Wednesday, May 31, 1989

Horseback Riding in Beverley ...

Woke up, ate breakfast, and received a great letter from home that had £60 in it! So I took that along with a check from Dr. Morrison for £16.50 (he gave it to me for train fare) and deposited it all in the bank. Then, after withdrawing £10, I still had £30 left in my account. I also have a £65 Access bill coming, so I'm still actually in debt... but I fortunately have my overdraft to lean back on.

Hard times these are, financially, for a poor college student abroad.

Anyway, I bought myself a bacon sandwich at the Colberg Deli for lunch, and then read the newspaper at the library.

At 2 p.m., Jenny, Simon, Karen and I caught the bus to Beverley, and at 3 p.m., we were riding horses through town. (Pictured is Beverley Minster.) This was actually the first time since my trip to Mount Rushmore in 1982 that I rode on a horse, so it was difficult for me at the start to get accustomed to it, but it was good fun besides.

The four of us rode on our horses along the roads through town, which was very nice. Beverley is a pretty little town. This was certainly an unusual way to view it. It did make my bum sore when all was said and done, but I managed. Definitely a good experience.

When we were done, I had a quick snack while we waited for the bus, and when we finally returned to the halls, Simon and I went straight to dinner.

Following that, I went back to my room and began recopying the first part of my epic short story, "The Thirty-Seventh Heir." That is, until Sam stopped by and convinced me that we should go to the movie theatre and see the remake of the horror flick "The Blob." Good schlock-horror-comedy, it was. I quite enjoyed the film, as did Sam.

When we returned to The Grange, we had coffee in my room, listening to Steve Miller Band and talking our usual conversations, while Shannon roamed the room all the while.


Tuesday, May 30, 1989

The Return Trip to Hull ...

Today was "Return to Hull" day, so I packed my bags, bid my farewells, and Fiona drove me to Liverpool Lime Street station to catch the 10.52 a.m. train.

No problems on the journey, as I just read pretty much the whole way, changing trains at Leeds. I arrived in Hull at about half two, and then caught the bus back to The Grange halls.

Checked my post (no letters arrived while I was out), then I relaxed in my room. A bit later on, Kofe stopped by and we talked for awhile about Millersville (he was an exchange student there last year), music, America and various other topics.

A bit later on, and after cleaning up my room, I went over to St. Hilda's to visit J.P. We talked about the weekend past, baseball, and our usual fare. He said his last performance of The Mikado went really well.

Dinner in the refectory was poor. But later that evening, there was some good TV. Both an episode of "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" series and "The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4" were on at the same time. "Hitchhiker" won, and it was fun to watch. It's a shame that I'll miss the last 2-3 episodes, as they won't be shown before I head back to America.

Following that we watched "Moonlighting," then "Thirtysomething" was on, but I left the common room to visit Sam, and we ended up talking for the rest of the evening.

Jenny Rourke stopped by and asked me if I'd be interested in going horseback riding with her and some friends tomorrow, and I said I would. That could be fun (I hope)!

Went up to pick up Shannon the Hamster from Cat, and she said that all went well with her over the weekend. Good to hear!

(Pictured is a photo of the Coca-Cola cans that I collected and displayed on a ledge over the one window in my room. Pretty cool, huh?)


Monday, May 29, 1989

Bank Holiday in the UK ...

Today is Memorial Day in the U.S. It's not celebrated here, but they do have a "bank holiday." Just a day off, apparently, that happens to always fall on the same day as Memorial Day.

Slept in a bit later today and didn't even really leave the house on this day of remembrance. Fiona's boyfriend Dave (pictured with Fiona, showing off their American influences) was over at the house today, taking Dr. Morrison's phone calls in case a patient in need of his services would call. So Dave and I sat and talked for a good part of the day. I also got some studying done as well, finishing up on "The Importance of Being Earnest," and nearly finishing "A Handful of Dust."

Ate a makeshift dinner of whatever we could find in the house, which was highlighted by us putting the mini chicken kievs in the microwave to see if that would cook them OK. (They exploded.)

Watched Superman II on the telly, then bits of "Miami Vice" and a pretty bad Pee Wee Herman special. I finished the day playing Rummy with Dave and Fiona, though we played using rules that were completely foreign to me (this being a foreign country, I guess I was being the foreign one). I did alright, as it came down to our final hand to determine the winner.

Read a bit more before going to bed.

Good news: The dollar is stronger than ever, about $1.56 to the pound. That'll hopefully help me out a bit.


Sunday, May 28, 1989

My First Trip into Wales ...

What a grand day today, even if I didn't get any studying done (again). I woke up early and ate breakfast with an international crowd, reading the Sunday Times and talking over various topics.

When it was a little past 11 a.m., we all gathered our gear and headed into Wales. Rosemary (pictured right, with me) was traveling with Dr. Morrison and me, and her friends traveled in the other car. It took us awhile to get there, with holiday traffic and all, but it moved steadily.

It was a beautiful day and the scenery was wonderful. It's a shame my parents aren't here to see this... they'd love it!

As our drive progressed, we somehow had lost the other car, and when we finally arrived at our destination, the town of Porthmadog, there was no sign of them. So after eating lunch and a brief look in Cob, a nearby record shop, Dr. Morrison and I took the Ffestiniog Railway trip to Blaenau Ffestiniog, leaving Rosemary behind so that she could meet with her friends.

It was a lovely trip, and I took loads of photos along the way. We returned on board the same train and arrived back in Porthmadog at 5.10... giving us just enough time to look through that record shop again. I bought a cassette tape of Mike Oldfield's "Platinum" (second hand), and Michael Rutherford's album "Smallcreep's Day" for £1.45. Dr. Morrison bought three jazz tapes and a Bob Newhart record album.

When we got into the car, we listened to some of our music along the way, and took a slightly different route home. We stopped at the Theatr Clwyd Cymru to take a look at it. Fabulous place, though not much was going on while we were there. I bought a King Arthur poster while I was there.

We returned to Ness at about half nine, ate some Chinese food, and watched the last bit of "A Handful of Dust" on TV. I'll watch it in full on video tape tomorrow.

After the show I phoned my parents and talked to them about today's trip, as well as about their plans for coming here next month. Everything is still a go. Also, Uncle Larry and Aunt JoAnne were at the house when I called, so I was able to talk to them as well. Hey, they were eating Chinese as well!

