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Englandaganza, Stop 6: Hull
As many do (including David Davis’ opponents), I come negatively disposed towards Hull, so I don’t know if I will be getting much of it. Let’s see:
Didn’t get to catch Durham cathedral on the way out of Newcastle. Didn’t get to photo Durham either, as I’m too lazy to get the camera out mid-flight; but it had some seriously steep roads. What with the mediaeval brick houses, it looked like a pre-Renaissance rollercoaster ride.
Via York —
I boarded the train to Hull.
Not a lot of people seem to get the train to Hull. The transport I boarded was a mini-me train, with just two carriages:
Featuring emergency instructions in Welsh, no less:
In fact, the other two trains at Hull were also mini-me’s:
Hull station also had no wireless internets (I could only pick up the adjacent hotel), only one caf, and only a couple of “Hull” signs. None of them anywhere near my platform. I think Hull is small.
The plus side of being a mini-me train station with its own mini-me railway company (Hull Trains), is that you get something close to good service. This is the first time a train in the UK knew about my seat reservation.
Hull is a rail terminus: next stop, middle of the North Sea. The mini-me train halts before a concrete beach, hemmed in by the wrought iron gates. (No photo, sorry.)
Hull is concerned for your road safety. Here’s a handy hint that you may not have been aware of on arriving at Hull:
The cabbie that took me to Hull U was maybe not as jovial as his Beur Bruxellois counterpart, but pleasant enough. I missed every second sentence he spoke, too.
I didn’t get to see the nice Old Town of Hull, which came recommended to me as more Can-Do Victorian buildingery. I did get to see that Hull likes bricks a lot:
In fact, its university is so Redbrick, it hurts:
The university library here too has the infernal, undemocratic, elitist, inane, and not very nice notion of security gates:
And Reception! A university library having a Reception desk! What is this, the Waldorf Astoria? Well, at least they were able to tell me my coontaakt was stehl at a mehteng.
(I was subsequently filled in by my Hull coontaakt that the turnstiles were actually put in place to measure how many students were using the libraries, so the Evil Thatcher would not close them down. Daft way of doing it, and I’m heartened to hear there’s a chance the turnstiles will go away.)
My boss David (well, one of my many bosses) was right: Hull cafeteria was unadventurous, so it did not disappoint. I was actually quite happy with my three course meal. Less happy I had 20 minutes to work through it; it turned out I had underestimated how much time I needed at Hull. Fortunately my adrenalin kicked in when I started presenting my own project: lots of walking to and fro and gesticulating about a couple of OmniGraffle diagrams. As always, I was surprised that I knew what I was talking about. I was actually flabbergasted that people were shipped in from Brighton to hear what I had to say. (I mean, srsly. That’s humbling.) I was less surprised that I used icanhascheezburger.com as an exemplar of what they were doing with establishing hyperlink suggestions. Hey, if you want to play by Web 2.0 rules, you’re not going to be very far from LolCats.
Does that mean I should charge work for my intensive research on LolCats last night after all?
Limited to no interaction with locals (the people at U Hull I was dealing with were Not From There); but the lass wot I bought shortbread from at the stehtion floored me with her intonation. This is what, Yorkshire? And they really do talk like that. It’s like sing-song, but with just two notes. An octave apart.
On the £68 ride down from Hull to Cambridge, I got an hour or less’ work done up to Selby. Then I struck up a conversation with an administrator who works at SOAS, and dammit, deadline or no, I was going to be at least a little human on this trip.
Via Grantham, home to Margaret Thatcher, and throughfare to all others —
I made it to Cambridge 8 pm. More on that, next posting.