York Haunted Pub Crawl

Right so its been a while since I’ve blogged. Been meaning to do it for ages and I thought today’s post was quite suitable for attempting a come back. Last time I wrote a post it was about losing my cat Indy in the states. On top of all that I was also dealing with a bit of depression and what I found so odd but seemed to explain a lot, culture shock. While it’s not my first time living in the UK or experience things in the north. I was missing the normality I would get in St. Louis and not having a job and getting out of the house was also taking a toil. But now I have a job and a steady income I’m not only able to get out a hell of a lot more, I’m socializing a lot more. I still miss home obviously but I’m doing a lot more and spending so much time doing things and working that by the time I get home I am so worn out and sleeping within minutes of getting into bed. I might still be getting used to the work but I do like how quickly I’m going to sleep considering just a mere few months ago I was struggling to fall asleep at night.

Anyway last weekend my husband, me and our two friends David and Fiona went to York for an overnight trip. We did a haunted pub crawl that I’ve been wanting to do for nearly two years now. I got a booked called Haunted York and in the back with a list of haunted historic places there was a list of 10 pubs that were reported to be haunted with a map to help find our way. The only unfortunate thing was there was no stories as to their hauntings in the book. So I had to do a bit of research for all the different places. We didn’t get to go in all of them, there was only two we didn’t actually even get to see as they were the two farthest out of the main pubs. At least another 3 more that were too crowded to want to get a drink in as my husband and David joked, serving crap beer anyway being John Smiths pubs. Though I want to say one wasn’t and I really wanted to go in it but it was so crowded from a live band that was playing that I figured any spirits in that one wouldn’t be around.

So first we went to the Golden Fleece which had a doorman for such a tiny place. The fleece’s story I would write in my own words but I think its written quite well from a website I found.

Reputedly the most haunted pub in York, this early 16th century inn is certainly one of the oldest, having first been documented in 1503.

It is believed that no fewer than 15 spirits haunt this quaint unsuspecting pub. The most notable of these reports is the spirit of Lady Anne Peckett, the wife of the one time mayor of York, John Peckett. Many guests and staff have reported the sighting of a woman wandering the corridors of the inn, moving things around, and walking up and down the staircase in the dead of night.

Other ghosts include a man dressed in red coat uniform and holding a pistol. He’s known by people as One Eyed Jack, whether this is because he has been seen to wear a patch or is missing an eye is not known. He is also joined by a grumpy old man, both of whom are often sighted in the bottom bar area. A young boy is also seen in the top bar. It’s believed he is the ghost of a boy who was trampled to death by horses outside the inn sometime during the Victorian period.

After the Golden Fleece we got dinner, checked out Dean Court Hotel and decided we didn’t want to pay the prices but I will share the history I got from their website

As York is said to be one of the most haunted cities in the entire world, it’s no surprise that the Dean Court Hotel is haunted, primarily by a cleaner known as the ‘Mad Maid’. Mediums who have visited the hotel in the past came across the mad maid in the basement kitchen, where she told them that she used to work as a cleaner in the guesthouse that used to be next door to the hotel, that later became part of the hotel.

A number of other paranormal happenings have also been reported at the hotel, namely in room 36 on the third floor where most of the activity seems to be concentrated. Guests have reported doors slamming, feeling pressure on their chests late at night whilst they lie in bed, objects being moved around and out of their original positions and terribly cold spots in the rooms, even in the height of summer.

Not far from Dean Court Hotel was the York Arms which so happened to be a Sam Smith’s pub and is one our favourite breweries. Now the ghostly part of York Arms I could not find. The only thing I was able to find was that it was designed by J. P. Pritchett in 1838 and his work involved the demolition of the old Peter Prison and the mediaeval Minster Gate. We liked it there so much we stayed for two drinks. It was nice and quiet which was surprising for a Saturday night. After that we went to one of my favourite pubs Ye Olde Starre Inn in the shambles and that was our first bit of actual ghostly activity.

Ye Olde Starre Inne dates back to 1644, however historians believe the cellar is much older than this. It is from this cellar that most of the activity occurs, with screams and groans often heard. It was here were Royalist soldiers were treated during the inns’ time as a temporary hospital during the Civil War.

Another frequent experience is the sighting of an old lady wearing black clothes. There isn’t much known about the identity of the woman, or how she died, but she is often seen on the staircase.

Perhaps one of the strangest hauntings in this list, is the ghosts of two black cats that reportedly haunt this pub. Local legend says the cats were bricked up between the pillar between the door and the bar. On several occasions, customers have brought their dogs in with them, and whilst having their drinks the dogs have growled, snarled, and in some instances have bolted towards the pillar, with one dog knocking itself out doing so!

The tradition of burying cats in the walls is a tradition that goes back a long way throughout Yorkshire. It is believed this ritual protects the building against both fire and bad luck.

