The British Museum and Relearning to Drive

Hello all! Been a busy week, but not with much to report back with that would excite the general public. I did enjoy getting to drag my favorite Englishman through a city in England he’d never been, but I’m dying to have some of the folks back in the US threatening to come visit come do the same tour. I can only imagine the comments. Thursday was the day with the most photographs this week as the museum studies department took a field trip down to the British Museum. I think the photos can stand for themselves to sum up what only a fraction of this museum has to offer.

I’ve been to the British Museum before, and I need to go yet again before I am satisfied that I’ve seen all I wanted to see. Maybe. There’s so much!

After our field trip, some of us stayed afterwards to do the London Dungeon tour, being the day before Halloween and all. If you’re a fan of blending history and pop culture with some shock scares, then this is an excellent adventure. We witnessed Jack the Ripper stalk the streets, the plague sweep through the country, and even took a boat tour through Traitor’s Gate. Mind you, they don’t mention just how much queueing is involved, but I still think it was well worth it with friends to wait with. We all grabbed a bite to eat and wandered around a little bit before we took a late train home to Leicester afterwards.

 

Friday in seminar the group discussed some of the ethical issues to be found in the British Museum (And there are loads to be discussed, really.) and from there I hopped on the train to Colchester for the weekend. There wasn’t much going on for Halloween in Leicester, and Colchester was about the same. The pubs and bars had people dressed up, and a few shops had paper pumpkins or skeleton stickers on their windows, but Halloween is celebrated with nearly the same enthusiasm as Earth Day in the States. Mostly just a reason to dress up and get a drink. Or just get a drink. Saturday however, was a more exciting prospect as I was finally convinced to hire a car for the weekend to get a feel for how to drive in England.

 

IMG_3954
My valiant steed.

What we thought we were getting was a Ford Mondeo (Ford Fusion in the US), which while a wider car in the UK was not all that bad. What we actually got was a minivan. A really nice new minivan, but a tank of a vehicle for such tiny English roads. Giggle now as I complain about that size, but imagine taking almost half the width off a US road and you’ll understand why it was so concerning. This poor behemoth straddled both lines of the road nearly all the time. Taking the car out of the car park, I actually got immediately into the right hand lane… Thankfully I had the ever-patient M (This man is seriously a saint.) in the passenger seat to guide me through staying on the correct side of the road and all the roundabouts we went through. You don’t notice it when you’re walking through the towns and cities, but I swear to god that half of Colchester just consists of roundabouts. Was honked at probably a good 6-7 times through Saturday as I got a crash-course (but no car crash!) in the English rules of the road I didn’t realize. Yes, as an American over the age of 25, you can in fact just hire a car with your US license. I would personally recommend to have the UK ban this practice as it’s got to be causing a significant amount of chaos on the road. I think I only managed because I had someone to tell me what I was doing was wrong. The amount of honking did go down exponentially over the next two days, but it’ll be some time before I’d be completely confident with driving in the UK as much as I was in the US. A necessary evil I suppose.

Otherwise, it was a mostly quiet week, a wonderful weekend, and now a sickly start back into the week as I deal with a persistent cough and itchy throat that have snuck up on me. Yay for new germs. Bonfire Night is tomorrow, so I hope I’m feeling well enough to get out and see some fireworks, but if not there is the perk of being in one of the tallest buildings in Leicester. Hope all is well wherever you are, and I’ll speak to y’all on the flip side of my next major essay. Wish me luck!

— Kate