Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pamela Louderback, Day 96-97

These two days did research at QUB Library and also at University of Ulster.  One book I was hoping to find at U of Ulster is "Nationalists and the Irish Language: Competing Perspectives".  It has one chapter title that peaked my interest, "The very dogs in Belfast will bark in Irish"!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pamela Louderback, Day 95

The morning was taken up by an early visit to the Elms Village to meet with Marguerite regarding the process of "checking out" of the University faculty apartment.  Since I was in the neighborhood of the larger Tesco, I thought I might be lucky enough to find a replacement for my dual wattage converter.  However, it was not to be.  This quest has become quite difficult one; my iPhone is on it's last 20% and failing fast.  Also, it's put a definite challenge on my plans to prepare PowerPoints, etc... for my upcoming guest lecture on my laptop in the comfort of my apartment. 

I know...I could write a short novel on my dual wattage converter saga -- it could be quite a thriller -- Will the main character find a replacement dual wattage converter before her iPhone finally loses all of its charge!?  Of course, that would require my spending even more time in my office writing the piece.

Previously, I had put together an outline for what I thought would be a short presentation at Swansea but received an email from Angela Jones who informed me that there was to be a reception the evening prior and that the University had slated a two hour timeslot for my lecture.  So, back to the presentation -- to extend it a bit beyond the original 30-45 minutes!  This has become quite an exciting prospect.  Hopefully, I will represent NSU well.   

I spent the better part of the late afternoon and early evening at Maddens Pub and Bar with Sean, his buddy Arthur, and Roger -- a chap originally from Leeds.  Like me, Roger was not officially a part of the "Club" (although I am now an honorary member) but he's known Sean and Arthur for years as a fellow Maddens customer.  After four hours of lively talk and much drink, I still had nothing on the history of Irish Medium and Shaws Road.  Sean gave me his contact information and invited me to make a trip to his house sometime before I leave Belfast.  I consider it quite an honor to be invited to his house and hope that we will be able to talk a bit about his role in the Irish Medium movement. 


Pamela Louderback, Day 94

Most of today was spent in my office either on the computer or the telephone.  I spent time researching journey travel plans for my upcoming trip to Wales.  Additionally, I made journey travel plans to visit Derry for additional personal (as well as professional) research endeavors. 

I also attempted to make additional contacts with other Irish Medium school principals but was not successful as one individual has been ill for the last two weeks and, as yet, has not returned to work.  I left contact information with the other school. 

And I worked on changing my current flight plans to the States.  Unbeknownst to me (or my travel agent) Continental had taken it upon themselves to covertly make a schedule change to my returning flight (having canceled the February 5 evening flight from Newark to Tulsa) and had postponed that leg of my journey for the following day.  The thought of a seven hour layover in Newark is one thing -- however, a layover of a day and a half is another matter altogether.  After a flurry of phone calls and emails, my flight journey was changed with an added leg from Newark to Houston, then on to Tulsa.  All in all, although it requires an additional plane change, my arrival to Tulsa is quite close to the original time. 

All of this maneuvering required that I pop in to the School of Law graduate office to use scanners, etc... so I decided that while I was "in the neighborhood" I would inquire about Queen's International Study Abroad program.  Denise was not sure of the process but gave me the necessary contact information for the Director of the International Office.  After returning to my office, I sent off an email to the Director inquiring about accreditation rules, modules counting toward final degree plans, reciprocal versus fee paid agreements, etc...

After a long day of tedious tasks unrelated specifically to my research, I decided to take a much needed break from reality and take in a movie.  Given the late hour and the fact that Monday evening are £3 night at the Queen's Film Theatre, I decided on QFT!  QFT shows the very best in new and classic world cinema as well as movies from the UK and abroad. A bit of history QFT was the first cinema in Northern Ireland to install a digital projector!  Anyway, they were showing the film NEDS (non-educated delinquents).  The plot:

John McGill is a promising student at a tough Glasgow school who, despite a family background of alcoholism and abuse, looks set to sail into university and a bright future beyond. That is, until things begin to go wrong at school and John, like his older brother before him, slips into the heady and dangerous world of Glasgow's gangland.  In the matter of six weeks, this guy goes from a straight A, top of his class student to one of the most brutal gang members on the block.  'Neds' is the 50-year-old Scottish actor Peter Mullan's third feature as a writer and director and returns him to the time and place where he grew up.  How much artistic license Mr. Mullan takes on this piece is speculative, but overall, the movie is well worth seeing. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Pamela Louderback, Day 93

Since my time left in Belfast is coming to an end, I thought I would spend today on the Lagan River.  I walked down Donegall Pass again in hopes of window shopping at the antique stores.  Unfortunately, they were closed and shades were drawn over the windows.  Past Donegall Pass, I traveled Ormeau Road for one last visit to St. George's Market and finally gave in -- purchasing the Isle of Man Manx cat figurine.  I had a nice visit with the proprieter who regaled about all of his trips to the United States over the last 25 years.  He had been to Macon, Georgia, several parts of Alabama, North Carolina and all along the Eastern seaboard.  His favorite place was North Carolina. 

After leaving St. George's, I walked up Oxford Street past Waterfront Hall making my way to the place of the bloodiest site of Bloody Sunday (Oxford Street Bus Depot) where at 2:48 p.m. a car bomb exploded outside the depot on Oxford Street. This explosion resulted in the greatest loss of life and the greatest number of casualties. The area was being cleared but was still crowded when the bomb exploded. Two British Army soldiers, Stephen Cooper (aged 19) and Philip Price (27), were close to the car bomb and died instantly. Three civilians who worked for Ulsterbus were killed: William Crothers (15), Thomas Killops (39) and John Gibson (45). One member of the Ulster Defence Association was also killed: William Irvine (18). 

I walked along Donegall Quay, enjoying the tugboats, ships, and passersby.  Laganside Courts, the Customs House, and the Royal Court of Justice were all within blocks of each other.  At Thanksgiving Square, I was able to see the sculpture known as The Ring of Thanksgiving. This female figure represents various allegorical themes associated with hope and aspiration, peace and reconciliation and is derived from images from Classical and Celtic mythology. Typical Belfast humour - she is know as many things:- The Thing with the Ring; The Nuala with the Hula (Nuala a common Irish girl's name); or The Doll on the Ball.

However, my favorite sculpture, one I had been wanting to see "up close", was the "Big Fish".  This sculpture is a printed ceramic mosaic sculpture created by John Kindness.  It's 10 metres long and was constructed in 1999 in Donegall Quay near the Lagan Lookout and Custom House.  The outer skin of the fish is a cladding of ceramic tiles decorated with texts and images relating to the history of Belfast. Material from Tudor times to present day newspaper headlines are included along with contributions from Belfast school children (including a soldier and an Ulster Fry).  The work was commissioned to celebrate the regeneration of the River Lagan and the return of the salmon. The site is a significant landmark -- where the River Farset meets with the River Lagan.  Belfast is named after the River Farset -- The name is derived from the Irish Béal Feirsde, which was later spelled Béal Feirste.  (Béal means "mouth",  feirsde/feirste is the genitive singular of fearsaid and refers to a sandbar or tidal ford across the mouth of a river.

The end of my Titanic Quarter/Laganside walking tour took place near Victoria Square -- a shopping centre that is home to over 50 stores including House of Fraser, Topshop, Cruise, Reiss and H&M.  Architecturally, it gives a feel of openness and almost all levels can be viewed depending on where you're standing.  Victoria Square bases itself on an open street model more prevalent in mainland European cities: it is termed an "urban grain streetscape", not a mall.  The showpiece glass dome space is the heart of the project with floating platforms linking all levels of circulation -- and is quite impressive looking, especially at night.