Now I took these pictures before I read the story and saw the first smudge and thought it was the cord of the camera in the picture so I took two more knowing I had a tight hand on the cord and there was still that moving orb. Mike and I believe it might have been the poor cats that were bricked in the pillar. Our friend David kept making fun of the idea so I think that might be why its trying to pick his nose :p It might also explain why I always feel so at home in that place because not being a fan of crowds but being a very big fan of cats, I am never in a rush to move on. I firmly believe that’s the cats visiting our table but then moved on when Mike took over the camera. I did take a few more shots too just to see if it was a flaw with the camera but there was nothing and rather than share an odd picture of my purse I didn’t add it on here. So yeah ghostly cat tails in that place with orbs in lots of other places. Next was The Punch Bowl (not the Wetherspoons one) which also had some orbs in it. They stayed with Fiona mostly.

Said to be haunted, The Punch Bowl has been a pub for over four centuries, or perhaps we should say pubs, as we have suffered two major fires. We have a historical connection with the Whig Party from the 17th Century. Punch was the preferred drink of the Whigs, whilst the Tories liked their claret. Any pub displaying a punch bowl sign was therefore declaring its political allegiance.

As with many of the old pubs in York, the Punch bowl is host to a couple of ghostly figures. In the past, the pub was renown as a brothel. One story is that one women rejected the advances of a client, who then chased her around the pub to one of the rooms where he strangled her to death.

Her ghostly steps and voice have often been heard by the staff and customers. The second being that of a previous landlord who died during a fire in the pub.

After The Punch Bowl we tried to go to the Roman Bath which has a museum downstairs with the Roman bath that was found and is on display. Obviously by this point we couldn’t see the it and it was really crowded so we decided to move on and try it another time. Next was The Old White Swan, we sat at a round table by one of the fireplaces, it was busy but the place was large enough for the crowd. I ended up spilling my cider into my purse which had all my electronics so I had to quickly clean it out. I wasn’t the only one to spill my drink there either so I think it was safe to say we were pretty sloshed. Anyhow the story is here, comes from their website.

Part of a collection of buildings dating back to the 16th century, the Old White Swan is also one of the oldest in the city, and with that comes the history and the stories of hauntings. It is believed that the pub is haunted by a group of papists who have been seen gathering round the fire in the early hours of the morning. The fire itself is often re-ignited by itself after staff have extinguished it shortly before.

Another piece of strange phenomena that occurs at this pub are the reports of furniture being moved and in come cases thrown and toppled over by unseen hands. Muffled voices are also often heard, and the sound of footsteps are a regular occurrence.

The Old White Swan is a collection of buildings with a rather colourful history that dates from the 16th Century. We are one of York’s oldest pubs and are said to be haunted. Buildings at the rear of our courtyard date to medieval times and in 1781, the world’s tallest man, Mr O’Brian, was exhibited here at the pub. O’Brian stood 8 feet tall and the then landlord charged onlookers a shilling.

While I don’t know if the fire we sat by is the one they talk about, there is an orb in one of the photos. So again we didn’t plan to sit by one of the haunted areas before we read the story yet still managed to. Oddly coincidental.

After the white swan we made our way to The Snickleway Inn which sadly was the one with the live band and crammed with people. So we stood outside while I read the story and it took a lot of effort not to just go right in after reading what can happen there.

Situated in the historic centre of York, the Snickleway Inn is one of the oldest pubs in the city with parts of the building dating back to the 15th century. The building was not always linked to the pub trade; evidence suggests it may have once been used as a brothel as well as being the Royalist powder magazine during the English Civil War.

In addition to being one of York’s oldest pubs, the Snickleway Inn is also reputedly one of the most haunted. Derek Acorah names the pub as being amongst Britain’s 100 scariest places to visit, thought to be haunted by at least 5 spirits.

The ghosts include Mrs. Tulliver and her cat, Seamus. Some customers claim to have felt the cat rubbing against their legs. The ghost of a young girl has been seen sitting on the pub stairs. She is the daughter of a past landlord who ran outside into the road one day and was killed by a brewer’s dray. An elderly gent is said to sit on the barrels in the cellar and has been known to throw tools at certain members of staff when they go down there.