Next I listened to "Smallcreep's Day" (I quite like it!) while finishing up reading "The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4," which is really good. Chris Mulvihill would like it.

  • Number One Song in Britain This Week: "Ferry 'Cross the Mersey" - Gerry Marsden, Paul McCartney, Holly Johnson and The Christians (for the Hillsborough Disaster)

  • Number One Song in America This Week: "Rock On" - Michael Damian


Saturday, May 27, 1989

Meeting at a Pub in Chester ...

I had a lie-in today until around noon, when I arose and ate. Milled about Dr. Morrison's house until about 5 p.m., doing little of any consequence, at which time Dr. Morrison and I left for Chester.

Once we arrived in Chester, we met up with his niece, Rosemary, and four of her friends, at a nice pub/restaurant for a meal. Three of Rosemary's friends were from New Zealand (Ian, Shelley, and the other one whose name escapes me at the moment) and one of her friends was from Texas (Wilson).

We carried on some interesting international conversations and discussions (Ian was impressed with my desire to become a journalist) before we left to go see a movie. We went to see "Beaches," a bit of a tear-jerker at the end of the film. It wasn't too bad, though. (At times when the movie was quiet, you could hear sniffs from the people in the audience.)

After the movie we all returned to Dr. M's house, where we watched a Billy Connolly video. Good fun! I ended the evening talking to Rosemary about traveling... she's done quite a bit herself.

Tomorrow we are talking about taking a trip into Wales. I can see it from the back window of Dr. Morrison's house, but so far I have not been there yet.

(Pictured is a pub-restaurant in downtown Chester. I've dined there before, but I'm not certain if I did on this particular evening. Still, very nice building.)


Friday, May 26, 1989

Leaving for Liverpool ...

I spent the morning re-taping Liz's Beatles' tapes for her, while I still had Jane's recorder in my possession, and before leaving on my trip to Liverpool. Once I was finished, I gave the recorder back to Jane, dropped off Shannon the Hamster to Cat (it's not often that a hamster is in good hands when you give it to a Cat!), then caught the bus into town to catch the 4.42 train.

And what do you know? Jenny Rourke was on the train! She was heading home for the weekend. So Jenny and I rode together and chatted as far as Leeds, which is where I had to get off the train and reconnect to the Liverpool train. She reminds me so much of Stephanie LaBella from high school (whom I've only seen once since graduation).

Anyway, I waited a half an hour before catching the train, and during the ride I worked some more on my short story, "The Thirty-Seventh Heir." I finally arrived in Liverpool at a little past eight, and shortly afterward, Dr. Morrison arrived and we rode back to Ness, stopping at the Old Quay for dinner.

We didn't do much more than talk this evening, but it was still relaxing good fun. Fiona was at a friend's house that evening and didn't return until late. I finally got to bed at a little past one.

Pictured: For the past several weeks J.P. had been busy rehearsing for his performance in "The Mikado," which was presented this weekend. For some reason, I didn't get a chance to go. I was at the Elvis Costello concert on Wednesday, and in Liverpool on Friday and Saturday... but I don't know why I didn't go to see it on Thursday. J.P. will have to fill in any details about the show itself. Even though I didn't see it, I did manage to swipe one of the posters for my own personal collection.


Thursday, May 25, 1989

Wear Your New Concert T-Shirt Day ...

Today I slept in quite late, recovering from last night's activities. Needless to say, I missed breakfast. I checked for post, but there was none.

I then found myself sitting in Jane's room with Sam, talking about various topics (the concert came up), and eventually I borrowed her stereo to do a little taping. So I was doing a little bit of taping today. I made a Monkee's tape for Gill, a friend of Jane Goodman's (not the Jane whose room I was in... that's Jane Challis-Whish).

The day carried on with little excitement. That evening, Sam and I sat in Cat's room and talked for a bit. She's going to be taking care of my hamster Shannon when I leave for Liverpool to visit with Dr. Morrison tomorrow. After that, it was back to Sam's room for more coffee, and after that, back to my room for even more coffee. I gave him a copy of a tape he requested. Side one is my parody work with Reed and Reitz, and side two my thrash metal stylings with Yokel.

Tomorrow, I leave for Liverpoo'.

Pictured is me trying to be artsy, I guess, showing off my new tour shirt, as well as the tour program (right next to my arm) and the tour poster (far left), which now joins my two other Elvis Costello posters. And yes, that's an ALF poster right above it, surrounded by Bloom County and Calvin & Hobbes comics.


Wednesday, May 24, 1989

Elvis Costello in Newcastle ...

Well, the day has finally arrived! After three months of waiting, I finally got to see Elvis Costello live in concert, and it was well worth the wait!

The day began by waking up for breakfast at 8 a.m., as usual, followed by a shower and general nothingness unil noon. With my pack of essentials, I headed into downtown Hull. It was quite hot outside at first, nearly unbearable. But the temperature gradually became more comfortable as I went along.

I bought a few things while I was in town: Two Peanuts books that I needed and three 45s, including Cliff Richard and The Young Ones doing "Living Doll." I also bought some food, bateries, a train ticket, and lunch at McDonald's once I reached the city centre.

At 2.50 I met Cat in front of the movie theatre, and then went over to Ferensway where shortly thereafter we were on a bus bound for Newcastle. The journey took three hours, and included a short pit stop, but it went rather quickly as we listened to Elvis Costello over the bus stereo most of the way up.

We arrived in Newcastle at about half 6, so Cat, Nile and I had a few minutes to walk about Newcastle before we could go into City Hall. Nile, incidentally, bought a ticket a few minutes before the bus left for the concert. Talk about a last minute decision!

Anyway, it was noticeably cooler out now, so after a run-in with some photo shoot going on in the street, we stopped at a Kentucky Fried Chicken for some coffee, and then returned to City Hall to get our seats for the show.

I was a decadent individual today. I bought an Elvis Costello tour t-shirt, a tour poster, and a tour program. Good deal, though... I only paid £13 total for everything!

We then grabbed our seats and waited for the show to commence. The concert hall was rather small, about the same size as The Forum in Harrisburg, which gave the show a nice personal feel.

At 8 p.m. the lights dimmed and out came Nick Lowe, who performed quite well. I was impressed with his performance, and especially at his sense of humour (at one point he said, "I will now play a medley of my greatest hit," and then began to perform "Cruel to Be Kind.") I was also impressed by his new songs from his forthcoming album. I will have to check that out.

