Bus & rail directions in hand, I left my flat around 7:30am on Friday. I have one route to the city centre pretty well memorized but I didn’t take the time on Thursday to walk from that drop off point to the rail station. I decided I’d bus it to a location closer to the station, hoping I’d be able to reverse that course when I returned after dark that evening. Right…
Smooth sailing to Cranfield U via rail to Bedford. Cranfield is strictly graduate students – some 6000+ – with more specialized needs than your typical undergraduate institution. It is located in the lovely Bedfordshire countryside, a 25 minute taxi ride from the nearest rail station. Gentle rolling hills, farms, and narrow roads for part of journey!
This site visit turned out to be an excellent choice for my first stop. My primary contact was Dr. Hazel Woodward, the only library director with whom I’ll meet on my formal university visits. We discussed library funding in UK higher education, Cranfield’s status as a major research institution, the library’s role in numerous e-initiatives, and challenges facing libraries, including budgeting and staffing. Hazel has also been highly active with UKSG, and is stepping down as co-editor of Serials after 12 years. I also met with Mary, who led a JISC-funded IR project, which will be great reading, and with Anne, who oversees serials and e- things, including Verde. (I’m betting Beth T. and Marty C. at K-State have already read the Embed project report!)
I caught the 17:07 train back to Nottingham and arrived in the pouring rain. I left the station expecting to walk back to the bus stop nearby, but in the dark, in the pouring rain, I looked left–looked right–and could see no bus stop…so I headed back into the station and found the taxi stand!
On Saturday I bundled up against the intermittent rain and hopped the bus down to the city centre again. This time I walked from the bus stop near the Old Market to the rail station which takes about 15 minutes if I hadn’t stopped to explore a lovely tea and coffee shop. I have a feeling I may end up there again. I walked back via a different route along the canal to the Brewhouse Yard below the castle then to the Trip, established in 1189AD – the oldest pub in England. (I’m planning to go inside both & the Castle on Friday when friend Al is down from Glasgow.) I cut through Castle Gate past a place where DH Lawrence worked – I’ll have to find the name of that again and update this post. (Lawrence was born a few miles from here.) Then I wandered back into the Old Market, had a toastie at a small cafe on the square, and made my way back to the bus stop on Upper Parliament. I keep missing my bus stop and go one further than necessary. Great exercise. Did I mention the rain? I was a bit soggy when I got back to the flat. 🙂
Other notable events:
- I used Skype on my iPhone to talk to my oldest son using Skype on his computer; then used Skype to call a landline back in the states for $.021/minute, i.e., pretty cheap!
- had Yorkshire Pudding with yummy roasted chicken and veggies at a pub down the street for lunch today