Photos of my outing will have to wait as I destroyed my converter while Skyping the other day (i.e., burning smell, followed by loud "pop", and much smoke that filled the entire office) and I cannot use my laptop until I purchase a new converter.   I'm just glad a fire extinguisher was not necessary...  Slan!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pamela Louderback, Day 92

Today, I packed up some of the clothes I wouldn't need for my last two weeks here and dragged them to the post office on Botanic Avenue.  I had noticed earlier in the week that three big boxes of toilet paper had been sitting in the Mail Room at the Institute of Governance.  So, I emptied one box of its contents onto the remaining two boxes, and took the empty box home. 

Once I posted my clothes, I decided to check out the St. Georges Market.  I hadn't been there in awhile and thought this was probably one of my last chances to do so.  I took an alternate route down Donegal Road and was glad I had done so.  There are several antique stores and a variety of Chines restaurants and businesses in the area.  Additionally, I came upon several Ulster Loyalist Murals.  I stepped into one of the antique stores to purchase a Commonwealth Plate and inquired about any Irish Wolfhound items.  The proprieter wasn't there at the time but a quick call by his assistant assured me there wasn't anything at the moment but that the proprieter had on order a flask top with a Wolfhound on it.  It was due to arrive in about a week.  I left my name and number with the assistant -- hopefully, it'll come in before my departure to the States.  It has been impossible to find anything with Wolfhound motifs, etc...

At St. Georges, after thinking about it every time I visit, I finally decided to get some Young prints of the Belfast area and Antrim coast.  I had a nice chat with the artist who was very helpful in picking out a variety of prints for my collage.  I'm looking forward to getting the prints home and framing them.  Also, I picked up a Tara's broach and two spoon rings for family members.  Unfortunately, the gentleman with the Isle of Man Manx cats was not there. 

The rest of the day was spent Skyping back home and going through emails.  My evening was spent transcribing some of yesterdays interviews and deciding what else I should pack and post to the States.  Given the price of posting, I may just drag it home in my suitcases.  I had hoped to get rid of enough to only have two suitcases, instead of three.  We'll see how my finanaces hold out!

Pamela Louderback, Day 91

Friday came much too quickly.  It seems the days are going at a much faster pace now that my time is short.  Today, I visited two Irish Medium primary schools.  The first school I visited was Bunscoil Phobal Feirste.  This is the school that Colm Mac Aindreasa (of St Mary's and Kelly's Cellars fame) and eight other children attended.  As noted in earlier posts, in the late 1960's a group of Irish speaking families set up an urban Gaeltacht on Shaw's Road (near the Falls Road area). 

In 1971, parents from that area decided to start a school for their children and Bunscoil Phobal Feirste began with nine children.  It was community built and supported for the first thirteen years, not receiving any funding from the state.  In 1978, a full immersion nursery program was introduced and the number of students grew every year.  This was a momentus step in the history of the school as English speaking families could enroll their children from teh age of three in a immersion program.  This program develops the foundation in linguistic skills which allows the child to fully accesss the curriculum in the Primary schools.

Finally, in 1984, Bunscoil Phobal Feirste was awarded official maintained status.  Bunscoil Phobal Feirst is the flagship school in the Irish Medium sector and a model from which all subsequent schools was created.  In September 2009 the BBC broadcast a program which was made in honor of th first nine pupils in the school.  It follows the progress which has been made douring the years from 1971 until today.  Colm was gracious enough to give me a copy of the program.

In 2000 Bunscoil Phobal Feirste moved from the original prefab building of the 1970's into the new state of the art building facility.  It is quite an impressive site from the original.  In 2002, the nursery school, Naíscoil Bhreandain, was opened on the same site.  The school is comprised of fourteen classrooms, resource areas, a large sports hall (gymnasium), a medical room, a cnetral library, and attractive welcoming foyers and offices.  In the foyer, painted on the wall leading to the classrooms, is a mural that depicts the first nine children in honor and remembrance of what was achieved.  There are also two outdoor play areas.  Each classroom has its own cloakroom and toilet area with access to the purpose-built resource areas that are grade specific for each Rand. 

After interviewing the principal, (Deirdre Nic Suibhne) and receiving a tour -- she drove me to the next Bunscoil on my list for the day -- Bunscoil an tSiebhe Dhuibh.  A staff member who usually drives the van to the Whiteside swimming pool had called in sick, so when I arrived, the principal was off-grounds pitching in with that duty.  Margaret, the Administrative assistant, offered me some tea and I waited for the principal to return.  When the principal, Roisin Ni Ghadhra, returned -- she invited me along for the return trip.  I was fortunate to do so given that the original setting for the Bunscoil an tSiehe Dhuibh was actually where the pool now stood.  It is a sobering and humbling experience to think of the community struggle, support and sacrifice that continues to take place -- of parents who are so committed to making sure their children can speak the Native language.  Young people who went through the Bunscoil and Gaelscoil system are now teachers at the Bunscoils.  And administrators are those who went through Bunscoil Phobal Feirste.  As some individauls become Principals of new schools, Vice Principals become Principals -- almost a domino affect of positions being filled. 

Bunscoil an tSiebhe Dhuibh is a newer school, on a smaller scale than the Bunscoil Phobal Feirste, and was started by one of the original nine.  It's situated on Whiterock Road, off the Falls Road.  There is a circular courtyard in the middle of the grounds where children play.  Around the courtyard sits the classrooms and resource areas and teachers are able to keep an eye on children playing in the courtyard.  As well, the architeture is such that the mountains in the background are a part of the building structure and able to be viewed through the courtyard.  The school was constructed in 2007 and a nursery school, Naíscoil Bhreandain, is in what was once the original school (a prefab building).  

The taxi ride home was enjoyable as I got to talk with a gentleman from the Falls Road area.  He opted to go an alternate route through the two hospitals of Belfast to avoid the Shankill Road area.  It was a stark contrast to the Value Cab ride I had earlier getting to the Bunscoil Phobal Feirste.  The cabbie had never heard of the school, was not familiar with where it was - even though I had the address, and my fare was almost twice as much!  Paul, my cabbie from the Falls Road was well aware of how to navigate the city of Belfast and was a much more interesting and witty conversationalist.  I almost hated that the ride was so short!   

Pamela Louderback, Day 90

Most of the morning was spent at the library and the office researching journal articles.  I still need to get to the Linen Hall Library and the Public Library to see what they might have that Queens' doesn't carry.  I also had an invite to the Drumbo Park Greyhound Stadium for dog races.  Having never been to a dog race, I wasn't sure what to expect -- but what a treat!  Eileen invited me, Don Bogen and his wife Cathryn to join her, her son Charles, and several other guests from Queens (Jim and Colette) Eileen's work (Martina, Jane) Stephanie - niece of Jim's, Dorothy - Eileen's sister, (and another young lady). 

Prior to the evening at the races, I did some grocery shopping and stopped in to Don and Cathryn's to invite them to the dog races and was graciously met with conversation, tea and a new treat unfamiliar to me made of a cracker-like substance and fig-like filling.  I also finished putting together questions for my upcoming Friday interviews with the Bunscoil principals.