Lowe played for about a half an hour, and after a short break, Elvis Costello ran onto the stage and jumped right into an acoustic version of "Accidents will Happen." In fact, most of this brilliant show was simply Elvis playing acoustic solo versions of his songs, both from his new album and his classics from the past.

The songs he performed included: "Watching the Detectives," "Alison," a medley of "New Amsterdam/You've Got to Hide Your Love Away/American Without Tears," "My Radio Sweetheart," "Loveable," "Veronica," "Deep Dark Truthful Mirror," "Pads, Paws & Claws," "Any King's Shilling" and "Let Him Dangle."

Next was the most brilliant song of the evening, a 15-minute humorous version of "God's Comic." In this song, Elvis talked of his inspiration from being on a Swedish talk show where God was a guest. My favourite part was after the lyric "wondering if I should've given the world to the monkeys," Elvis suddenly stopped, then broke into a few verses of "Last Train to Clarksville."

Even with a lot of his political jokes throughout the concert, I found myself laughing in spite of myself.

Next he brought Nick Lowe out on stage and they performed "Indoor Fireworks" and, of course, "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding" (which Lowe wrote). Their duet was excellent... certainly a rare treat for an Elvis fan to see live. I thought Lowe's style complimented Elvis very well with these numbers.

As the show wound down, Elvis concluded with three of his politically-themed songs, the last two being among my least favourite songs. He brought out the piano and performed a nice version of "Shipbuilding." But that was followed by a very bad "Pills and Soap," and concluded with "Tramp the Dirt Down." It's alright musically, but I hate the lyrics. In my opinion he should've ended the concert with something more upbeat, as he had now become quite serious in his demeanor. It was a downer of an ending to the show.

Apart from that, the show was brilliant and well worth the journey. As I sat in the audience, I thought to myself, "this is what it's all about." A definite climax to the journey. It was amazing how he could be the most amusing entertainer I've ever seen in a concert, and then the most serious. Will we ever be able to see the real Declan Patrick Aloysius MacManus, or have we?

At the end of the day, I would call this the second best concert I've ever experienced (Ol' Neil Young in Hershey still holds that title, with Peter Gabriel a close third).

All told, Elvis played for over two hours, so we did not leave the venue until after 11 a.m. That meant we were going to be getting home very late. We arrived in Hull at about 2.30 a.m., and the bus driver decided to take us all right to our homes, which was very nice.


When the bus arrived at the corner of Cottingham Road and Newland Avenue, we contemplated asking the driver to just let us off there, and we could do the 10 minute walk back to The Grange. But we decided not to.

As a result, he turned another way, and we ended up on the bus for another hour. Then, when he did finally drop us off, it was at the corner of Cottingham Road and Beverley Road... about 200 yards away from the Newland Avenue intersection. Cat and I had a good laugh about this... an hour to travel 200 yards! It was dark and quiet, and we walked back most of the way in the road, while Nile walked swiftly back along the sidewalk.

Tired and approaching 4 a.m. by now, I still managed to hang my new posters up in my room - not only the Elvis Costello tour poster, but I also "liberated" the poster that was on the bus as well.

I let Shannon run around a bit, cleaned up, and then, completely and utterly knackered, I went to bed.

What a brilliant day!


Tuesday, May 23, 1989

Almost Won 2,000 Quid! ...

Today I thought of a good quote Doug once said... well, actually it was from Bloom County. But we used it the night before we left for England, and for awhile it was sort-of our catchphrase for awhile:

Doug: "Hey Dewey, pass me a donut."

Rick: "It's not my job."

If you must know what it means, you need to read more Bloom County.

Well, today was a marginal success of a day, though it is sure to be overshadowed by tomorrow. I spent a bit of the morning in the library typing part of "The Feast" until I got tired of doing that and sat down to read The Times. I checked my stocks in the stock game I'm playing to see if I won, and I came incredibly close to being £2,000 richer. I needed to score +25 or better with my six stocks. With my first five stocks, I had a +26 score, and only needed that last stock to not move at all. Unfortunately, that last stock was a -6, bringing me down to +20. So close.

Next I went and picked up my Geography essay from Mike Walton, and I got a 60, which now gives me an even more solid B in the class. I am currently holding what I believe to be 2 A's and 3 Bs in my classes, which is brilliant! I still can't be sure, though, and I still have four more exams to take.

Anyway, following that and the news, J.P. and I walked up to Cottingham Road to hand in our course selections for the fall at Millersville. We were given the run-around, so we both ran separate errands in the meantime (I checked on return flights for Viv) before we just handed in our course selections under the door.

I then went to Lloyd's Bank and discovered that I had a £200 overdraft available. Nice! So I took out £20 and sent my Access bill. I also bought a turkey salad sandwich before returning to The Grange.

A lazy evening was spent taping music, watching "Moonlighting," and talking to Sam for several hours while listening to some New Age music, taping it for him at the same time. Good conversation, of course. I didn't get to bed until about 2 a.m.

I am wired for tomorrow!


Monday, May 22, 1989

Coming to America ...

It was yet another gorgeous day with sunbathing weather, thought there was more of a breeze blowing. I spent a few hours outside trying in vain to study, but ended up grabbing loads of rays, giving me a brownish-red colour, which should develop into a tan. It pretty much felt like beach weather today.

Early in the evening, after an afternoon chat with Sam, Viv called me from Madrid to say, among other things, that she will be coming to America to visit me for a month this summer, but she won't be able to get a work visa.

Also, she said things are still pretty rough for her down in Spain. Apparently her flat mates, while she was out, cleared out her room and had a party in it, and then got mad at her because she was upset that they had done this to her. Geez, there are some pretty thick people in the world, and Viv seems to be living with a lot of them.

Anyway, it was a good conversation, and I was so glad to hear her voice.

After that, I continued work on a short story I am writing called "The Thirty-Seventh Heir." But I've changed the setting. I worked on this, mixed in with some milling about the halls, until 9 p.m., when Sam, myself, and a few others watched the movie "Fail-Safe" on TV. It is tense, excellent old drama about an accidental bombing of Moscow starring Henry Fonda, Larry Hagman, Fritz Weaver, Walter Matthau, Dom Deluise and others.

