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Librarying August 17, 2009

Posted by Fiona in Really good day, University.

This morning, I got up earlier than I’ve got up in quite a while, pottered about for a bit retrieving scrap bits of paper from the bottoms of suitcases, and went into town.  There are few things I like doing better than the sort of things I was doing today, even though I don’t get to do it very often.

I love Southampton University’s Highfield campus.  It’s not particularly like Durham, or at least the bits of Durham I routinely go to, but if it weren’t so close to home I would have applied to Southampton as at least a second choice, because I think it is fantastic.  I couldn’t really tell you why.  Durham is charming, and has little passages about the place, and an abundance of charity shops and hills and pretty views and an amazing sense of community.  Southampton is not, shall we say, the most charming city in the world, and its single prettiest view has in the last year or so been entirely taken over with the Big Blue Box Of Doom that is Ikea.  As for the sense of community in the university – I wouldn’t know.  But I really, really like the Highfield campus.  Maybe it is that it is clean, and a bit shiny, and has both a library and a theatre smack bang in the middle, and does decent sandwiches.  I think it’s just so university-ish.  I can’t really describe it any better than that.

So I wandered about it for a bit, and spent a few hours in the library – which I also really like, perhaps more rationally, because it always has three copies of the book I want and middling-to-comfy chairs, and doesn’t go overboard on the air conditioning, even if it doesn’t quite get the hang of the Dewey Decimal System.  So I stuck my headphones in and read complicated literature and wrote sarcastic comments in black fountain pen in my notes, and just soaked it up for a bit.

And then I felt a bit swish so I got the bus into town, spent a fortune on lunch in John Lewis, and settled down with a really horrid cup of filter coffee in Borders to highlight a printout of Jackson v Attorney General in two different colours.  Twelve pages down.  Fourteen to go.

And now I’m home, and I have knitting needles of the right size and a shawl pattern and I really do feel like I’ve got somewhere today, so that’s alright.  The thing I loved most about today, though, wasn’t the place (although actually, it’s not the done thing but I do quite like Southampton city centre as well), or the subject matter or the concentrating, or the chat with the guy in John Lewis who’d never seen a circular knitting needle before.  It was that even though I was somewhere quite busy, I was on my own.  Just to think.  Just to wander round in a daze when I was hungry and irritable and didn’t want to have to explain the fact.  Just to concentrate on what I wanted to concentrate on.  I’m one for human company, most of the time, but occasionally it all gets a bit much and all I want to do is be absolutely silent, and read about Parliamentary conventions.

I did finish those socks last night.

Today was a really good day.



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