The evening began with a brisk walk to Eileen's accompanied by Don and Cathryn.  Once there, we piled into Eileen's car and made a quick stop to pick up Eileen's sister Dorothy.  The rest of the trip to to the racetrack took about 10 minutes time.  There was quite a bit of excitement in our group as none of us had ever attended a dog race.  Our seats were prime real estate -- up high and against the window.  There were ten races in all that took place at Drumbo, and there were also t.v.'s that displayed races from Drumbo as well as as Shelbourne Park, Dublin.  Bets were £2 minimum at Drumbo, and £3 minimum at Shelbourne.  Having never done this prior, and having no idea how it all worked, I played it safe and made only three bets of £2 based on tips I'd received from Jim (who moonlights as a bookie when not engaged in academic endeavors).  Two of the three dogs placed, so I ended up with a £4 lead by the end of the night.

Dinner was included in the entry fee - it was a special evening deal to entice people to come to Drumbo in hopes that one would return again (called "Terrific Thursday deal").  The dinner was spectacular with appetizers (I chose lamb, chicken skewers, and a vegetable patty of some sort).  For dinner, I chose lamb again (locally grown from Armagh) with assorted vegetables and potatos.  The lamb was some of the best I've ever tasted and just melted in the mouth.  Although I had no room left for it, I went for dessert - brownie crumble and stuffed down a couple of bites.   It was truly a great night out with wonderful friends and spectacular foods.  And I saw some really beautiful dogs that I wouldn't mind adopting!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Pamela Louderback, Day 89

Today was spent making my last minute journey plans for my upcoming guest lectureship in February.  I'll be lecturing at Swansea University, Swansea Wales on February 2nd.  This all requires my preplanning an air flight from Belfast City to Cardiff, then a bus trip to Rhoose Station, and a train ride on to Swansea.  Since I was not able to get a flight back on the 3rd, I will fly out on the 1st and fly back on the 4th, giving me an extra day in Wales to sightsee.  Hopefully, the weather will hold out since my flight back to the States is the following day (February 5th) and I wouldn't want to get stuck in Wales due to inclement weather. 

In the afternoon, I Skyped with Drs. Ray and Kymes, as well as Rick Shelton (phone interviews of candidates for a tech position tied to the IMLS grant).  It's great when technology works and, all in all, it was quite successful.  I was grateful to be able to participate; and it was really fun to be able to take part in a phone interview from so far away.

After taking part in the phone interviews, I had just enough time to rush home for a quick bite before making my way to Maddens Pub to meet up with Mr. Sean Mac Aindreasa.  He is one of the set of nine parents who, beyond all odds, opened the first Irish Medium school, Bunscoil Phobal Fierste, in Belfast in the early 1970s!   In the late 1960s a group of Irish speaking families set up an urban Gaeltacht on Shaw's Road, and in 1971 Bunscoil Phobal Feirste began with nine children.  Colm, (my buddy from St. Mary's University College and Kelly's Cellars drinking buddy) is Sean's son and one of the nine original children.  Voluntary fundraising from the community kept the school running for the first thirteen years, even through the Troubles and during a time when the government didn't support the school through legal or monetary means. 

Most of our conversation tonight centered around small talk and a bit of reminiscing about the last 40 years and the changes both Sean and Colm have seen.  Maddens is supposed to be the number 1 traditional music bar in Belfast (and serves the best pint of Guinness in Belfast) but on Wednesday evenings, there is set dancing.  So Colm took me upstairs to get a closer look.  Set dancing is similar to the type of dancing you might see at a ceile but more difficult.  It reminds me of a combination of square dancing and ballroom dancing, only on speed!  Needless to say, I just watched.  Set dancing on wooden floors above the bar wasn't very conducive to conversation, so I have another date with Sean (and one of his friends) on Tuesday afternoon.  It's a club of two (originally 4) who've been meeting for decades on Tuesday afternoons.  He made me an "honorary member".  Sean was getting an early train to Galway to see one of his other sons (and a grandson who had a recent birthday) so we made an early night of it (read, we stayed until the pub closed at around 12:15 and the bell was rung for "last call") after a few rounds of Guinness and whisky.  I am definitely going to miss Belfast and all the people I've come to know.

Pamela Louderback, Day 88

Today, I walked down University Street to Ormeau Road, on to Cooke Street to visit the Bunscoil that I had attempted to visit in December when we received our first snow storm.  Today, however, the weather was much more pleasant.  The Scoil An Droichid is situated in Cooke Street in the heart of the Lower Ormeau Road.

Scoil An Drochid currently provides Irish medium 'bunscoil' in South Belfast and serves children from all over the area.  Many of the children are from the area surrounding the school which is primary Catholic and lower socio-economic.  The school is multi-denominational and implements pro-active policies regarding the appreciation of diversity in our city.  It continues to grow in numbers and reputation.  The school area is comprised of three prefab constructions situated on land that is leased by a nearby brick building.  Larionad An Droichid, An Droichead’s cultural centre is situated behind Scoil An Droichead, and is visible from the main Ormeau Road. The £400,000, award-winning building houses a creche, nursery and pre-school group. A performing area accommodates plays, ceilis, dinners and other social events.

I was graciously met by the principal, Fionnguala who spoke with me at length about the history of the school, the community support, and a bit about policies, procedures, and classroom management/development.  She also gave me a tour of the nursery school area and the Rands 1-7 (grades Kindergarten through 6th).  They have programs for special needs childrens, and several retired teachers come to the school to assist.  Also, there are opportunities in the evening for adults to learn the Irish language; some of the parents take advantage of the opportunity to learn. 

Now to transcribe!

Pamela Louderback, Day 87

Most of today was spent catching up on my emails as I haven't had access to the Internet for a week.  I also spent some time preparing for my visit to the Bunscoil on Ormeau Road.  I received an email from one of my US Fulbright buddies, Kieran Mannion, inviting me to dinner -- so that was an added bonus to the end of the day.  We ate at Villa Italia, an Italian restaurant that I walk past every day but have never eaten at.  I had the pleasure of Kieran's company, as well as his lovey wife, Mary, and engagingly beautiful daughter, Nuala.  Kieran is practicing his Italian and is well known by the proprieter (his family makes a habit of having dinner there once a week) so we were well taken care of. 

Villa Italia has over 300 seats and been well established on the South side of Belfast in the University area since 1998. A listed Georgian building, its success as one of Belfast's most popular eateries, continues to grow.  While sitting under trellises of succulent grapes, surrounded by murals of Italian countryside, terracotta tiles, the subtle smell of garlic in the air and even Italian speaking waiters amongst our staff, one cannot help but feel transported to La Bella Italia itself!  I had the Linguini Scoglio -- a classic Dish of Linguini pasta, tossed with garlic, King prawns, and mussels, in a light white wine and tomato sauce.  Portions were extremely large and the food was especially tasty.  Afterwards, we were given a complimentary glass of Sambuca.  Sambuca is an Italian anise-flavoured liquer.  Ours was the colorless,most common variety often referred to as white sambuca.   It arrived at the table on fire -- with three floating coffee beans -- and we had a bit of trouble blowing out the flame before drinking the liquer.  I am one to always try something at least once, but I must say, this will likely be the last time I partake of Sambuca.  It has a strongly licorice-like flavor to it - and not being a big fan of licorice or liquer, a small sip was enough for me. 

Pamela Louderback, Day 86

After yesterday, today was pretty uneventful -- just an eight hour journey home via train, plane, and taxi. 

Today began at 8:00 a.m. with a full English breakfast before departing Roscrea B & B for the Bodmin Town train station.  Sarah, the proprieter, makes her own marmalades and mushroom ketchup so I tried every flavor.  The lemon and lime marmalade was my favorite, with a close second of Lady marmalade.  The mushroom ketchup would take some getting used to, though.   

