Books, Whisky…and Guinness

Over the past few days I have really started to feel like a student again.  My mind is clearing itself some long-awaited space and I’m brimming with new ideas and a renewed enthusiasm. Somehow I have the sense that even when I’m busy, everything is more relaxed. For now at least. It’s strange to feel myself adjusting to the rhythms of a Studentship: and it’s undeniably positive. Of course, I’m very much aware of the privilege it represents to be a funded student again at this particular moment in time. For me, there are indeed “sunny uplands” – regardless of what The Lib Dems might have to say about the state of the nation. Upcoming challenges should be adventures rather than cause for alarm.

On Wednesday, (after another productive meeting with Jill and Frances), I collected my new ID card and finally visited the All Saints Library. Various staff members were around in the lobby to hand us colour coded leaflets explaining their collections, the building’s layout, and the newly revamped OPAC. No problem there since I don’t remember the old OPAC – and I like to think I already know a thing or two about searching library catalogues. But it was nice to have it explained anyway! It felt great to be back in the “stacks” and predictably my bag was bulging with books by the time I left. To my Supervisors: I promise that they are all 100 per cent relevant to my PhD!  Two that will be at the front of the queue:

Not as many parks as Glasgow...but a nice patch of green at All Saints Park in the MMU Campus

Walking from the Geoffrey Manton Building to the Library means cutting through All Saints Park: a lovely green spot popular for al fresco sandwiches – and with a fruit and veg stall (as well as a burger van) parked outside. In summer, it would be nice to unwind and read on one of the park’s large seat-like chunks of stone. The next few weeks will definitely see me enter Bookworm mode as I start to prepare a mini literature review: though most likely inside.

Last night was my first proper outing to the pub: and a chance to meet some new faces from the department. We went to a scruffy wee place where drinks were cheap and where I didn’t need to feel in the least bit unglamorous about being patriotic and drinking Talisker. With ice and no mixer, naturally. Deirdre Hynes arrived to remind us all that it was “Arthur’s Day” (as in: Guinness, Arthur Guinness) and so the whisky was supplanted by a few half-pints of the Black Stuff. Delicious. Apparently Deirdre is something of a Digital and New Media expert and enthusiast, so I will definitely have to pick her brains soon about that!

Tonight I have a visitor arriving down from Glasgow: my Mum. Aww. No, she’s not bringing food parcels, sadly. But I have already booked us a table for 7pm at the Yang Sing. Apparently it’s one of the best Cantonese restaurants in the UK. Can’t wait to look at the menu. Watch out for the review. In the meantime: I have included (see above) a picture of the gorgeous Manchester Chinatown Gate.

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