Now the part I can’t remember is if we got some food on the way back or before we made our way there but we decided to go to some places that weren’t on the list as the last two were too far out from where we were and our hotel. One place wouldn’t let us in because I forgot my passport in the hotel which was understandable but hey not every place has a doorman so we went to The Red Lion which everyone but me wanted to go to first as they were saying its a pub crawl but it wasn’t on my list and I wanted a haunted pub as we all agreed to do. So I may have pitched a mini fit at the beginning to make sure we stuck with the plan. But now that there was plenty of booze in me and we were pretty much done with our list we went there and it was quite a nice place. Could definitely tell it had some history to it. I’ve yet to see what there is about the place but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was something. After that we finished our night with the Wetherspoons that was connected to the hotel. And of course before heading to bed we raided the vending machine just in the lobby. It sadly was not as pleasant a night of sleep as I would have hoped because we had the window open in our room which you could hear traffic and people out later than us. Then very early that morning a family next door woke up us. Or really the 3 kids and dad trying desperately to get the ready for the day. One crying and two were bouncing around, how do I know this? Because the walls were so fucking thin!!! Or they were just ridiculously loud. Which is highly possible as Fiona and David heard them and they were a few doors down and not connected by the wall that we were. What was funny was when the father left the room with one of the kids and the kid started to say something the father immediately hushed the kid. And it was like yeah bit late for that! So we ended our time in York by having a nice breakfast at Bills and our server telling us about more haunted pubs when she asked about our visit to York. And I had just enough time to quickly nip into The Cat Gallery to grab Grey some of his catnip mice. It was a great trip and I know we’ll be visiting the other two places as well as the new ones we were told about. Oh and I’ll share the stories for the two we didn’t get to go to. Which were The Black Swan and The Cock and Bottle. And there I shall leave you with the last of the stories and pictures.

Cock and Bottle

Georgie Porgie

Georgie Porgie pudding and pie

Kissed the girls and made them cry

When the boys came out to play

Georgie Porgie ran away

George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham (1592-1628) was the bisexual lover of King James I. By no means monogamous, Villiers also had affairs with ladies at Court as well as with the wives and daughters of powerful nobles. It is believed he used his relationship with the King to force his attention on unwilling ladies:

“Kissed the girls and made them cry”

Whilst avoiding prosecution or retaliation. Parliament finally ordered James I to stop intervening on his lover’s behalf causing all the jealous husbands to vow to get their revenge, so…

“Georgie Porgie ran away”

Said to be the home to the ghost of George Villiers, the Duke of Buckingham, who was rumoured to have been made famous by the Georgie Porgie nursery rhyme.

The Black Swan

This solid oak 17th century inn was originally built in 1417 and was used as a family residence. However, the pub as you see it today wasn’t built until sometime during the 17th century.

The Black Swan is certainly one of the oldest buildings in our list, and it also has some interesting reports of paranormal goings on. One of which is the sighting of a Chaplinesque looking figure that wears a bowler hat, pacing around the rooms of the pub as if he’s waiting for someone to arrive. After a while he normally disappears!

The ghost of a beautiful young woman with long black hair and wearing a white dress is also seen. She is often seen looking towards the fireplace as if in deep thought.

Perhaps the strangest of all the haunting at the Black Swan, is the male legs that have often been seen walking around the landlord’s living quarters.

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Getting There…

So It’s been about two weeks since I posted anything. It was a bit busy around here with Christmas and New Years and just enjoying the holidays. I came down with a cold the evening of New Years Day so I’ve been busy battling that but I think I’m at the tipping point of getting better. I had my registration appointment for the doctors today and it went well except for the fact I did not get my prescription for more acid reflux meds cause it was a nurse doing my registration and only 4 nurses can give prescriptions and she was not one of them. I did find out that I can find some meds OTC but the one I found was only 10mg and not as cheap as it would be to get a prescription. But it will do for now until I can get an appointment for a prescription. Mike and me have started on being healthier in the new year. So far my exercise has not been good. I need to make myself get out more but its hard to do when I have nowhere to be and am still struggling with feeling comfortable going anywhere. But I’ll be making myself do that more even if its to go to town and visit the library a few times a week. So that is the plan for tomorrow to go about in town. So for now I’m just chilling out and then making some dinner for when Mike gets back from work. Nothing terribly existing for today but I do find it interesting the difference with the doctors. I do find it a bit harder to get what I need when I want it but they just have a different system for going about things. Hopefully I’ll have more things to share later or at least have the enthusiasm to share but I guess I am just tired today.

Settling Down

So I have gotten a lot done in the last week and I was starting to feel a little lazy! I’ve only been in the country two weeks and I thought I need to get a lot of stuff done but now I’ve mostly done it all! I’m not sure why I thought I wasn’t going to get much done seeing as I’m not working so I really have all the time in the world to do my errands and still chill out. I’ve been trying to get up with my husband when he’s getting up for work but there have been a few days where I’ve just barely opened my eyes as he gives me a kiss goodbye. I think a lot of it has to do with me still settling and getting my internal clock adjusted to the time zone. I’ve also bought some natural sleep aid to help calm my mind as well. It’s a mixture of being next to someone who can snore with cold weather and just getting comfortable. I’m used to only getting woken up to my parents getting ready for work and my cat who would want an early morning cuddle. Now I’m awaking up because one of us has rolled over or I am expecting his alarm clock to go off or I just can’t sleep. A few times I’ve had bad dreams where I’m back in a place I don’t want to be or I had to come home and now don’t have any money to get back to England and my husband. I know those will eventually settle down since sadly this is not the first time I’ve had to deal with weird dreams like that.

