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Orientation in Canterbury

A few years ago, on a hot summer day, I walked out to St. Augustine's Priory, outside the walls of Canterbury. It was a miserable day and I may well have been dragging luggage with me. The walk to reach it seemed interminable and dull, long, walls blocked off views and there was nothing much in the way of shops or other points of interest except traffic. The priory itself was a lovely ruin in a pleasant - if really hot in the sun - green space. It was surrounded by a wall, and beyond that - I remember the cynical commentary in my head - what looked like particularly dull buildings, perhaps council estates or an extension of the King's school, the only larger-scale institution labeled nearby on the map I was using.

Today, I found myself on the other side of those walls, on a crisp, freezing, overcast day. The walk - which I did on my way back - wasn't really very long at all. It helped not having burning sun or luggage. The buildings aren't particularly exciting, but they're wholly functional, rational, and occasionally actively pleasant solutions for what they are: a modern university complex, tucked away discreetly between a medieval priory, a modern prison, and a residential swathe of the historic city of Canterbury. It's a well-provisioned, growing university with all mod. cons except enough space, at least on first tour. (They're building a new campus nearby to help alleviate this problem. In the interim, temporary buildings cover what used to be tennis courts.)

Now, if only the trains to get there were more reliable. Outbound, we left on time, were delayed for half-an-hour outside Ashford, and then changed destinations so that a new train was required to complete the journey. On the return trip, the first train was cancelled and the second merely delayed. I think that this will be a commute for which it will not be possible to allow too much time.

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( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
drasecretcampus
Jan. 8th, 2009 11:30 am (UTC)
The trains to East station are on average quicker and reasonably reliable - but you'd need to get to Victoria. I suspect it's also a quicker walk to campus, along the wall (and there are almost always taxis, which is not to be said of west).

Those temporary buildings (jumped up Portaloos) bounce and leave you feeling sea sick. The new campus is sports facilities (to be shared with a school and they reckon the Olympics) and Albatross Augustine House is the swanky new conference learning resources centre. Given the pressure for office (teaching staff) space and teaching rooms (not least lecture halls that seat 100) I can see the huts being there indefinitely.

(There seems to be no more talk of demolishing Hepworth or the Fisher Tower, with or without their inhabitants.)

owlfish
Jan. 8th, 2009 11:46 am (UTC)
It takes me slightly longer to get to Victoria than Charing Cross, but if it's more reliable and faster, that'd be worth the time. Good to know. (For yesterday, Canterbury West was the more alluring station, however, being as it's next-door to the Goods Shed. I would have gone anyways, being there on a Not-Monday, but thanks to you, I paid particular attention to the cheese this time and came home with some mighty fine ones. Thank you!)

I got to know the teaching room crunch when I was given my current room allocations. Four classes, all back-to-back, in three different classrooms in three different buildings. The two classes in the same room aren't even there sequentially.
drasecretcampus
Jan. 8th, 2009 12:28 pm (UTC)
The through trains to Dover Priory are 90 mins - the train will divide en route at Faversham, where the front four carriages will go to Ramsgate and the rear four carriages will go to Dover Priory. Please ensure you are travelling in the correct carriage (sorry, channelling Charlotte Green). The Charing Cross ones are between 90 mins and 2 hours, from memory. Network Card (£20) gives a discount of a third.

(I've just looked at the timetables - and there's not much in it. For what it's worth, buying a return at West seems cheaper than at East. I've always been delayed going to west, only a couple of times to east.)
owlfish
Jan. 8th, 2009 01:51 pm (UTC)
Network Card! Thank you for reminding me of their existence. Never having needed one, I'd forgotten about them.
marzapane
Jan. 8th, 2009 04:30 pm (UTC)
Maybe it is time to get your UK drivers license?
owlfish
Jan. 8th, 2009 05:00 pm (UTC)
Yes, but I couldn't necessarily get it before the class ends even if I start now. The UK has high standards and it's normal to fail a few times before passing the driving exam. Still, it's a good incentive and I really should relicense at some point.

Also, it would be about an hour-and-a-half drive if the traffic is good, and that's an unproductive hour-and-a-half for me. The train may be the better part of 3 hours (including Underground) each way, but I can read and write with that time.
theengineer
Jan. 8th, 2009 10:01 pm (UTC)
I loved that day trip to Canterbury we took the first time I visited you guys. Are you eating a lot at that Farmer's Market, or is it closed in the winter?
owlfish
Jan. 19th, 2009 10:33 pm (UTC)
I love that Farmer's Market. It's open as usual. Unfortunately for me and fortunately for my finances, it's closed Mondays. Mondays are the only day of the week it's closed. And guess which is the only day I'm in Canterbury each week?
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )