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March 11, 2013

Climbing a Non-Metaphorical Mountain

The beach near Hopetown House, Linlithgow.

This morning, before I started writing this post, I thought I’d take a look over the last few I’ve written to see what I hadn’t really written about lately.  (Incidentally, this is something y’all can do as well: the Archives are over on the right hand side of the page there).  What I found surprised me a little: I haven’t actually written much about my life here in Britain!  I think I spend quite a bit of time trying to relate whatever I’m doing to Clark, or keep Clark in the picture somehow, that I’ve shied away from writing, pure and simple, about what I’m doing here.  And that isn’t quite right, because study abroad is certainly something you can do at Clark, and I’m sure it’s something many of you who are looking at Clark at the moment are quite interested in doing.  So here’s what I’ve been up to for the last two weeks …

Last weekend I went up to Stoke-on-Trent, which is a city in Staffordshire that was once, and really still is, the center of the British ceramics and pottery industry.  I was staying with family friends and had a lovely weekend (a) taking a long walk around The Roaches, (b) eating lots of delicious crepes and masala dosai, and (c) visiting a toilet museum.  Yes, that actually happened.  It was the best thing ever.  Here’s a picture:

Yes, those pink things *are* large rolls of toilet paper.

I won’t go into great detail about how fascinating I found this museum, because it would likely bore you to tears, but suffice it to say that it was awesome.  After returning home, I polished off quite a bit of reading and half an essay, organized a Pub Crawl for the students of the General Course whom I represent, and packed for my next trip, which was up to Scotland.  I’ve written about my trips north before, and I think I’ve mentioned that I’ve got three sets of aunts and uncles, plus a grandmother, scattered around the greater Edinburgh area.

In any case, this trip was to my dad’s younger sister’s family, and started out with a night out in Edinburgh at my cousin Sam’s flat, complete with two of my other cousins, Ben and Chris.  We’re each the children of a different Watt child, and I’ll leave descriptions of the night to the fact that this was taken near the beginning:

L-R: Ben, Me, Sam, and Chris.

So that was exciting.  After spending a night on Sam’s couch, we miraculously caught a 9:30ish train out to Dunblane, where we were met by my Aunt and Uncle and treated to a riotously good breakfast of eggs and bacon and that sort of deliciousness.  This run of good fortune either continued or ended, depending on your perspective, a few hours later when I was recruited to go hillwaking up Ben A’an, near the Trossachs.  It looked like the Indiana Jones mountain:

Well, maybe a bit more when you saw it in real life.

Despite not being the most athletic of sorts, I scrambled my way up to the top and took a celebratory picture:

Note the water bottle.

And that was my trip!  I visited a little with my grandmother and some other relatives (it was Mother’s Day in Britain yesterday) and then caught a long train back to London last night, on which the toilets broke.  That was lovely.  Until next week!

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