S. Worthen (owlfish) wrote,
S. Worthen

The long, sweltering route

The short version is that I've made it to Leeds and I can't currently access my email from these computers, slow campus machines, weighed down by security and stringent software limitations. I can, however, access LJ just fine, so comments, texts, and mobile calls are all ways to reach me until Thursday, when things will change again.

The long version:

It became rapidly apparently last night that, with all the train schedule ripples from the bombing's aftermath, there was no way I was going to reach suburban Leeds before one o'clock this afternoon. If I couldn't arrive by the time the tour I'd signed up for began, then there was no rush at all in arriving, so I aimed for a leisurely mid-afternoon arrival.

Only the Metropolitan line is currently running to King's Cross Station, so I attempted to route via Bank and Moorgate to get there. Alas, the entire Bank branch of the Northern line had ceased running as well, so I detoured still further, via Embankment and Euston, and finally walked. Fortunately, trains to Leeds run hourly. Less fortunately, the only way I could find to buy shampoo at the station was through the Body Shop.

The train ran its three hours across swathes of green fields edged in trees and towns, while small, fluffy, quiet dogs wandered down the corridors. A whippet was more interested in sniffing than walking, and a young girl stumbled over "knock, knock" jokes read from the trainline magazine. The carriages were wifi equipped, £3/half-hour for those not travelling in first class.

Somewhere in the move, despite my intentions otherwise, the conference program book was boxed up and shipped across the Atlantic. I wandered the Leeds train station in circles, spurred onward by the conviction of a free shuttle associated with the event. No more than five minutes later, an elegantly coiffed scholar, friend in tow, pass by, following directions from a very familiar-looking book. They rescued me from disorientation, and so I safely arrived on campus, out in the suburbs, in the swelter and heat of the day.

Thirst, heat, and disorientation are increasingly managable, with the aid of water, changes of clothing, hats, and maps. My first Medieval Congress at Kalamazoo was in my last year of my undergraduate degree. I went knowing no one, explored, had a wonderful time. Technically, this is my second Leeds Medieval Congress, but it might as well be my first. This time, though, I will know people, people I've met in Toronto or at Kalamazoo or York. I'm looking forward to it.

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