My train ride from Bodmin to Gatwick City airport took approximately five hours.  Because of recent heavy rains, the tracks were slippy (they refer to it as slippy, not slippery) which slowed down the train ride a bit.  Due to the delay, I barely made my flight connection and had to run through the airport just to make it in time.  What a sight that must have been -- hearkening back to the O.J. Simpson commercials -- except not so graceful on my part.  But, my luck held up!  The flight from Gatwick to Belfast City was an uneventful hour trip (thankfully).   I arrived back in Belfast around 6:30 and got a taxi to the apartment where I proceeded to unpack and do laundry. 

Pamela Louderback, Day 85

Last night we took the 4:52 p.m. - St Erth train to Bodmin Parkway to arrive around 5:30  at Bodmin Parkway.  From there, we took the 5:30 p.m. #555 bus into Bodmin Town.  The ride didn't take more than about 20 minutes.  Finding the B &  B was another story altogether!  The bus driver was not sure where the B & B was but motioned up a very steep hill and said he thought it was up the hill about a "5 minutes' walk" (which can usually mean up to a 20 minute walk).  So, up the hill we went, dragging all of our luggage for a fruitless evening stroll of Bodmin Town.  No B & B to be found - so we turned around and retraced our steps back in to town.  After asking another local, we aimlessly walked in another direction for approximately 10 minutes -- also a fruitless endeavor.  Finally, we stopped at a Pizza Parlor and I asked to borrow the Yellow Pages, getting the actual address.  A local gentleman, waiting for pizza, knew where it was (now that we had the address) and gave us directions.  When we arrived, I noticed the b & B was actually only about 500 feet from where the bus had dropped us off!  Well, at least we got some exercise and got to see some of Bodmin Town. 

We stayed the night at Roscrea B&B after eating a tasty meal at the Ginhouse Bodmin which was just around the corner and had a lovely assortment of foods.  They even have a Facebook page!  Our B & B proprieter suggested we try the Bodmin Jail Restaurant -- but that was at least a 20 minute walk.  According to Sarah, our proprieter, this is about experiencing the best Cornwall has to offer on a plate, everything is made fresh to order from Hangman's Chicken, to scallops and prawns.  They also have gluten-free and vegetarian options. Their chalkboard specials change on a daily basis, reflecting the changing seasons in the sea and on the land. This "top of the range" restaurant is a must, selling all home cooked local produce prepared daily by our team of qualified chefs -- but maybe I'll check it out on another visit -- I'd had enough walking for one night. 

Today, we awoke exceptionally early to get a good start on the day.  At 7:15 we got the 555 bus from Bodmin Town to Wadebridge, arriving in Wadebridge around 8:00.  We had about an hour to kill before our  9:05 bus from Wadebridge to Tintagel, so we strolled around the streets window shopping.  There were quite a few book stores that I wished I could have actually gone into, but they would not be opening for another hour.  We made our way back to the bus stop and I had just enough time to run across the street to the bakery and get a small loaf of french bread and some water for the trip.  By 9:45 we arrived in Tintagel. 

Once in Tintagel, we saw the Old Post Office (closed for the winter, but we were able to see it from outside...) and the Parish Church (St Materiana) on our way to Tintagel Castle area.  Sarah, our B & B proprieter had consulted a 2009 tide water timetable that showed a low tide of 2:00 p.m. so we thought we had time before hitting Merlin's Cave for a bit of Cornish Cream Tea.  It's quite an impressive hotel, the Camelot Castle -- right before you get to the Tintagel Castle area, so we passed the time lounging in their seating area with our cream tea.  Touted the "Diamond Jewel of Cornwall", the birthplace of King Arthur, Tintagel.  A stunning Castle Hotel - rooms with a priceless view over the Cornish coastline. Dog and pet friendly (they have a resident French bulldog Chloe who is quite friendly) with a private beach with crystal clear sea and sand. Anyone who appreciates art, natural beauty and relaxation will love it.   The owner is also an artist and exhibitions of artwork are displayed throughout the hotel.  With its unsurpassed scenery, natural beauty, peace and tranquility, it is for all possibly one of the most inspiring locations in the world. Many a famous person has stayed here over the years including Ava Gardner, Donald Pleasance, J B Priestley, Sir Laurence Olivier, Sir Noel Coward and Sir Winston Churchill. 

We also had time to write a letter to Merlin while at the Camelot Castle.  On the Round Table sat a box where visitors could place notes to Merlin.  I'm looking forward to hearing back from him regarding the questions I posed.  While there, we found out the tides were well off the 2009 mark and that we would barely, if at all be able to make Merlin's Cave, so off we went running the countryside like crazed fools, trying desperately to get to the cave before the tide came in.  Unfortunately, we didn't make it which just means I have a reason to come back! 

The North winds were extremely harsh that day and we were hard pressed to keep our footing during our onward journey up to the Tintagel Castle area.  Several times, I had to hunch over like Quasi Moto for fear of being blown over the cliffs.  The knots in my hair left behind from the wind were some of the worst I have ever had.  But I get ahead of myself.  For those of you who may not know about the Tintagel (pronounced Tin-ta'-jel) here's a bit of information:

Tintagel Castle is, according to Geoffrey of Monmouth in his History of the Kings of Britain, written 1139, the birthplace of King Arthur, son of Uther Pendragon and Queen Igraine.  Although there is no evidence to either prove or disprove this story, I am a believer!  Some say this is just legend.  According to the archaeologists, this place was a Roman settlement and military outpost, most likely called Durocornovium.
There was some kind of monastic settlement there in the 5th or 6th century, maybe the stronghold of a Celtic king. This would seem entirely possible, as the site would have made an impressive fort and would be almost impenetrable to any enemies attempting to storm the headland.

A finding during an 1998 excavation increased the possibility of a connection with King Arthur: a slate of 20 by 30 cm with the inscription ARTOGNOV, the Latin version of the British name Arthnou. Its from the 6th century, which is most likely the time when Arthur lived.  This castle fits the legend very well, because of another fact: -- Merlin's Cave below the castle. Merlin is said to have lived in a cave below the fortress of Tintagel while King Arthur grew up, to be his teacher. In one version of the legend, Arthur was found by Merlin washed ashore in a cave below the castle.  Below Tintagel Castle a fault or a layer of weaker rocks crosses the Tintagel Head, the castle is built on. It also crosses several other heads to the north and south, as can be seen from the castle. The rocks were eroded by the sea and so several irregular sea caves were formed, all in one row.  Two caves are easy to access from the footpath to Tintagel Castle. Both are high enough to walk through, both are going through the whole head to the other side.

While at Tintagel, we saw the lower main, upper mainland and Island courtyards; the Iron Gate, the Dark-Ages remains, the garden and Northern ruins.  We went into the Tunnel area near the Well, and were almost blown off of the Southern cliffs!  Making our way toward the Chapel, we also saw The Haven, the Great ditch and the Viewing platform.  There's even a Gun-house and Cove -- and of course, the castle.  Some other interesting facts about Tintagel Castle area include: after a period as a Roman settlement and military outpost, Tintagel became a trading settlement of Celtic kings of Cornwall during the 5th and 6th centuries. Legend has it that one of these was King Mark, whose nephew Tristan fell in love with Yseult (or Isolde). Their doomed romance is part of Tintagel's story.  (Probaby my most favorite story from the Arthurian legends)

The remains of the 13th century castle are breathtaking. Steep stone steps, stout walls and rugged windswept cliff edges encircle the great hall, where Richard, Earl of Cornwall, once feasted.  In 1998, excavations were undertaken under the direction of Professor Chris Morris of the University of Glasgow, on a relatively sheltered and small site on the eastern side of the island, first excavated in the 1930s.   High-status imported Mediterranean pottery of the 5th and 6th centuries was found, as well as some fragments of fine glass believed to be from 6th or 7th century Málaga in Spain. Even more remarkable was that 1,500 year-old piece of slate on which remained two Latin inscriptions. The second inscription reads: 'Artognou, father of a descendant of Coll, has had (this) made.' Who exactly Artognou was continues to be the subject of lively speculation.   I, for one, believe!