Following that we (Cat, Sam, Jane Challis-Whish, her boyfriend Chris and some others) sat in Jane's room talking over tea and coffee while water dripped from her ceiling. A plumber came and checked it out while we were there. Cool music (Velvet Underground, The Doors), and good conversation. It was especially nice for me because it was the first time I'd ever talked to several of the people here.

I came back to my room at 12.45 a.m., wrote a bit more, and then went to bed.

Pictured are Jane (left) and Vicki (right) relaxing outside The Grange halls.


Sunday, May 21, 1989

Soaking in Some Rays ...

Well, it was again very beautiful outside, so this morning after buying a Sunday Times, listening to the White Album while reading it, I went outside to soak in some rays and study a bit. Well, neither was a major success, but I did manage to get a little bit of a tan. I still can't believe that Hull has been getting so much of this nice weather.

There were a lot of us hanging about outside, carrying on pointless but interesting conversations, as yet another lazy Sunday passed me by.

Eventually, darkness set in and I prepared to watch one of my favourite movies on the telly... "The Lion in Winter." It was the fifth time I'd seen it, so I knew what I was in for. J.P. was the only person who originally started watching it with me and enjoyed it. It's a bit heavy for some people, I guess. Unfortunately, three-quarters of the way through he was really tired so he kipped out.

I was the only person to watch it the whole way through, but I wasn't alone, as Louise Fenton and her friend Sharon came in and watched the end of the movie. Afterward, Louise came back to my room for some coffee and we talked about various topics. She ended up staying there for about 45 minutes (a little bit longer than "Dark Side of the Moon," anyway).

After she left I dozed off, and eventually went to bed. Oh yeah, I also called and talked to my parents today. Everything for the trip next month is all a go, but they said that the plumbing in the house is all screwed up for some reason.

(Pictured is Ian and someone else whose name escapes me, using cushions from the common room to relax in the sun outside The Grange halls on another beautiful warm day in Hull.)

  • Number One Song in Britain This Week: "Ferry 'Cross the Mersey" - Gerry Marsden, Paul McCartney, Holly Johnson and The Christians (for the Hillsborough Disaster)

  • Number One Song in America This Week: "Forever Your Girl" - Paula Abdul


Saturday, May 20, 1989

Liverpool wins the F.A. Cup ...

It was another beautiful day, and I really did little of any significant importance today. I got a letter from my friend Shannon back in Millersville, which was nice. So I took some time to write back to her and mailed that letter off.

This afternoon was spent watching the F.A. Cup final with Liverpool against Everton in a battle of the Mersey. It was an excellent game, with Liverpool in the lead 1-0 with three seconds left, when Everton tied up the score and sent it into extra time. The scoring really picked up from there, and when it was all said and done, Liverpool won 3-2. But wow! What a game! (Pictured is a post card I have of Liverpool celebrating a previous F.A. Cup victory in 1986.)

Everyone was caught up in the football mood now, so after dinner I joined a pick-up game outside, but I really sucked.

The Liverpool fans at The Grange, who a month ago were in tears watching the Hillsborough disaster unfold, were now jumping and screaming for joy... as one has come to expect from Scousers. They were dancing on top of the dining tables at dinner, and as I left the halls, Chris had climbed to the top of the light post next to the church outside, screaming and singing the praises of Liverpool.

He is quite devoted to his team.

That evening, I watched Charlie Chaplin's "The Great Dictator," which wasn't quite as good as many of his previous films, but still excellent... and uncanny how much he resembled Adolf Hitler. Others were playing a game of Pictionary, but I missed out in order to watch the rest of the film.

At the end I flipped through various other shows, but I was so knackered that I went to bed shortly after watching "Saturday Night at the Movies," where I learned that "License to Kill," which is coming out soon, will be Timothy Dalton's last time out as James Bond.)


Friday, May 19, 1989

An 'A' on My Essay ...

When I woke up this morning I ate my breakfast, then trotted up to the Inglemire site, where I first talked to Roz about the Social-Political Structures exam-essay. She and I worked out a plan, I think I can deal with. I will get the exam when everyone else does, and then I can give it to Sam to hand in for me when I'm done. That will allow me to leave sooner that day.

Next I went to pick up my Literature essay - and I got a 64! An A! That means I have a good shot at getting an A in the class for the year, which seals up six of my credits - great! Only 24 more to deal with.

This day I spent mostly writing letters. I finished the letter to Deb, and then wrote letters to Doug and Scott, Scott's being written after buying some stamps, a sandwich, and while laying out in the sun, as it was yet another gorgeous day in Hull. I did manage a slight tan, but it'll need some more work.

I wonder what Doug Staz is doing right now? I don't know why that thought just popped in my mind. I haven't seen Doug since our trip to the beach after high school graduation.

After dinner I read a bit of Sky magazine and bought some Whitbread Best Bitter for the evening. Watched "Cheers" at 9 and "Roseanne" at half-nine, followed by various shows, ending with an episode of "Kojak."

A relatively slow day, and with nothing else to do, I went to bed.

(Pictured enjoying the beautiful weather are camera-shy Paul and Kenny, with three of the French students, outside The Grange halls.)


Thursday, May 18, 1989

Evening Coffees with Sam ...

I didn't have class until 2 p.m. today so I ate breakfast and then loafed about. I recopied a story I wrote last night called "A Second Chance." Not quite as good as my first story, and only half as long, but I still like it.

After noon I milled about until class, which was a review session for the Prose Fiction Exam. They had all of the Literature in Context essays corrected except for four of them... mine being one of those not finished. So I'll have to wait until tomorrow to pick it up.

Came back to the halls, wrote a letter to Greg and mailed it. Then after dinner I wrote one to Chris (I received Letter I from him today, two days after receiving Letter II. I also received a nice postcard from Viv.) and started writing one to Deb when Sam came over to my room. We talked over coffee, and I read him my latest short story. We discussed other topics of interest, I showed him my pictures of Spain, and then we went to visit Jodie where Sam picked up a map of Vermont.

Later, we traversed down the hall to Sam's room for more coffee, more conversation, and he organized an integrated assignment that he's been working on for awhile. It is nearly done and has been giving him a lot of problems... not to mention the other students who have to complete it. I didn't leave until 2 a.m., and went straight to bed.


