we decided to head to another pub, The Earl of March. We spent the next three hours exchanging stories and laughing A LOT. All in all a fantastic evening. Long live girls night out.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Silence is Golden

This morning I sat eating breakfast at a full table with 4 other people. We spent the entire meal in silence. No talking in a room filled with chatter for 20 minutes. I'm not sure which is more strange, the fact that we sat there for so long with no words, or the fact that I enjoyed it so much.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

I long to go to Brighton

Well I have to say this has been the best weekend I've had here this term, not too bad considering it's the end of week 6. Harm and I decided to take a little day trip to Brighton to get out of West Dean and do some shopping. By mere chance we got to the train station just in time to catch the express train, shaving 30 minutes off our journey time. When we got off the train and starting heading down towards the sea I couldn't stop smiling. We were in Brighton! We started the day off right with a nice cup of coffee and a muffin then headed to Gap. I know I should be going to English stores and getting cool stuff, but sometimes you just want the classic stuff and that's what I found. Next we went to a pipe shop because a friend of Harm's has a pipe with a missing piece so he was called upon to find a new mouth piece. Once that was done we had a fantastic lunch with Stephen and Sonia and then spent the rest of the day shopping. When it came time to go home we once again caught the express train! What are the odds!?

There was a party at the Dower House last night and apparently the drinking started around 5pm, so by the time we arrived at 7 everyone was already pissed. It was hilarious. As the next 5 hours passed by things slowly got more and more out of control. It went from people chatting and smoking, to all the wine, tequila, rum and absinthe is gone which lead to karaoke singing followed by lots of dancing to various tunes with the evening culminating in a sweet drunken rendition of Thriller.

All in all a sweet weekend, one I really needed after such a shitty week.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Text message log:

Me to Sonia: "Harm is smoking!"

Sonia to Me: "Smoking hot? or smoking a cigarette?"

Man she's funny. And by the way, smoking a cigarette. He was feeling like a rebel. It was funny.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Dear Readership,

Sometimes life pats you on the head and sometimes it kicks you in the shins. My shins hurt.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Something I forgot to mention about paper marbling. To apply the paint you use a wooden stick, similar to a wand. By the end of Saturday evening Sonia and I were casting every spell we could think of as we applied paint to our scummy surface. Have I mentioned how much I love Harry Potter?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Seaweed and Splatter Paint

Well this weekend several of us bookies participated in a marbling short course. Sonia and I were marbling partners so needless to say we had a grand time. Basically the way it works is you flick paint on a surface of seaweed goop, swirl it around and make a pattern and then place a piece of paper on the surface and the paints print on the paper. A pretty mind boggling thing really when you consider you're using seaweed scum what is essentially spatter paint. This is a picture of me with my first try at a pattern called "flame". As you can see I was pretty excited about this one, so excited in fact that I made Sonia go and get my camera and take a picture of me. We spent the next 5 hours trying all different patterns and exclaiming the same thing after each one was pulled from the bath, "that one is my new favorite!". All in all a pretty kick-a weekend.

Friday, February 09, 2007


Wow! I couldn't stop laughing at all of your answers! They were all fantastic! Can you imagine if that was the number of times someone sneezed? or the number of felony idictments I've been working up to? And may I just say Annalise that now more than ever I really wish I was going to Cracker Barrel and a movie with you, and of course the rest of the crew would come along. Anyway, none of you were correct, but many of you were close. 49 was the number of times that particular person said "ummmm" in the 15 minute presentation.

Les Triplettes de Belleville

Last night we "rebelled" and decided not to eat dinner at the college...I know, getting pretty crazy here at West Dean. But anyway, we went to Marks & Spencer and bought a bunch of Chinese take-away and had a lovely dinner back at the student accommodation. We decided to put on a film and ended up watching a fantastic animated story called "Les Triplettes de Belleville". It is a French film and has very little subtitles, it's mostly music and events. I highly recommend seeing it if you can find a copy as it was BRILLIANT!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Air Loss

Today I sat through 5 presentations about how to monitor and control humidity, temperature and moisture in libraries. Needless to say my brain has turned to mush and I am slowly sucking all the air from the atmosphere due to excessive yawning.

Quick game: I counted to 49 during one of the presentations....what was I counting?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

"wishing i was somehow there again"

Am I a member of the cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

The other day I was going to the bus stop and my friend asked if I wanted to take a short cut through the grave yard to get there faster. It was at that moment that I heard that little voice in my head screaming "don't do it!" We've all seen this scene in movies and tv shows and I think we all know what happens when the short cut is taken. So in true horror movie fashion I ignored the voice, opened the gate and proceeded through the sea of tomb stones. It was pretty creepy, but I made it out ok.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Music Update

I'm not sure if this song is popular in the states or not, but I really like it. It's a little Scissor Sisters-ish, very happy and upbeat. It's by a guy called Mika and the song is Grace Kelly.
Dear Jackie,

James Morrison is the free song of the week on iTunes!

Dear Kristin,

Where has your blog gone?


Monday, February 05, 2007

This weekend I went to a barber shop concert....I know, how weird is that. There was a 30 man strong barber shop choir at West Dean this weekend for a workshop with some American barber shop extraordinaire and on Saturday night they had a one hour concert. It was one of those moments in life when you're sitting there wondering if it was a dream or reality. Imagine 30 grown (and many retired) men belting out Zip-a-dee-doo-dah in 4 part harmony while doing jazz hands and making uncomfortable eye contact with you, it was awesome.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Do You Segway?

I was doing pretty much everything I could think of today to not make my Powerpoint presentation about how to safely regulate the temperature and moisture content of a chained library (still there? did that put you to sleep yet?) when I came across a Segway tour of Amsterdam. I really wanted to go on one when I visited the W's in Balboa, but was informed it was quite an expensive day of ridiculousness. Well, I looked into it and apparently Balboa isn't the only place ripping off people. It costs 60 euros to go on a Segway tour of Amsterdam! At a loss about this I decided to visit the Segway website to see how much these mothers are. They had an option to "build your own Segway" so I clicked and made my own that will set me back a mere 5 grand! It's times like these I wish I was rich so I could buy a fleet of Segways and start leading people around West Dean for 60 pounds a pop.

Friday, February 02, 2007

I have a question

There is an episode of Sex and the City where Carrie is dating a European man that is very old world romantic. He does things like read her poetry, write her songs and dance with her in front of the Met. When I write all of those out in a list like that it seems romantic and exhilarating yet cheesy and ridiculous. I would like to believe that if that were to happen to me I would be able to contain my inner teenager laughing and pointing, but I'm not sure I could do it. This whole thing started when a friend of mine well call her "Phonia" began receiving love poems from someone quite frequently. While I enjoyed hearing about how thoughtful they were I couldn't help thinking to myself how cheesy this was and how I had no idea what they meant. Could you handle being romanced like this?, cause I'm pretty sure that I couldn't.


I recently posted the release date of the new Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows....I was wrong. Apparently had the wrong date listed on their site, it will not be available on March 31st as previously specified, but come July 21st you will not be able to pry that book from kung-fu grip.

Quick question....Sape Friend of Foe?
I say friend. Kristin I expect to read a kick-a blog entry with your answer and a detailed list of reasons why you made your decision.