After visiting the Tintagel Castle area, we made our way back in to town to check out the King Arthur's Great Halls.  King Arthur's Hall was the brainchild of Frederick Thomas Glasscock, a retired London businessman, who came to Tintagel early in the twentieth century and who was captivated by the legend. He had the wealth (made by selling custard mixes) to translate his dream into reality and has left us a legacy for all to enjoy.   He was a partner in the famous Monk & Glass custard firm which was based in Clarkenwell, London. Bird's custard bought the company in the early part of the century. Over two hundred million people have visited the Halls since they opened in June 1933. The Hall was a venue in 1995 of the BBC's  'National Lottery Live' television programme. The producer wanted to shift the Granite  Round Table but it  is eight feet in diameter, is in five sections and weighs a ton, so he dropped this idea! 

Glasscock's 'Fellowship Of The Knights Of the Round Table Of King Arthur' was founded in 1927 and by the  early 1930s membership had reached 17,000, although some newspaper reports put it as high as 250,000.  Glasscock worked hard at the Fellowship creating Chapters & Cells both in the UK and abroad, establishing branches in New South Wales, Australia, in Canada and in Boston, Massachusetts. He died of a heart attack on 26th July 1934, aged 63, and was buried at sea.  The Fellowship was wound up on 21st November 1936, and the Halls were only viewed by appointment.  Thankfully, the Freemasons of Tintagel purchased the building in 1952 and have looked after the building since that time. It is only since the early 1990s that the Halls have been opened on a full time commercial basis. In 1993, the Fellowship was revived on a more straightforward basis and details of its aims and objectives can be obtained  from the Halls. At this time there are about three hundred members worldwide.

There's an authentic Round Table and granite thrones surrounded by 72 spectacular stained glass windows depicting various knights of the roundtable's shields as well as knightly valors (fidelity, honor, etc...).  The tour begins with a laser light and music show of the legend of King Arthur, and is narrated by Robert Powell.  My favorite part was most defintely the 72 Stained Glass Windows, all created by a lady called Veronica Whall.  The artefacts on show and the Presentation on King Arthur's life make this one of the highlights of the visit to Tintagel.

After visiting the Great Hall, we had a quick late lunch across the street and waited for the 4:15 Tintagel to Wadebridge (#594) bus, followed by the 5:55 - Wadebridge to Bodmin Town (555 Bus).  We made it an early night given the days events and I took in "Devil Wears Prada" before retiring for the night.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pamela louderback, Day 84

As with previous days, today was an early and full day.  After a full English breakfast, the Fulbright group met in the front lobby of the Penventon and departed promptly at 8:30 for St. Ives.  We had a pleasant 45 minute coach ride to St. Ives where we were given a guided tour of the Tate St. Ives gallery.  The current exhibit was Peter Lanyon.  Peter Lanyon has come increasingly to be seen as one of the most important innovative figures in twentieth century British art. Lanyon was the leading exponent of abstract expressionism in Britain in the 1950s. Art critics say he developed a new language for painting with his unmatched formal and technical experimentation. Though his roots were in the Constructivism of Naum Gabo, he saw himself as remaking the tradition of landscape painting, using landscape and places to express ideas about states of being and the human condition.

Studies and displays of Lanyon's art have often focused on the places and experiences from which he said his works derived. This exhibition will seek also to throw light upon the technical qualities of the work, to emphasise his technical innovation and progression.  Our tour guide was very informative as he shared information (both personal and professional) regarding Peter Lanyon and Lanyon's body of work from his early period through to his untimely hand-gliding accident and death.  After seeing some of Lanyon's work at the Ulster Museum in Belfast, I have become to appreciate his work so getting to see more works at St. Ives and finding out more personal information (as well as professional) about Lanyon and his work, was a treat for me.  Additionally, there were some sculptures from his studio of pieces he used as inspiration for his paintings.  The sculptures were featured alongside his paintings.

After our tour at the Tate St. Ives, we walked several blocks to the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden.  Barbara Hepworth was an English sculptor whos work exemplifies Modernism; she is considered to be one of the key players who helped to develop modern art (sculpture in particular). 
The Museum and Sculpture Garden in St. Ives, Cornwall preserves the 20th century sculptor's studio and garden much as they were when she lived and worked there.  On the ground floor, there are displays of photos ranging from her early days throughout her career as an artist.  On the second floor, many of her pieces are displayed.   The studio, known as Trewyn Studio, was purchased byb Ms. Hepworth in 1949, and is typical of the stone-built houses in St Ives. She and her husband were vacationing in Cornwall when World War II broke out and at the suggestion of many, she decided to stay instead of returning to war torn London. 

Her living room is furnished as she left it, while the workshop remains full of her tools and equipment, materials, and part-worked pieces.  She died in bed after falling asleep while smoking a cigarette.  Her studio are has been left exactly how it was found when staff arrived the following day.   Steps from the second floor down to the first floor lead out to the Garden area where many of her favorite pieces are on display.  The garden was an essential part of  Ms. Hepworth's creative process and when she died it opened to the public as a permanent setting to exhibit her works.  Original works were in marble, stone, and wood medium.  Her workshop also includes a queue of uncut stones of marble.When she first arrived at Trewyn Studio, Hepworth was still largely preoccupied with stone and wood carving, but during the 1950s she increasingly made sculpture in bronze as well. Later in her career, she used plaster over chicken wire to create larger works in a shorter period of time -- to meet the demands of the public for her works.  Pieces were then cast in bronze.  This led her to create works on a more monumental scale, for which she used the garden as a viewing area. The bronzes now in the garden are seen in the environment for which they were created, and most are in the positions in which the artist herself placed them.

After the group toured the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, we made our way on foot through the cobbled downtown streets to the harbour where we had a group photo in front of the Celtic Sea.  The group farewell lunch took place at the Onshore Restaurant in St. Ives that boasts "serving the finest Seafood, Pasta, Vegetarian, Pizza and Drinks in Cornwall and the South West of England."  After having sampled my Seafood Risotto, they have my vote!  The food is spectacular and the view is amazing -- situated on the wharf on the St. Ives Harbour edge, you can enjoy the beauty of the bay and harbour area teaming with boats, sea gulls and I even spotted several seals bobbing their heads above the water. 

We had some free time to explore the local area before the coach departed for St. Erth station.  Many of us shopped a bit and then headed for the beach to enjoy the sand and surf.  There were quite a few locals surfing and walking their dogs on the beach.  By 3:00 p.m. we met the coach for our trip to St. Earth where we made our onward journeys. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Pamela Louderback, Day 83

After a spectacular evening at the Penventon Park Hotel, I awoke to the sounds of birds singing.  Thinking it was probably time to get up, I looked at my iPhone to discover it was 4:00 a.m., not 6:00 a.m. as I had assumed.  I guess the birds in Cornwall get up earlier than most!  A bit about Peventon -- it is a charming romantic Georgian mansion house in acres of parkland -- and is included in the 'AA Britains Best Hotels Guide.'  Penventon Park is a holiday sanctuary like no other. It is touted as one of the finest luxury hotels in Cornwall -- and I am convinced!  It's relaxed yet decadent, with spacious rooms, opulent decor, and gracious hosts -- their aim is to spoil you -- and they do it so effortlessly. You can dine in style in their restaurant in Cornwall, pamper yourself in their pool and relax in their lounge with a glass of merlot.  And the hotel sits on acres of lush woods adorned with a variety of beautiful flowers amid cozy bench alcoves dotted with statuary.  Peventon is situated less than 20 minutes from Falmouth and St Ives so it's close to the city centre while still providing a country-like get-away feel.