Wednesday, May 17, 1989

Almost a Private Screening of 'Twins' ...

Since I didn't get to bed until late, I intended on sleeping in, but woke up unintentionally at 9.15 a.m. - too late to grab some breakfast, to dazed to go to class, but too awake to fall back to sleep.

I went through my usual routine until noonish, when I set off for town. I bought a ham salad sandwich at the deli along the way and stopped at a new record shop, which was quite cool. The only things I bought were a cassette of "Pictures at an Exhibition," a blank tape, a cherry 7Up.

I also bought a ticket to see the movie "Twins." Up until the movie started I was the only person in the theatre. I thought I was going to get an exclusive showing until two more people showed up right as the film started. I thought it was an entertaining film; glad I saw it.

Caught the bus back to The Grange for dinner, and then spent the vening watching TV and writing, as well as starting the tape for the next Radio St. Hilda's Top 20 (new format!) Hope it's a success.

Later, Sam stopped by and we talked for awhile, though not nearly as late as we did last night.

Today's fabulous quote is by Jodie: "It's not the size of the wand that's important, it's the magic that's inside." (She might not be the first person to have said it, though.)

(Pictured is Hull City Hall, in downtown Hull.)


Tuesday, May 16, 1989

Simon's Birthday Party, Live on Radio St. Hilda's ...

The days just seem to go faster and faster. I went to both of my classes and took notes for the exams, and I casually accomplished very little today. Charged some food at Grandways and bought some beer for Simon Wall's birthday party this evening - Whitbread's Best Bitter, which by the way I also had at Sam's literary group meeting the other night. It's quite good.

That afternoon J.P. and I made some tapes to play at the party, then waited for the party to begin. Lee planned to broadcast the music on Radio St. Hilda's, so that no matter where you were in The Grange, you could hear the music and continue the party. J.P. and I began drinking before the party actually started, and boy, what a turnout there was! It was packed, mostly on the first floor of St. Hilda's near J.P.'s room and throughout the halls. The radio station added a lot to the atmosphere.

I milled about and enjoyed it, but didn't really talk to anyone at length until Sam arrived a few hours later... as did the police. They were concerned about the loud music (I believe the neighbors must have called), but they weren't bothered by the alcohol at all. It would've been quite a different response at Millersville!

At that point the party sort-of split up, and many of us traversed over to the St. Martin's common room. Sam and I stayed here for about 15 minutes, then came back to my room for coffee. We ended up talking for another four hours (until 4.30 a.m.) about a plethora of topics.

Since I was still feeling the effects of the Best Bitter, I was very open in my discussions with Sam, and with mellow music playing by George Winston, Pink Floyd, ELP and a tape that Sam brought with him, I got quite sentimental and divulged to him many of the reasons that I decided to come to England and study for the year.

Sam reflected on the evening through a poem that he wrote at 4.15 a.m. entitled, "December."

I think this will turn out to have been quite a memorable birthday for Simon (he seemed to be having a good time), and I don't think I will forget tonight's chat with Sam. Hope I didn't divulge too much information, though.

Today's fabulous quote (now I'm only doing these when I think of one, instead of every day): This is me, walking back from Grandways with a box of food and beer, and confronting J.P. and Sid. "The benefits of having an Access card."


Monday, May 15, 1989

The Debut of Radio St. Hilda's ...

Sam woke me up bright and early today (6.45 a.m.) to prepare for our arduous journey back to Hull. Not much to say about it, really. Bid farewell to Jenny and then caught the three buses required to get ourselves back to the halls. Read the newspaper most of the way to pass the time. We were only able to catch a bus to the Cottingham Road stop, so we had to walk the rest of the way. As a result, we just missed breakfast by 10 minutes.

Not much happened during the day, either. I did my laundry, did a little writing, finished reading "The Little Prince" (excellent), and took a walk with J.P. to see Dr. Foster, who wasn't in at the time. Also went to find out flight information for Viv, got money out of the bank, and bought a sandwich at the local deli for lunch.

J.P. then went to get a haircut while I returned to the halls, eating my sandwich. I also received three letters in the post today. One from Chris Mulvihill (finally!), but it was referred to as Letter II, and I haven't received Letter I, so a few things didn't quite make sense. I also got a letter from Doug, which cheered me up. He's doing well.

And I received a letter from Viv, telling of some of the hardships she's experiencing down in Madrid. But it looks 90% definite that she'll be coming to the states to visit me, even if it will only be as a vacation. The letter was mostly depressing, with the rough time she's having down there, but it was so good to hear from her.

It was at dinner when I was introduced to Radio St. Hilda's, 94.5 FM. In his room, Lee actually built a real working radio station, and apparently has been broadcasting anything that anyone wishes since last Thursday. So I dod a sort-of American Top 10, playing various novelty tracks and what have you that I've collected. Here's how the list looked:

  • 10. St. Hilda's Pissheads, 1989 Remix (tape done in Kurt's room during the first term)
  • 9. I Bet You They Won't Play This Song on the Radio - Monty Python
  • 8. Hold 'im Down, Hit 'im - Reed and Reitz (me and my friend Scott doing a take no the Beastie Boys song)
  • 7. Magical Misery Tour - National Lampoon
  • 6. Fat - Weird Al
  • 5. Acid Quickie - D.J. Jazzy Singe and the Complete Plays (J.P., et. al)
  • 4. Pretty Flowers - Yokel
  • 3. Wet Dream - Kip Adotta
  • 2. Ace - e-Conspectu (J.P.'s band back home)
  • 1. Hold My Hand - The Rutles

It seemed to generate a favorable response, so maybe I'll do another one next week as well. I would love to create a radio station like this when I get back to the 'Ville in the fall. I'll have to ask Lee how he did it.


Sunday, May 14, 1989

Last Full Day in Scunthorpe ...

Woke up about the same time for my last full day at Sam and Jenny's house in Scunthorpe. It has been a very relaxing, laid-back, and much-needed break for me.

Sam and I took a walkthis morning to return the movies and buy a Sunday Times. It was warm and nice out... perfect for a walk. Then we returned to the flat to read the paper, eat and watch "Lost in Space."

Afterward, the three of us began playing a game called Escape from Corbitz, but we got bored with that and decided to play Scrabble instead. After an intense game, I won with a score of 211. Jenny was second with 183 and Sam finished third with 107 (he was stuck with a "Q".)