 

Anyhow what I’ve been doing since I am somewhat new to the country again is having to change a few things around. Now since this isn’t my first time living in England it was probably far easier than it should have been. What I’ve done this week besides work on my CV and chill out in the front room, has been phoning a few places to change some details around or get some information. I got a NI number a few years ago when I tried to apply for a job but was never able to work the job since the NI number came a lot later than they could wait for one. So what I did today instead of writing to them was to tell them a change in my personal detail which would be my name. I had all the information they needed in order to change it and it was simply “what was your name and what is your name now?” “Okay we’ll sent you info in the next week marking the change”. And then I had to call the old medical practice I went to in Leeds to get my NHS number since I had no idea what it was and the new practice I’m trying to register with (which I don’t have a registration appointment until the new year) has it as a requirement in filling out the forms so that was also quick and easy to do. Then today I went into town to change details with the bank I’m with and then get a library card from the local library. I was so freaking happy when I managed to get all this done by noon! So now all I’m waiting on is to finish my registration forms and go to my appointment and working on my CV so I can apply for jobs after Christmas/New Year. I worried it would all be a long hard process because well, the spouse visa was a long hard process why shouldn’t everything else be right? Now I did have someone I went to school with years ago tell me how he’s interested in my status updates since he has applied for a job in the UK. So if you’re reading this just let me tell you that if you do get the job, your employment should be the one getting you the NI Number but if they don’t you can find out more on it from gov.uk for the National Insurance Number. Now I’m not really sure how it works with getting a NHS number either but since you’ll be new the country they’ll probably apply for one for you from whatever practice you choose to register with but don’t quote me on that cause it could be different and I don’t know it. I’ve found looking on expat forums to be horrible because all the do is worry me more and tell me inaccurate information because every person and case is different when it comes to immigration and trying to get settled. I think I may have it easy since this isn’t my first time and I’m married to a British Citizen. I dread the day when I start taking driving lessons with a manual as well as on the left side of the road. But for now I’m happy to rely on my mother-in-law for a car ride or using the buses or trains or my own two feet to get me anywhere. (Taxis are special occasions when either the public transport is done for the night or it’s too far to get home on a bus).

So yeah I’m pretty settled now I think. We’re all getting used to each other and finding our own ways. Most mornings when Mike leaves I let the cat out and then sometimes let him in my room cause I miss my cuddling and the purring is very soothing. Sadly it does not work at night when we’re in bed cause there is most definitely not enough room for 3! Anyhow today is my husband’s birthday so I’m going to take advantage of the tv and PS4 while he’s still at work! 😉

I am back!

Its been more than a year (two maybe?) since I wrote a post. I am on here now and back for good!

Since I last wrote on here a lot of things happened. My boyfriend from when I was a student at Leeds Met (now Leeds Beckett), is now my husband. We married in October 2013. What we did not expect was the next year to be the hardest for both of us. His father passed away in December 2013 just weeks after we had our second wedding reception in England. Our plans for to apply for the Spouse Visa in early 2014 got Delayed until August. But I am now living in England hopefully for several years to come or at the very least, for the next 2 1/2 years. I’ve only been here a week but there is so much to do!

I need to get my banking changed around since it was done in my maiden name back when I was a student. I’m trying to work on my NI number, I have one but also having to change my name with that. I did an email forum but now I need to call them or visit them in person to verify who I am. Probably because we got married in the states so they don’t have proof of my marriage. I also need to work on my resume or my CV as they call it here and get that online and start looking at jobs (of course that can’t happen until my Ni No is fixed). And before the month is out I need to register with a GP so I can get back on medication that I had been taking over the counter back in the states due to being uninsured.

So while I’ve been away I was back in St. Louis, where I’m from and was working two different jobs mainly. I worked in a university bookstore for over a year as a cashier. I honestly hated the job, I liked most of the people I worked with and I got along with just about everyone but I was glad to leave. Retail is rather unfulfilling even if it’s in something like a bookstore. I also worked at a community college library, in fact it was right by the town of Ferguson (or was in Ferguson, that area is kind of a fine line by the highway) that has on the news worldwide due to coverage of the death of Michael Brown and the riots and protests that have happened since then. Its amazing what the media gets wrong about things and how much they keep the stereotypes going. While its sad and horrible what has happened in the area with the way the police have handle some things and the businesses that have been suffering if not destroyed. I just wish the media would focus on what is really important. But alas, you can’t change something like that overnight. Anyhow that’s really it right now. I haven’t gone out and done much due to a lack of funds and I’ve mostly just been trying to settle myself. But I shall be back soon with another entry!

Farewell England!

So my last day in England.

I got my dissertation on Saturday. Got to see my marks and comments. Of course got a little annoyed with some of it. One thing I wasn’t surprised with was some of the comments were repeats. I guess I just didn’t get what he wanted me to do. Either way it’s over with.

I’ve packed pretty much everything I can. There are a few things I have to leave behind. Hopefully some of it can fit in Mike’s bags when he comes otherwise it will just stay here or can be shipped to me if I really miss it.

I’ve not been as emotional or weepy as I thought I would be. But it’s a bit different this time. I know I’m going to see him at Christmas and even though it is quite a bit away I’ll see him in the Fall when we get married. The first two times when I saw him first and then he came to see me I started crying a few days before the end of the trip because I wanted more time with him. I remember after I dropped him off at the airport the first time I had to run to the bathroom so I could cry. I’m one of those people who hates to let others see me cry especially complete strangers so I prefer to weep in private. It was kind of funny cause I got to a point where I thought I was okay enough to leave the stall and a song came on and it was so freaking sad that it got me started all over again. Finally I thought I need to go home at least I can lock myself up in my room and cry! My mom didn’t understand why I was so upset cause I was going to see him again but it was the fact I hate being separate from him! Even when I was in Leeds I thought I preferred to be at his. Granted his house had a lot of benefits that my student studio didn’t have including silence at night!

I had a nice weekend. Friday we watched a few films together, Saturday we spent some quality time together before he had to go to a brass band concert and then we had people over as a last time game night. I’ve really been glad to get to know and become friends with some of Mike’s friends. I’ll be glad to see them again at the wedding. I even got a card today from one of his friends and his wife. Mike’s godmother gave me an early Christmas present of American money when I returned her books she lent me. Sunday we went to Bronte Country and I got see the house they lived in that was turned into a museum. I wish I could have taken photos but there was no photography or video allowed. I really enjoyed it and it made me want to read the books I have and the ones I don’t have yet. I think my favorite was Jane Eyre. I remember when we were in the car and saw the moors I kept thinking about Jane traveling through them when she left Mr. Rochester before coming to her cousins’ place.

Then there was Anne Bronte’s Agnes Grey when she was in Scarborough. I got to see what she saw going down the large hill to the beach (granted with a ton of arcades that weren’t Victorian). That’s one of the biggest things I’ve loved about these novels I can visual what they saw when they were writing the manuscripts.

Anyway I’m getting distracted. I really enjoyed it there obviously lol We looked around some shops. I finally got to try a macaron (the french kind not the coconut kind) it was a mini one. It was vanilla with marzipan in the middle. Mike had a chocolate one. I’m definitely going to have to start making them. We went to dinner at a restaurant I quite like and have been wanting to go to but it seems that they have gone down in the service and quality. Almost every time we’ve gone they’ve been out of food. It’s kind of surprising really if they’re that popular. But I enjoyed my lamb shank pie and churros sundae. I also had my very last glitterberry J20, it’s only around during the holidays and it tastes like cherry jolly ranchers.

Today I got a visit from the neighbor across the road. She was giving me a send off and we were talking about marriage and family. I can’t wait to see her again next year.

I’m going to miss Grey like crazy though. I picked him up earlier and thought I need to snuggle him a lot today and I nearly let loose the waterworks. I’ve got some quality time in with Mogs and Minnie as well. I wonder if Minnie will act weird now that I won’t be there. Mogs won’t be as bothered I’m sure but I wonder she’ll be afraid of me again the next time I’m around. I at least got to give her belly a good rub and a nice chin scratch.

I don’t know what I’m going to do when I get home. I did warn my mom I might be a bit tired and crabby. I’ll be glad to see Indy again. Things should be okay, I’ll just have to get used to everything again.

And before I know it Christmas will be here and I’ll have my most wanted present, Mike. 🙂

I might write another entry or two once I’m home again. But this is the end really. I’ve really enjoyed writing this blog and been happy to get more followers. I don’t think I ever expected to get so many people liking it and coming back for more. Hopefully they will like whatever I come up with next. 🙂

It’s been a great year.

My Review of Leeds Metropolitan University

I was thinking about doing this the other day when I went to Leeds and came home empty-handed. But at the time I was quite angry and thought maybe I should figure things out first before I continue this. But since then I thought I do need to get my opinion out there and say what I think of this school.

Now my perspective is from the point of an English-speaking international student. And one who wasn’t there during the week or two they had set out for international students welcome.

I have to say, I am extremely disappointed in my experience. For what I spent coming over and trying to understand things since it is very different from what I am used to, it definitely could have been better.

Now my first semester I was assigned a kind of course supervisor. I can’t remember the exact term but we met once a week the first semester. But before that all started I was supposed to meet with her my first day on campus to get familiar with a few things. First when I went to her office, she wasn’t there yet and we were set to meet at a certain time. Then she kind of explained a few things to me as far as the classes go but when it came to understand other things, she wasn’t really helpful. I was expected to know how things work or ask questions but then I didn’t know what to ask considering I had just been there for about 5 minutes. She walked me to my first class and introduced me to a few people, the majority of us there weren’t from England is the funny thing. At least not originally. And I think I was one of three whose first language was English, the other two in the class were English.

So there I was not really prepared for my class because I didn’t know what I needed material wise and sitting in a room full of people I didn’t know.

I was terrified!

By the end of that semester I knew all of the people because we either talked or had other classes together. A few I did make friends with as well. But being a shy person I just wanted to find a rock to hide under at the time. That particular class was fun actually, we all made websites that held a certain interest to us. We could pair up or work on our own. I had decided to work on my own. The reason I mention this is because there were two guys who paired together and made a website to help people understand how things work when coming to England. I thought it was a fantastic idea and was surprised that no one, not even the school really, had thought of this. It’s bad enough that I struggled with some things but for someone who can’t speak or understand English very well, it’s even harder. I wish I could remember the website because I would have liked to see if they continued with it.

Now the course supervisor we had for the semester, didn’t actually ever explain to us if we would meet during the second semester or talk any more about the group of us meeting up later for events or outings after the initial talk of planning it early in the semester. It was disappointing since a lot of us wanted to get together but our planner never planned anything. I ended up finding out about what my schedule was online for the second semester after many unsuccessful visits to her office and to the admissions telling me that there was nothing scheduled but I had to talk to her to find out for sure. Well it wasn’t for lack of trying!

Then there was my dissertation supervisor. At first I was actually really excited about it because I quite liked the guy. He taught one module early on before two other lecturers took over and when he found out I was American he used to go to me for answer to American things. (Things that I generally didn’t know much about but I pretended to lol). He also used to be a part of the librarianship course that was once taught at Leeds Met but then it got thrown in with the course I took since it could be cut to fit what you needed it for. Some of the classes I was rather disappointed in since they were so general, I felt they weren’t enough for the librarian/archivist part I wanted to focus on. I learned a lot but I had to focus my dissertation on the librarian/archivist side in order to really find what I needed/wanted. I met with my supervisor a LOT! I think we met every two weeks unless there was an issue. And then when we would meet he’d want to see what I was working on. At first he’d shred it to bits and when I worked on the stuff he wanted, he’d start nit-picking at little things. Little things I wondered if they really mattered. I was expected to write at a certain level that I knew I was far below besides writing standards are quite different in the states, even if he didn’t believe me. I didn’t know how to do any better with my writing because unless it’s pointed out to me, I don’t really see it. I had missed a chance to go to a report writing class in the first semester which was my fault but then I never found out about any others.

It got to the point where I was actually dreading each visit because I had to brace myself for what he was going to say and it rarely was positive. One day I felt so low afterwards I actually went into the closest bathroom and cried. I know I don’t always handle criticism well and I tend to be extra sensitive about things but it was getting to the point where I felt like I couldn’t do anything right. Even when he liked something he still found something else to have an issue with, even if it was a word he wanted changed because it didn’t sound right.

So to find that my dissertation got such a low (but passing) grade was the final blow. I needed to know what it was I didn’t do. I’m going home in less than a week and I still don’t know! It’s been several weeks since the grades have gone in and when I went to the reception desk where I turned it in (another thing I had to find out about from someone, I wasn’t told where to turn in assignments!) there were lots there but not mine. There was only one other student he was a supervisor for besides me so it’s not like there were a lot to turn in. I was told he hasn’t turned in anything for dissertations. So I contacted the secondary supervisor as well as him after I left campus that day to ask about it and tell them I’m leaving.

I thought my wasted trip was going to be redeemed by him offering to send it to me. I told him the address I was at until Tuesday and then the American address after that. He said he would send it to Huddersfield and I thought, oh thank God! I emailed the second supervisor to let her know things were figured out so she didn’t have to worry. But then today I get an email saying my dissertation has been dropped off at the reception desk and was given an apology for the added stress and a small explanation.

So now I don’t know if it is being mailed to me. I did just send an email to verify what he meant. But I did say I could not make it to Leeds due to the rest of my money being spent on train and bus fare earlier this week. I had enough to buy my train ticket to the airport but I think I have less than 5 pounds in my bank account. Not even enough to draw money out from a machine. I could take what’s left in there out and close the account but I wanted to leave a little bit in just in case. So I’m kind of having a WTF moment.

I just kind of feel like it’s been one thing after another with this school.