Breakfast consisted of a full English course of eggs, mushrooms, rash of bacon, sausage, tomato, baked beans -- even hash browns!  And of course, a variety of cereals, fresh fruits, and breads were also provided.  A bit of bartering of food occurred at our table where some swapped mushrooms for hash browns, etc...hearkening back to school days at lunch.  By 8:45 all scholars met in front of the hotel to depart by coach for the University College Falmouth.  We arrived around 9:30 where we had welcome and introductions from Professor Anne Carlisle, the Rector and CEO of the University.

Following introductions were Powerpoint presentations from several of the faculty that included: Dr. Katie Bunnell, on 'Exploring Opportunities for Sustainable Design in a rural Context'; Professor Phil Stenton on 'Digital Economy: Research in Practice'; and Steve Trotter on the Environment and Sustainability Institute from the University of Exeter.  Presentations were followed by a campus tour of the Design Centre, media Centre and Performance Centre as well as the Biology lab and Wave lab where students are working with a team from the University of Exeter's Tremough Campus, Penryn, who designed a unique facility that will help deliver reliability and risk control for wave energy devices.  Harnessing wave technology to support energy needs is extremely catchy as ocean waves are a bit less reliable than wind energy from land. 

Lunch was provided in the Tremough House foyer and boardroom and by 1:00 p.m. we departed by coach for the Penventon Park Hotel.  There, we had representatives of Cornwall Council provide a discussion of the area mines followed by visits to the Cornish Mines and Englines and Heartlands.  At 4:00 p.m., we were hosted by the Camborne Pool Redruth Regeneration council for a bit of tea and talk.  Back to the hotel to freshen up before the Civic Reception at 7:00 p.m. which consisted of local Cornish foods provided by Council members and assorted area dignitaries.  By 9:30 pm. we departed the Civic Reception to arrive back at the hotel by 10:00 p.m.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pamela Louderback, Day 82

Originally, all scholars were to meet in front of the hotel at 8:15 where we would be joined by Fulbright staff.  However, the plans changed at the last minute, and we were to make our own way to Paddington station by 9:30.  It still required my meeting in front of the hotel -- and even earlier -- at 7:45 -- to rendezvous with Lisa Burgess and her son Wilem.  Securing journey travels for Lisa's son required we find an Internet kiosk somewhere that had a printer prior to making our way to Paddington.  We decided to forego the hotel buffet breakfast and purchase food from the market next to the hotel.  Since the Jubilee line was not operating to full capacity, we took the Waterloo line and changed to the Paddington line.  At Paddington, we had a few minutes to buy lunch from Sainsbury's M & S (grocery) which had a £3 sandwich, chips, and drink deal.  Since the train ride to Cornwall was approximately four hours + in duration, I made sure to purchase snacks as well!  Our train departed from Paddington station at 10:06 for St. Austell station (Cornwall). 

The train ride was quite nice and the time went quickly.  One scholar had brought a banjo with him and soon a small number of scholars began singing songs.  After much begging, one of our scholars (Ari) rapped in Yiddish.  By 2:00, we arrived in St Austell where we were met by a coach to store our bags for the day. 

By 2:30, the coach arrived at the Eden Project in Bodelva Cornwall.  The Eden Project is an extremely popular visitor attraction in Cornwall, including the world's largest greenhouse.  Inside the artifical biomes are plants that are collected from all around the world.  The domes consist of hundreds of hexagonal and pentagonal, inflated, plastic cells supported by steel frames.  The first dome emulates a tropical environment and the second a Mediterranean environment.  For you James Bond fans, the domes were used as a filming location for the 2002 James Bond film "Die Another Day".  The project took 2 1/2 years to construct and opened to the public on March 17, 2001.

Welcome and introductions to Eden was provided by Tim Smit, Chief Executive and Co-founder of the Eden Project.  By 3:00 p.m. we were given tours of the site, including the Rainforest Biome Viewing Platform.  It is an aerial platform at the top of the 165-foot-high Rainforest Biome which is taller than the Tower of London.  The climb up to the Lookout gives you a unique bird’s eye view of the biggest greenhouse in the world. From the platform you can see the tops of giant trees such as kapok and balsa which have nearly reached the biome ceilin and may even catch a glimpse of our resident wildlife such as tree frogs and tiny birds known as Sulawesi White Eyes.  Some scholars decided to forego this part of the tour given their fear of heights.  Personally, I could have stayed up there for hours!

By 5:30, we departed the Eden Project and arrived an hour later at Penvento Park Hotel, Redruth, Cornwall where we had a few minutes to quickly check in to our rooms and freshen up for dinner.  By 7:30 we met in front of the hotel and made our way on foot to the Melting Pot Cafe, at the Krowji Centre.  Dinner was served at 8:00 at the Melting Pot Cafe, originally the Old Grammar School.  After evening drinks, and buffet Indian dishes of chicken curry and leek soup, we had a brief presentation from Dott Cornwall. 

Krowji is Cornwall's biggest creative sector cluster, providing studios, workspaces, offices, a cafe, meeting rooms and othe rfacilities for a wide range of creative businesses at the Old Grammar School Buildingsin Redruth.  It's home to a virbant creative community which courrnelty includes painters, jewellers, furniture makers, ceramicists, textile artists, web designers, theatre companies and musicians as well as several of Cornwall's main sector support agencies such asn Creative Skills and the County Council's Creative Unit.

Dott stands for Designs of the Time.  They believe great design can make a positive difference and create a more sustainable, inclusive society.  They apply creative thinking , developing innovative design solutions and making change happen.  Their projects are doing the things that really matter for people l-- ike breathing new life into deprived areas, improving public transport options and co-designing a low carbon economy. 

Dott Cornwall is part of a program of events developed by the Design Council, driving design-led solutions to economic and social challenges throught the UK.  The Design Council, Cornwall Council, University College Falmouth and Technology Strategy Board have partnered to deliver the Dott program throughout Cornwall and the Isles of Sicily during 2010.  Throughout this whole Fulbright Forum, wherever we go and whomever we speak to, the theme is "regeneration and legacy" -- this is yet one more example of people and communities coming together to repair, revive, and redevelop areas that are depressed. 

Pamela Louderback, Day 81

Today began even earlier than yesterday.  We met in front of the hotel at 8:15 to travel to Parliament.  By 9:15 we had made our way to Parliament for a walking tour of the House of Parliament (otherwise known as the Palace of Westminster) .  Photographs were not allowed inside -- too bad -- I saw so many lovely things.  We were given a tour of the House of Lords, the Queen's Robing Room where the Queen gives her annual speech, the House of Commons, and the basement area where the original building remains. 

Structurally, the layout included a central lobby and ceremonial rooms.  After coming through the public entrance - St Stephen's entrance - the approach to the Central Lobby of the Palace is through St Stephen's Hall from St Stephen's Porch at the southern end of Westminster Hall. Central Lobby, a large octagonal hall, is the centrepiece of the Palace. When waiting to see (or 'lobby') their MP, members of the public wait here.
From the Central Lobby, corridors lead north to the House of Commons Lobby and Chamber and south to the Peers' Lobby and House of Lords Chamber. 