As the day trugged on we read, ate, watched some television and talked. No major events throughout the day until about 8 p.m., when I called my parents to wish Mom a Happy Mother's Day. It was a good conversation, and I will officially be arriving back home at Harrisburg International Airport on Friday, June 23 at 8:30 p.m., EST. I can hardly wait!

I got the scoop from home, and then returned to the TV, where Sam and I watched Terry Gilliam's "Jabberwocky," staring Michael Palin. It was quite good. Watched a bad short movie called "The Monkey's Paw" (a very poor adaptation of the short story), and then went to bed a short time later.

  • Number One Song in Britain This Week: "Hand On Your Heart" - Kylie Minogue

  • Number One Song in America This Week: "Forever Your Girl" - Paula Abdul


Saturday, May 13, 1989

Scunthorpe Theatre ...

I woke up at about 11 a.m., watched some TV, read my Peanuts books, and then intended to take a bath, but didn't quite get around to it.

Sam and I went back into town to return the films and walk about the market, but I didn't buy anything. When we returned home, we relaxed for awhile before heading back out and we walked to Poppin's to rent a film. We ended up with two, "Aliens" and "True Stories" (quite a combination!)

The evening's theater began with the Charlie Chaplin film "Modern Times" on TV, which was great. Next week they're showing "The Great Dictator." Can't wait to see that one. Next we watched "True Stories" and then took a bit of a mental break to watch "Rapido" on TV, before starting "Aliens." Had a bit of a problem with the tape at first, but managed to get it worked out. Excellent and scary film that had us both on the edges of our seats (and Sam had already seen it!)

We both tried to "scare" each other during the movie. I did the hand-in-the-shirt-so-it-looks-like-an-alien-coming-out-of-your-stomach trick. Sam just startled me when I came out of the bathroom.

Finally got to bed after 2.30 a.m.

Today's fabulous quote: "Look guys, it's a dud!" - me

Pictured: Another poster that I nicked from a show that I did not see, since I was not in town the night of the show. Looks like some good music was played that evening.


Friday, May 12, 1989

To Boldly Go ...

Woke up around noon, and slowly got myself ready, watching a bit of television before Sam, Jenny and I took a trip into downtown Scunthorpe.

It was a cold and miserable day outside, and we took the bus, Jenny stopping at Safeway for groceries while Sam and I went to a second hand book shop. Bought myself two more Peanuts books (only 40p each), before picking up Jenny and heading into town. We hired two films, "Star Trek IV" and "Escape from New York," and walked about the market, where I bought homemade peanut butter and dried apricots.

We then returned to the flat for dinner, then films. We first watched "Star Trek III" before popping in "Star Trek IV" following. We ended the evening with the classic "Escape," which is still one of my all time favourites. We finally called it a night around 2 a.m.

Today's fabulous quote is from J.P.: "Your room is my room."


Thursday, May 11, 1989

Leaving for Scunthorpe ...

This morning I had no one lined up to take care of my hamster Shannon, but I asked Buffy and she was happy to care for him, which was a stroke of luck. What wasn't a stroke of luck was when I went to get money out of the bank. I put my card in the Barclay's machine before I realized it was closed, and I basically lot my card in the machine.

So I returned to my room and took Shannon up to Buffy's room, grabed my bank things and headed out to Lloyd's bank in the hopes of straightening things out. No problem with that, fortunately. At 2 p.m.,with all of my things packed, we left for Sam's home in Sunny Scunny. It took us about an hour to drive from Hull to Scunthorpe, and once we finally got there, we unwound, and waited for Sam's wife Jenny to return from work.

We ate some crackers to fill us, and then went by taxi to Sam's North Lincolnshire Writer's Circle meeting. It was really a good experience, and I started thinking it might be something worth starting back at Millersville in the fall.

There were seven other writers at the meeting besides Sam and me, and they discussed writing opportunities, successes and then everyone read their latest efforts. After I read "The Feast" to the group, I received an alarmingly enthusiastic response, and Norman Jackson, the groups secretary and most prolific writer in North Lincolnshire, recommended that I submit it to either Radio 4's "Morning Story" or to a magazine called Ad Lib.

I was ecstatic with the response, which has really inspired me to continue writing.

After the meeting we ate a buffet of food and I mainly talked to one member of the group named Robin. Upon returning to Sam's house, we watched TV, including "The Tempest," which was quite heavy but kept us up until after 2 a.m.

Today's fabulous quote is from Doug Schoener: "It's open, ya boob!" No explanation needed.

Pictured: A poster for a concert featuring the band And All Because the Lady Loves, tomorrow at the Hull College Student Union. I'll have to miss it, since I'm in Scunthorpe. Stole a poster from it, though.


Wednesday, May 10, 1989

Another Movie Day ...

After a very interesting Geography seminar on rainforests, where I learned that it takes 55 feet of rainforest land to produce one McDonald's hamburger, among other things, I came back to my room to write, during which time Cat brought me £18 to buy her an Elvis Costello ticket in town.

At noon I got Buffy and we walked into town via Newland Avenue. Stopped at The Final Frontier, where I bought a copy of Batman's "Death in the Family, Part 3," for only £3.95 (it's selling in the states for about $40 right now). Amazing deal!

We stopped at other shops and I also bought batteries, guitar strings, Cat's ticket (only two were left for the bus to the Newcastle show!), and both Buffy and I bought the Scouse Aid "Ferry 'Cross the Mersey" 45 single for the Hillsborough Appeal, which was released on Monday.

Then we stopped at McDonald's for the 99p (guess I wasn't that concerned about the land my burger used up in Brazil.) After that we made our way to the Ferensway movie theatre where we saw "The Accidental Tourist." It was a good film, though it wasn't what I expected. Quite heavy, but William Hurt was great.

After the film we caught the bus back and I went to dinner. After that I bummed around St. Hilda's, getting locked with Paul in his room by Jodie for a half hour because she is a very funny person. I then went up to Buffy's room and we chatted for awhile, before I got tired and returned to my room and went to bed.

Today's fabulous quote, from Paul Crowley: "When words will fail, violence prevails."


Tuesday, May 9, 1989

Creative Writing ...

I got mail! I got mail! The Snapper staff sent me some materials, including three more papers and two letters, so I looked through them this morning.