Now there have been people who have been extremely helpful when it comes to issues I’ve had. The admin office for the postgraduates have been there when I needed them. They answered questions for me, I’ve been able to change a class thanks to them and they’ve also been able to confirm details I gave them that I couldn’t change online. I also had thought the research practice teachers were very helpful. They taught us what we needed to know and answered questions as best they could whether it was in person or by email. Sadly one of them retired so people won’t be able to rely on him anymore for help. There were also a few others but they were ones I never really felt close to, they just had a generally friendly and easy-going attitude.

These are the types of people who try to be as helpful as they can and are fully there for their job. I wish there were more of them out there for the international students. I really feel that if there was more done to reach out to the international students and more care for those that aren’t familiar with the system (or even just realize, they’re not used to this, they might need some help) it would be a much better experience. It really does matter if people care or not because it shines through in their performance.

I don’t know if I would have chosen Leeds Met again if I had the chance. I know I wouldn’t choose my accommodation again! I would have saved loads lol But there’s not much to be done now. So it’s one of those life lessons that you can take something away from and then move on. So that’s what I’m going to do.

 

UPDATE: I am getting my dissertation mailed to me. For some odd reason he decided to listen to what the receptionist told him rather than what we talked about considering the receptionist misunderstood that I could not come in next week to pick my dissertation up since I was leaving Tuesday. And I did tell him I had no money. Anyhow I had to contact the receptionist to ask for it to be mailed. So now the whole mess that shouldn’t have happened is now cleared up and I will see my dissertation. Whether or not it’s before I leave for home is another thing but at least I will see it.

So Much Stuff, So Few Bags!

So I’m going through stuff that I want to pack and I’m realizing I just don’t have the room.

I only have two bags and two carry on and it’s just not enough to hold everything. I don’t think I realized how much I had here. Some of it is stuff I asked my mom to send me and I’m beginning to regret it since I don’t have the room. I got tons of shoes that I haven’t worn but asked to be sent and three pairs are converse. I love converse shoes. My first pair was some high top flames that I had been coveting. I stupidly got rid of them a few years ago cause I got unwanted attention from wearing them at church a few times. I was only a teenager but was easily influenced. I think the last time I wore them was to my prom (which I still love that I did) and then got rid of them. They didn’t really go with anything anyway but I loved them still. I got a grey, purple and green pair at the moment. I used to wear them all the time back in St. Louis but then I wasn’t using my feet as my main point of transportation. They are not walking shoes at least the canvas Chuck Taylors aren’t. But I’ve also acquired two new pairs that I can’t live without. They are nice and I can just slip them on and wear them anywhere, dress up or down or just to put out the trash. So I’m beginning to wonder if I should get rid of my chucks. I hate the idea of doing so cause I once wanted to own a pair in every color. It might be one of the many things I asked to be sent back to me or a few things I ask Mike to bring with him at Christmas.

Then there’s a few other things. I got coffee mugs, figures, an antique musical jewelry box, a blanket that was my grandmother’s and I’ve had since she passed away 13 years ago but is falling apart terribly.  I also got a ton of books I’ve acquired as well. I’ve tried hard not to buy books when I’ve been here but when I see a classic that’s on my list of books to read I end up buying it. I think I got the entire collection of Sherlock Holmes books for about £1.50. I have yet to read those because my list has become so long.

I think some of the mugs I’m just keeping here until I either come back for them or ask for them to be sent. My jewelry box I won’t be sure about until I go back home. I do have one more back to pack and I might find I have room for things like some photos or a few books. The shoes are just material things, I’m a lot different now than I used to be and might find I don’t miss them.

But my grandma’s blanket is another thing. I don’t know what to do. It is falling apart so I can’t really use it and I don’t think it’s even repairable. I stopped using it last year around this time because I realized I couldn’t keep washing it without it shedding more and more of its material. I’ve also gotten used to not having a small blanket handy when I get cold though it might be different when I go home. I wouldn’t mind a new one. It’s really hard to say at the moment. I do still have a week before I leave.

I booked my ticket and got my first class train ticket (I’m not dragging four things of luggage with me to fight for a seat in standard.) It really overwhelmed earlier just finding things I can pack now. Luckily I was home alone and could have a good cry. I haven’t really had a chance to cry. Last night and Friday while I was in bed I did well up but I couldn’t really let it out for fear of waking Mike. Leaving him or watching him go has been the hardest thing for me to deal with. I just want to stay with him and that be it. But we got about a year a part to deal with before the wedding and who knows how longer after we’re married. We need to meet certain requirements as far as immigration goes either way.

Anyway don’t mind me as I question what to do. I know things will get better I just need to allow myself to be upset. I don’t want to build it up. I also don’t think it’s truly hit me yet. At least I get Mike for Christmas 🙂

Meet Me in St. Louis

My time here has an expiry date.

My flight out of England has been booked. And I got mixed feelings.