Beyond the House of Lords are the ceremonial rooms used during the State Opening of Parliament - the Queen's Robing Room and the Royal Gallery - reached by a separate entrance under Victoria Tower. The Royal Gallery is often used when members of the two Houses meet together to hear addresses by visiting heads of State or Government.  To the north of the House of Commons are the Speakers' and Serjeant-at-Arms's rooms, and offices for ministers and officials. Beyond these is one of the most famous features of the Palace - the Clock Tower (Big Ben).

We learned a bit of the history of the building, what happens at Parliament, how MPs (ministers of Parliament) represent their constituents, what Parliament's role is (What Parliament does, its role in UK politics, and its relationship with Government, the Crown and Europe), and what happens in Parliament on a regular basis, including Question Time, Ministerial Statements and Early Day Motions.  Question Time is an opportunity for MPs and Members of the House of Lords to ask government ministers questions.  Minsterial statements occur after Question Time (and any urgent questions that may have been allowed) a Minister may make an oral statement to the House.  Ministers can make written, as well as oral, statements to Parliament. They are normally used to put the day-to-day business of government on the official record and in the public domain.  Early day motions (EDMs) are formal motions submitted for debate in the House of Commons. However, very few EDMs are actually debated. Instead, they're used for reasons such as publiciszng the views of individual MPs, drawing attention to specific events or campaigns, and demonstrating the extent of parliamentary support for a particular cause or point of view.

After our tour, we were provided a panel discussion at 11:00 a.m. on "Regionalism, Devolution and the EU" in the Committee Room of the House of Commons, PEEL Room.  Panelists included: Liam Byrne, MP Labour's Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office and MP for Birmingham Hodge Hill )from the House of Commons -- and Fulbright alum); Caroline Pidgeon, AM and Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on the London Assembly and Vice Chair of the London Assembly's Transport Committee; Mary Honeyball, MEP Labour Member of the European Parliament, currently the Socialist and Democrat Coordinator and Labour party spokesperson on the Committee for Culture and Education; and Steve Glibert, MP and LibDem committee member of the Communities and Local Government Select Committee and chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Housing.

By 12:30, we departed Parliament for Sullivan & Cromwells via the District Line to Temple tube station.  Established in 1972, Sullivan & Cromwells's London office is the largest branch offices outside the U.S. and a natural focal point for cross-border European transactions.  The London legal staff have specialist expertise in equity and debt capital markets, M & A and private equity, project development and finance, real estate private equity and finance, leveraged and acquisition finance, antitrust and EU Competition law, tax and U.S. litigation.  Needless to say, their offices were quite spacious and the lunch (generously sponsored by Willaim A. Plapinger, Coordinator of European Offices and US-UK Fulbright Commissioner) was superb!

After the group lunch, the Scholars Forum took place at 2:00 p.m.  Fulbright Scholars presented for 10 minutes on their time in the UK thus far, and we shared any project outcomes that were available at the time.  This was an extremely interesting two hours of sharing and learning each others' successes and challenges this past six months has brought. 

Dinner took place at 6:00 p.m. -- a buffet dinner and viewing of the Geffrye Museum.  The Geffrye Museum is one of London's best-loved and most unique museums. It is situated in east London and gives an insight into how Londoners have lived over the years.  It shows the changing style of the English domestic interior in a series of period rooms from 1600 to the present day.  Collections comprise furniture, textiles, paintings and objects displayed in a series of period rooms.  We were joined by a few of the US-UK Fulbright Commissioners which allowed for a bit of social networking and sharing of our time here in the UK. 

Some of us made our way to the hotel for an early night (10:00 p.m.); others decided to check out the evening pub life.  I was beat and had hoped to get Internet access, so I fell in with the former crowd and made an early night of it to pack for our departure to Cornwall in the morning.    

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Pamela Louderback, update

Expect more on the blog soon.

Sorry for the delay getting things posted.  Delay was caused by previously mentioned laptop/wifi access issues.

Pamela Louderback, Day 80

I had no Internet while in England due to laptop wifi configuration issues so bear with me -- the next several days are recollections.  Monday's itinerary was the first of several VERY long days!  We began our day bright and early at 8:30 a.m.  I had decided the best plan of action was to partake of the full English breakfast provided at the Travelodge for a very reasonable price of £7.95 per day.  Several other Fulbrighters were already eating when I arrived at 7:15 so I joined them for a bountiful selection of eggs, rash bacon, sausage, black pudding, tomatos, and baked beans.  There was also a generous variety of cereals and breads from which to choose.   I drank lots of tea, as well!  

The Fulbright group met in front of the hotel where we were joined by Fulbright staff.  We traveled as a group to the Stratford area by tube (after signing out an Oyster card) and walked the two blocks to the Southwark station.  The Jubilee line (tube path we took) was extremely crowded due to a "passenger incident" further up the line.  What that incident involved, we never knew but suffice it to say, the incident created quite a backup for London commuters trying to get to work.  I have never been so smashed by so many bodies in such a small space.  Good thing I'm only mildly claustrophobic!  Due to the "incident", we were a bit behind schedule and arrived around 9:30 instead of the 9:15 prearranged time.  But arrive we did -- and we met the London-based scholars at Stratford Town Hall situated at 29 Broadway Stratford.  Our fearless Fulbright staff leaders Michael Scott-Kline and Elizaeth Hizer welcomed the group, and outlined the events in the week as well as introducing recetnly-arrived scholars.  Thankfully, tea (and coffee) was made available -- love that English tradition! 

By 9:45 we split into two groups to visit the Olympic Park Viewing Gallery where the London 2012 Olympics are to be held.  What a sight to see!  Before our tour, we were waiting in the lobby and the fire alarms went off.  So, we had to wait for the firemen to "all-clear" the building to determine it's safety.  I was in the second group thankfully.  Those in the first group had to descend the 21 flights of stairs due to the fire alarm.  While this was occurring, we in the second group meandered into the garden area -- a much nicer alternative!  It provided us with a bit of time to catch up with some of our fellow scholars and to read the speakers bios.  The sight of the Olympics is quite magnificent in itself but more importantly, it's situated in the poorest section of London.  The influx of monies to create housing for athletes (that will be made available for Londoners in the depressed area after the Olympics) and structures for athletics and shopping, etc... supports their whole idea of "legacy" which will allow those living in the area to take full advantage of structures, etc...once the Olympics is over. 

By 11:30 we returned to the Stratford Town Hall to listen to a panel discussion on the London Olympics entitled "Regeneration and Legacy"  Those on the panel included: Tessa Jowell, MP of Labour, Dulwich and West Norwood; Nick Falk, Director of URBED (Urbanism, Environment and Design -- an urban design and consultancy practice based in Manchester who performed a sustainability exchange on the whole idea of "Legacy" in the area the Olympics would be held; and Liz McMahon, managing Director of Madison-Muir and former Head of the International Marketing for the London 2012 Games bid.  It was very interesting to hear the diverse perspectives of each speaker as it related to the factors behind creating a regeneration project and legacy theme to the most depressed area of London through the Olympics. 

After lunch, we were provided with another panel discussion at 2:00 that dealt with "Coalition Politics and Post-CSR Britain" which included: Lord Stewart Wood, advisor to Ed Milliband (and a  Fulbright Alum; and James Crabtree, Financial Times journalist (also a Fulbright Alum).  The playfully antagonistic exchange between a Lord and the journalist made for a very delightful afternoon panel -- and a very informative one, as well. 

By 4:00 p.m. the group departed for the Wimbledon area, traveling by tube to the Central Line to Mile End where we changed onto the District Line to Wimbledon.  The stark contrast between Stratford and Wimbledon as it related to socio-economic housing, etc.. was sobering.  I certainly hope that the regeneration and legacy ideal behind the Olympics is a successful one!  The ride to Wimbledon took about an hour which afforded another opportunity to catch up with fellow Fulbrighters on their studies or research endeavors.  By 5:30, we were all seated at the Pizza Express for a light dinner before Panto - which was to begin at 7:00 p.m.

The walk from dinner to the New Wimbeldon Theatre took about 20 minutes.  The evening performance was Peter Pan.  We were treated to an outstanding pantomime (big thing in the UK) with an outstanding cast to celebrate the theatre's 100th birthday.  David Hasselhoff played Captain Hook alongside Louie Spence (star of Pineapple Studio) who played the cabin boy, Roger.  Louie Spence's performance was magnificent -- my personal favorite!  The performance was wonderfully hilarious with a very talented cast.

We made our way home back around 9:30 p.m. to the hotel from Wimbledon station by taking the District Line to Westminster and changing onto the Jubilee Line to go to Southwark.  All day, I had been toting my umbrella and there was not a drop of precipitation.  However, after the performance, the rain was nearly torrential!  Boy was I glad I had the umbrella.  Some of the more young and adventurous decided to hit the pubs after the performance -- I was not one of them.  By the time I fell into bed around 11:00 p.m., I could barely move from the days events!  And I knew that the following day would start even earlier and be jam packed with even more events/venues. 

Pamela Louderback, Day 79

I had to get up rather earlier than what I've become accustomed to (6:30) for an early flight from Belfast to London for the Fulbright Forum week.  It had gotten quite cold overnight and rained so as I walked out of the apartment to make my way to the Taxi queu on Botanic Avenue, I failed to notice the ice patch and ended up falling outside the apartment.  Thankfully, I fell on my luggage which softened the blow considerably.  This event was followed by no taxi's queing (as the usually do) requiring me to walk an extra five minutes to a call center.  Despite both events, I made my flight in plenty of time and the rest of the trip was pretty uneventful

I flew into London Gatwick (cheaper than Heathrow) and took a 45 minute train ride to the London Bridge area where the Travelodge was situated.  Since I arrived a bit earlier in the day, I took advantage of the extra time before nightfall would set in and walked around the area.  I got to see the Southwark (pronounced Suthick) Cathedral, the London Bridge area, the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, and the Borough Market.  I was able to meet up with a fellow Fulbrighter - Lisa Burgess - Distinguished Teacher of the Year - and we set out for adventure.

Southwark Cathedral is situated on the south bank of the River Thames close to London Bridge.  It's surrounded by railway lines and buildings, including the historic Borough Market.  The small church yard on the south side of the Cathedral is a favourite lunch-time resting place for local office workers. 

Southwark Cathedral

Urban graffitti wall with hardhat workers represented

Street underpass with bright lights on walls

Sidewalk tiles showing the way to the Tate

Menier Chocolate Factory

"America Street" on the walk to the hotel

A bit of history of the Cathedral -- ( it is situated on a very historic site. It is believed that there has been a church here for over 1000 years. Prior to that there was a Roman villa. Some of its pavement has been incorporated into the floor. In 1977 a well was discovered beneath the choir, it contained a pagan statue believed to have been put there in the fourth century.
St Swithun, Bishop of Winchester 852 - 867, is traditionally believed to have set up a college of priests on the site. The first conclusive proof of a church comes in the Domesday Book of 1086. This records that a monasterium was present during the reign of Edward the Confessor (1042 - 1066) with its own wharf for the profitable unloading of goods brought up the river. After the Norman Conquest control of the church passed to Odo, Bishop Bayeaux and then William de Warenne, Earl of Surrey.   In 1106 a new church, St Mary Overie (over the river), was founded by two knights, William Pont de l'Arche and William Dauncey. This church was served by Regular Canons of St Augustine. Part of their duties was to give relief to the sick and needy. To do this they built a hospital and dedicated it to St Thomas of Canterbury. Now relocated to Lambeth St Thomas's Hospital is still caring for the sick today. Guy's Hospital, still based near the Cathedral, was founded in 1720 to care for patients who could not be accommodated in St Thomas's.  Bishop William Gifford assisted with the building of St Mary Overie. His successor, Henry of Blois, left his mark by building his espiscopal palace, Winchester Palace, two minutes walk from the Cathedral. This building was occupied until 1626, meaning that St Mary Overie could rely on the patronage of the Bishop of Winchester for all that time. Remains of the Palace, including a beautiful rose window, survive to this day.

Present functions for the Cathedral include a center for teaching, and lay readers and pastoral auxiliaries receive their training here.  It's also a popular venue for concerts and hosts the annual Southwark Festival (visual arts and drama production exhbitions).

Borough Market is a wholesale fruit and vegetable market where artisan bakers produce a variety of products created by hand in their own kitchens.  It wasn't open at the time for business, but I was able to walk around the area and see the various layouts.  Especially enjoyable was the Market Map that employs a picture of a cow similar to a butcher's rendition of parts of the cow for butchering.  Areas of the Market are displayed on the cow picture with "You are Here" notations -- quite clever.  

I finished the day by taking a "tea" break with Lisa at the Menier Chocolate Factory and Theatre.  The Invisible Man was playing but was a sold out performance so I wasn't able to stay for the show.    The Menier Chocolate Factory has been a full time producing house since 2004, and comprises a theatre, restaurant, bar and rehearsal space.  Throughout its history, the Menier Chocolate Factory building has been inspired by both individuality and the pursuit of quality. Built in 1870 to house a chocolate factory, this unique space now comprises a restaurant and bar, rehearsal room and 150 seat theatre. Having maintained the original exposed wooden beams, unusual cast iron columns and an amazing brick feature interior, the Chocolate Factory is a stimulating environment to enjoy a high-quality and entertaining theatrical experience.  Inside the restaurant, the bare brick and timber beams offset with mellow sounds and candlelight create the perfect atmosphere to relax for lunch, evening drinks or dining pre or post theatre. 

Pictures of Menier Chocolate Factory and Theatre -- and surrounding area

Retro lamp on antique stove in Meniers

Theatre bills on walls near couch where Lisa & I sat sipping tea

Poster with history and information on Menier's

Entrance to basement area where theatre productions are performed

Outside view of building next to Menier's

Lord Nelson Bar across the street from the Travelodge Hotel where I stayed

Seating area near hotel

Union Jack, another bar across from the hotel

Urban graffitti next to the entrance to the hotel

Afterwards, Lisa and I met up with a new Fulbrighter (Kristin) who will begin her tenure at Sheffield.  Kristin, her husban and two children had recently flown from Michigan.  We all rounded out the day by taking the tube to Leicester Station  China Town area for a Chinese Buffet dinner.  Since tomorrow was going to be an early and long day -- we made our way back to the hotel by 10 p.m.
London Bridge area

The Anchor Bar and Restaurant

Lovely garden and ivy on sidewalk

Plaque on the Christopher Wren building

Thameside Inn and London Bridge wharf area

Art near Southwark Cathedral area

Sidewalk lit up near London Bridge/Southwark Cathedral area

"World famous" gym on the way to hotel

Entrance to China Town district

Foo Dogs in China Town

Chinese restaurant witih ducks hanging in window

Leaving China Town outside other gate entrance