I only had one article, divided into parts, on life in Hull, England. Although it now looks poor and irrelevant to anyone who doesn't know me, I still qualified for a blurb on the front page. And my first photo was published as well!

After reading I took a shower, then began work on completing my short story. I was intent on finishing it, so I passed up the Geography seminar to do it. No loss. It ended up being about nine pages long.

Then I went to Social/Political Structures class and sat next to Sam, listening to a prophetically bad Ian Welsh lecture on slightly-to-the-left-of-socialism topics that annoyed me. It was not good. Sam was OK with it, though.

Returned to The Grange to show J.P. the Snappers, then we lounged about outside, getting caught in Big Jon's water battle. After dinner I wrote for awhile and then watched "short news," since the BBC is on strike again.

Went up to Buffy's room and talked to her for awhile, and then at 9 p.m. watched "Moonlighting" followed by "Thirtysomething" in St. Martin's. After that I found Sam, so I talked to him awhile over coffee, and I premiered my story to him. He seemed to quite like it, saying that it held his interest throughout. I was happy.

I went back to my room at midnight and began to write my next story, titled "Night Train." Hope it turns out as well.

Today's fabulous quote is from a slightly drunk Sid (pictured above), while at a pub talking to locals: "I'm a student - I know everything!"


Monday, May 8, 1989

Malthus Essay Due at 3 ...

I arose bright and early to eat some breakfast, take a shower find no mail awaiting me yet again, gather my books then go to the library to put the final touches on my Malthus essay.

It went rather well, and by noon I had completed a rough draft that I was pleasantly satisfied with, so I took it to the typewriter, and by 3 o'clock I handed in my final copy.

I bought myself a well-deserved candy bar in celebration of the completion of the essay, and then I went up to Poetry and Drama class for a discussion on Bertolt Brecht, which was OK.

Returned to The Grange for dinner, and afterward returned to my room to begin writing the final copy of my Twilight Zone-esque short story, "The Feast." It's basically about a man who dies, and must complete a simple test to prove himself worthy of entering Heaven, and all he must do is eat a meal. Of course, it has an ironic twist to it. I hope to make it the first in a collection of short stories. It's going to be fun doing this, I think. Hope I stick to it.

Later, Buffy stopped by my room and we talked for a bit, and then I went into the telly room with Sam and the others to watch "It Came from Outer Space," a low-budget 1950s sci-fi movie. We then watched a rather boring episode of "Miami Vice," ordered a ham pizza, and then watched (and trashed) "Prisoner of Cell Block H." Afterward, Sam and I returned to my room for a coffee and chat.

I did receive my registration materials from Millersville University, so that will give me something to do. I showed Sam the registration materials and tried to explain the process to him.

Sam suggested I bring any of my original writing along when I come visit his home this weekend. He said his literary group is holding a meeting on Thursday and I may get a chance to join him. Great! I informed him that I could premiere one that I've been working on. It'll be good to get some feedback.

Today's fantastic quote: My harsh reply to Jodie not understanding Bloom County, "The reason you don't understand it is because it is written on a fourth grade level." Ouch! That was uncalled for!


Sunday, May 7, 1989

Time to Hunker Down and Write. But It's a Lovely Day Outside ...

Well, today was the day to finally begin concentrating on my final essay of the year, on Thomas Malthus for Geography, before next month's exams. But there's plenty of time for that, so I walked down to the newsagents after finishing my letter to Larry and JoAnne, mailed it, bought the Sunday Times, brought it back and read it in my room while listening to The Beatles' White Album.

After lunch, it was so warm and nice outside that I took my books outside to work on my essay... and my tan. In the end, my tan didn't turn out too bad, but I got practically no work done on my essay. So after dinner I forced myself to stay in my room to work... only to be compelled to finish writing the rough draft of the short story I'm writing instead.

When that distraction was finished, I let Shannon out of her cage jumped into my books and wrote for the rest of the evening. I stopped writing at about 1 a.m., after getting about 700 words finished. Although it seemed to be going rather well after three cups of coffee, my throat was sore and bothering me, so I quit writing for the evening.

Today's fabulous quote is from Jodie Hafer: "I don't like Bloom County, because I don't understand it."

  • Number One Song in Britain This Week: "Eternal Flame" - The Bangles

  • Number One Song in America This Week: "I'll Be There for You" - Bon Jovi


Saturday, May 6, 1989

A Beautiful Day to Be Outside ...

It was a lazy, beautiful day today, and I should have worked on my essay. But I didn't.

What I did do of significant importance, apart from play a game of baseball, is work on a new short story that I'm writing titled "The Feast." Though I know everything that I'm going to put into it, I only got it partially finished. I also didn't quite get to finish Larry and JoAnne's letter.

Watched a fair amount of TV today, and bought a Saturday Times as well. Watched four Charlie Chaplin shorts before heading outside to enjoy the nice weather with everyone. As the hours passed, various activities took place, such as a soccer game, highlighted by Kenny accidentally knocking out a light with the ball.

That evening was spent first watching "City Lights," a magnificent Chaplin film, followed by a classic episode of "Fawlty Towers" (with the dead body) and a show called "Ripping Yarns," with Michael Palin, which was quite funny as well.

After that I made my way over to St. Hilda's, where there was an international room full of students watching the results of the Eurovision Song Contest, in which Yugoslavia won. Great Britain did manage a second place finish, though. But it was the nationalism that erupted in the room for Britain, Spain and Ireland that was the most fun to watch for me.

I hung around a little while after to talk with J.P., but then returned to let Shannon roam some more before going to bed.

Today's classic quote, from 6'4" "Big" Jon Whalley:

"I'm a gentle giant."


Friday, May 5, 1989

She was right! ...

Cat was right, the American students got £15 extra food grant! Every little bit helps!

It's been a day of ups and downs. First, the downs: I woke up late for class, only scored a 56 on my Sociology essay (a high "C"), and Oliver North was convicted on three charges yesterday. The ups: 15 happy pounds in my pocket, and Ollie was acquitted on nine charges.

When I got back from the class I did relatively little of any significance. Read the newspaper in the library, began to write a letter to Uncle Larry and Aunt JoAnne, and bought yet another turkey salad sandwich at the corner deli (today it was 69p - the price has now changed three days in a row.) I also bought a Daily Express with my new money.