I’m coming home on the 20th and will be home just days in time of Thanksgiving celebrations. I’ll be seeing friends and family I haven’t seen in person in over a year and I’m pretty sure my cat will be jumping for joy.

But then I’m leaving behind the life I’ve gotten used to here, my new cat Grey who won’t know where I’ve gone and Mike my fiancé. Thankfully I’ll be seeing Mike at Christmas. And I know I’m coming back here. I just hate that a lot of things are coming to an end.

Like this blog for instance. This blog was only meant to be for my year here but I’m finding I quite enjoy it. I like putting stuff on here and sharing it. I find that little things like my photos and when I talk about my cats get a lot of notice. Photos I wasn’t that surprised by but the cats yes! lol

I am planning on having a different blog after this. I already got my wedding one up. I don’t know what to make the focus of my next one to be. I don’t mind it being about me and having it as a general blog. But then there’s the design and layout and the name of the blog and how often I want to update it.

There is one thing I want to crab about though. STA Travel. I have only used it once before this. It wasn’t for student prices I don’t think. Maybe it was but I first used it to get a flight home to St. Louis after going to Minnesota for week with a friend. She was staying cause it was her mom’s house and I had to come back to go to work. I had to call them because I didn’t know until a few days before I left that I deleted my flight ticket from my email. They claimed I needed a student card to prove I was a student because if I didn’t they ask for proof and I didn’t have any. I got the stupid card and it was never asked for and I never used it for the whole year I had it.

So back to today when I was trying to buy my ticket at a student price. I went all the way through until I got to a point where it was asking me for an ISIC card. I didn’t have one and I wasn’t about to pay for one to prove I was still a student. So I had to go back and redo everything and tweak things as far as not going one way (if you don’t know already, if you get a one way flight ticket, it will cost you more than getting round trip ticket) even though I’m not coming back to England for a year. So it was more expensive than the student price but it was less expensive than the other sites I was looking at. I guess I should start going through stuff and seeing what to keep here and what to take with me. I think I’m going to have to pay for a second bag but it is actually a lot cheaper than I thought. Just got to make sure it is under the weight limit.

Don’t think I will ever get anything through STA Travel again though. It really is a scam to demand a card from someone who has student ID as well as a passport that says I’m here on student visa. Oh well it’s all done now. Wish me luck! I’m not a very calm traveller when it comes to planes. I don’t think it’s the plane ride but the trying to get to the area in time and making the next flight. The biggest problem I might have in the flight is motion sickness and I’m out of my motion sickness pills. I’m sure I can get some though. See you soon St. Louis!

Guy Fawkes Day

Last week was rough. I’ve been going through a lot lately and been having trouble communicating with people so when I do it comes off wrong or I just end up losing it. I’ve been quite emotionally and I think it’s because of me not knowing if I’m leaving soon or not. There are a few other things but mostly it’s the question of when am I leaving?

I found out my grade for my dissertation finally. I’m happy to say that I passed though not with flying colors. At least I’m done, at least I can say I now have a masters, but until I pick up my dissertation up it’s going to be bugging me about why I got the grade that I did. I can say now that my supervisor was quite hard on me for a lot of things. I do wonder if the English was not up to par but then I would think that shouldn’t account for such a large part of the grade. I don’t know really since I really thought I was doing what he wanted. I know he had to nit pick a lot since he couldn’t find a lot he had issues with but I don’t know.

Anyway it’s Guy Fawkes Day and I wanted to share a little something with ya.

 

“Remember remember the fifth of November

Gunpowder treason and plot.

I see no reason why gunpowder, treason

Should ever be forgot…”

 

I’m more than sure I probably shared this last year and with V for Vendetta having come out there’s not many who don’t know what it is that I’m talking about.

However there might be a few. So Guy Fawkes was with a group of men in the early 1600s who were conspiring to blow up Parliament but was caught while he was guarding the explosives. The group was called the Gunpower Plot. I don’t think he was the only one that was caught but I can’t remember. However we were discussing the other night that one thing was for certain, we couldn’t want to die the way he did. Hung, drawn and quarter is not a nice way to go, but he pissed off the King and had to be made an example of I guess.

There are many that might say that we need a Guy Fawkes now with the way the government is going. We definitely need something.

Anyhow it might not be known in America that on the 5th of November bonfires are made all over the place in celebration of the failure of the plot. Fireworks are allowed to be shot off and if you don’t go to a large bonfire, many people just have one of their own. We tried it this year but the fire didn’t last long and we just ate inside until we shot off fireworks. Though I wonder if many have the bonfires in memory of Guy Fawkes since he’s not really considered a villan now. Just food for thought.

©Lisa Helker

Fountains Abbey

These are my selected photos I took of Fountains Abbey. If you wish to see a larger version just click on the photo.