Sunday, February 24, 2013

Weekend 4: Day 23-24

This was the last weekend of my experiment and, I have to admit, this experiment is made a tad easy by the fact that there are always great, free things to do in Cambridge.

One free thing I decided to do this weekend, that I have not done before, is schedule Skype dates with friends and family back home in Australia. If you haven't caught up with good friends from home in a while I would recommend setting aside a grey, February weekend to talk to them all. It was so fantastic to hear about life outside the Cambridge bubble. It's easy to forget that there are people doing non-PhD-related things like enjoying the first few months of marriage or negotiating a first beach house property or discovering a new city they've recently moved to or getting asked to leave restaurants for having heated debates about politics with someone they are trying to woo and then accidentally kicking them in the nether regions. It reminded me that life goes on out there and that it sounds really lovely. And I honestly think that there is something about the people from home (although maybe it's just Australians) that give you the support or advice that you really don't need but love to hear. Like my mother, who could probably not be more clueless about my PhD, at least likes to support me morally. All of my troubles with my supervisor, she surmises, stem from the fact that he must be in love with me. Another friend suggested, and as a reader you will appreciate, the sage advice: 'Elise, if you have threesome, don't write about it on your blog.'

Don't worry, I won't.

I did some more cooking this weekend. I cooked two more loaves of bread and was a little bit more adventurous with the ingredients this time and added some oats, flaxseed/linseed and hemp seed. I also made a cake with random ingredients I had lying around and based loosely on a recipe I had blogged about on my food blog for a gluten-free Lemon and Blueberry Polenta Cake. Except I didn't have blueberries so used apple and I didn't have enough almond meal so did actually use some flour. But it turned out pretty good anyway.

Apple & Lemon Polenta Cake and
Wholemeal Seeded Bread.
As for entertainment, as I said, it's always easy to find free things to do in Cambridge. On Saturday evening I had the great fortune to go to the launch of a book that my friend Angelika co-edited. The book, Manga Girl Seeks Herbivore Boy: Studying Japanese Gender at Cambridge highlights some recent research in the somewhat new field of changing gender norms in modern Japan. I was initially excited by the prospect of free wine and pretending I was an arts student but ended up being so interested in the introductions given and the discussions it created in the audience afterwards that I failed to remember my initial goals! I remedied this a bit by crashing a friend's dinner plans (by some strange coincidence the vegetables and spices I was carrying around in my handbag (it's just something I do) complemented what he was going to cook so we all ended up at his place) and we shared lots of food and wine there.

And today I was savvy enough to spot that my friend John, who is doing his PhD in music at my college and who plays the harpsichord, was performing in the Cambridge University Baroque Ensemble at one of the colleges for free! So off I cycled, little bits of icy snow getting into my eyes on the way, to an afternoon of free Baroque music. And it was well worth the stupid English weather to listen to the lovely music and watch John 'tinkle the ebonies' (as he likes to call it on all occasions).

I was also looking forward to the free comedy smoker held in my college bar, put on by the drama club of our college, but I accidentally took a rather longish nap for the entire evening. Napping, it must be said, is also an excellent free activity.

And that is the last of my weekends for this experiment. I only have four more days to go and I'm definitely not going to run out of food although I am very much looking forward to being able to buy soya milk and soya yoghurt once more.

I'll be ending the experiment a few hours early on Thursday so that I can pay for the tax on my car, which happens to be due on the 28th of this month, and so that I can celebrate the Austrian's departure from England. But I've enjoyed the experiment and would like to continue at least some of the experience into March so I'm going to have a think about what I'm going to do for next month.

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