That evening I went up to Buffy's room and we talked for awhile, trying to decide if there was anything to do tonight. We thought about heading to the Architecture Union, but instead went with one of the French girls to the Gardener's Arms for a pint with a few of her friends. Shortly afterward they headed to the Architecture Union, while Buffy and I went to Double Happiness for some much-needed Chinese take away. We both had sweet and sour chicken (she ordered Hong Kong style), bouthgt a bottle of coke, and then returned to The Grange to watch some TV, where Tim the American (Skeletor's friend... at least, that's what Kenny calls the other American, anyway) was watching "Cheers."

Afterward, we watched a new American show called "Roseanne," a really bad "Clive James Show" (a copy of the David Letterman formula), which only special guest Michael Palin was able to save, and then a fantastic old movie called "Trouble in Paradise" from 1932.

After that, I went back to my room, let Shannon run about, then went off to bed.

I think from here on out, just to make things more interesting, at the end of each day I'm going to include a classic quote from someone over the past year. The first one is a classic from Doug, when commenting on the fish that was coming out of the oven in the refectory:

"Oh, this must be the plaice!"


Thursday, May 4, 1989

Lorna is Now Bright Red ...

Woke up bright and early today, ate breakfast, and got to the library before 9 a.m. to get right in and begin typing my essay. Since I already had it all in order, I was able to type straight through with only minor corrections until 12.15, when I let Buffy use the typewriter while I wrote up my conclusion.

When all was said and done at 1 p.m., I had typed about 2,500 words and was satisfied that I had successfully answered the question. I'm still worried, though. I left Buffy and J.P. (who said he didn't start writing his essay until today) to type, and went over to hand mine in.

From there I went to the store and treated myself to another jumbo turkey sandwich (odd: today it cost me 75p, while yesterday it was only 65p), before heading to Modern Prose Fiction class, where Allan McLaurin discussed Graham Greene's "It's a Battlefield." I got the scoop on our essay topic, and left there an hour later to check books out of the library for my next - and final - essay in Geography on Thomas Malthus. Should be fun. I'll be so glad to get it out of the way.

It was yet another beautiful spring day here in Hull, which almost prevented me from going to class. But afterward it was relaxation outside behind St. Hilda's, playing soccer, laying around, etc. Lorna is now bright red, yet she still insists on lying out in the sun. How odd.

Well, it was also Margaret Thatcher's 10th year in power today. No big deal - I figure she will be in for quite a time yet. Wouldn't mind a Labour government though... It'd be nice to see a 1 dollar to 1 pound exchange rate!

That evening I spent most of my time talking to Sam - first in my room, then with Louise Fenton for awhile, then in his room with Cat for awhile. Several hours, actually. Enjoyed several coffees and covered scores of topics. Sam and I are getting along quite well these days. He actually invited me to come to visit his house in Scunthorpe next weekend to meet his wife, Jenny. It should be real good to get away.

Cat told me that we may have some more money coming our way from the school. I sure hope she's right!


Wednesday, May 3, 1989

I Can't Believe How Fast These Days Are Going ...

Today was an essay work day, so it will likely read boring, though I must say that it was a highly successful day.

I went to my 9.15 Geography Class, then grabbed some necessary books from the library and did some research there before taking a break and buying a jumbo turkey sandwich before returning my work to my room. The essay progressed slow, but each paragraph, in my opinion, was a mini masterpiece (he says, proudly tooting his own horn), which I pieced together in the end. Piecing together paragraphs to form a full essay is quite an unusual style for me to follow, but it seemed to work here for me.

I took a break to visit the library (some break!), watched a great "Buck Rogers" rerun (which I found out recently gets higher ratings here in Britain than a new episode of "The Cosby Show"!) From 11-12, Buffy stopped by and we chatted over coffee, her brain fried nearly as much as mine.

At 2 a.m., I had all but a conclusion written and pieced together, and satisfied with my work, which will determine my grade for six credits back at Millersville, I went to bed.

Needless to say, even though I feel pretty good about this essay, I'm still worried sick about it because of how much of my grade is riding upon it, because I've been disappointed by grades on essays I thought I did well on before, and because Donny might find something he just doesn't like about my analysis.

Still, I think it still shows a major effort. Tomorrow I type it up.


Tuesday, May 2, 1989

Another Beautiful Day ...

It was yet another beautiful day in Hull. It was as warm today as it ever was while I was in Spain, so while I did some work finishing up "For Whom the Bell Tolls," going to classes, and research for my essay, I soon succumbed to the weather.

Relaxed and played casual games of baseball before I returned to my room and dug a bit more into my Hemingway essay.

As you can tell, it wasn't a terribly exciting day, and yet another one without any post. Ate some dinner, watched a little TV, and then went to bed reasonably early.


Monday, May 1, 1989

Spring Fever ...

Being May Day, there were no classes scheduled today. Apparently, it's a holiday here, sort of like Memorial Day (which they don't celebrate in Britain), so everything was closed.

But it was an absolutely beautiful day, unseasonably warm for this area, and as warm as any day that I experienced while in Spain. Definitely spring fever weather.

I woke up early today after getting to bed late last night, and after some reading the tiredness really hit me hard in the early afternoon. I fell asleep from 3 p.m. until about 5, when I woke up and rushed to the dining hall, still dazed from sleep.

After dinner in the St. Michael's common room, I watched a bit of a Charlie Chaplin short and then the beginning of the original "Baron Munchausen" movie, from 1961, with subtitles. It was, with it's paper-like cartoons and bizarre storyline and events, even more Terry Gilliam-y then Terry Gilliam's version. However, I was only to see 15 minutes of the movie when the TV was taken over by watchers of the soap "Neighbours." So I left.

Later I caught the end of "Baron Munchausen" in the St. Hilda's common room with J.P., who also thought it bizarre. Then we walked outside to soak in the sun, chat, and write up silly stories.

I was walking back in when I stopped to say hi to Buffy, and I ended up talking to her for about an hour on subjects ranging from movies, to music, and from essays to home. Later we had a cup of coffee in my room and continued talking while I showed her some of my photos from Spain. She is as eager to get home as I am.

At 10.10 p.m. we were able to snag the St. Martin's TV and watch Woody Allen's brilliantly funny film "Annie Hall." Following the movie, I returned to my room and let Shannon run about while reading some more of "For Whom the Bell Tolls." Finally went to bed after 1 a.m.