Posted: Oct 10, 2003 2:03:10 AM

Before I set out on this trip I told everyone who would listen that I knew that somewhere, somehow, I would run into someone I knew from home. Unintentionally, that is; completely by accident. To be truthful, I didn't believe it would actually come to pass.

For the last week and a bit I have been exploring the Old Country, the Scepter'd Isle, that Jewel of the North Sea. France. No, wait, that's not the word I'm looking for. Britain, that's it. So far Britain has been a bastion of serendipity, where fortuitous happenings abound.

It started before I even arrived; because of the mess with flights (see previous reports), I turned up at the airport in Rome late for my re-arranged departure time (went to the wrong terminal). I've already explained how they all told me to run to the departure gate, but I didn't mention that because I arrived so late they had run out of seats in Economy, and bumped me up to Business Class. Mmm, serendipity and free magazines.

I'm glad about the magazines, actually, because if that tenuous chain of circumstances hadn't come about I probably would never have discovered that Edward Said has died. George Plimpton too. Grim.

Anyway, Edinburgh was great fun, arrived at midnight with no accommodation booked (just as in Ankara and Valletta), had a couple of days of frenetic site-seeing. The Stone of Destiny, Faberge eggs, climbing Arthur's Seat, eating haggis.

I skipped to York and did more of the same, but tackier. Did the York Dungeon (frightened a few of the other patrons completely accidentally, which amused the employees no end), an evening ghost walk (the guide was very surprised that I had heard of Barghests), an afternoon walk around the city walls, ate Yorkshire pudding, and then checked out the enormous Yorkminster.

And ran right into my old Shakespeare lecturer, Dr. John Ross, on holiday from New Zealand. Flabbergasted, flabbergasted. The chances of this happening have to be very slim, but I was of course delighted at the sheer serendipity of such a meeting. It was nice to see a friendly face, too.

It wasn't the last friendly face; from York I have met up with Ian and we have spent the last few days hanging around Shropshire and surrounds. Talking about books mostly, which is incredibly fun, although we did drop into Stratford-upon-Avon to see a proper Royal Shakespeare Company production, and tomorrow we will explore Shrewsbury.

I have been on the road for fifty days now. Everything is going well, I think. Everything is going well.


Peter (admin)   Oct 10, 2003 11:07:17 AM

Seems like there was a problem with the server (with the code for this site, to be more precise, the DB pool was running out of connections). I restarted the server, so it's working for now, but I'll have to track down that bug later on...

Sorry for the inconvenience,
Peter :(

Damon   Oct 10, 2003 11:15:54 AM

*grin* and after all the money I paid for it! Nah, 'm kiddin', it's very cool that you were able to jump on the problem so quickly. *offers up a round of applause, or perhaps apple sauce, for Peter*

Charlotte   Oct 10, 2003 11:26:10 AM

There was a recent insinuation that some people were spamming this board. So, this is a post that is completely filled with spam.

Japanese staff member at Nova: Have you all tried the new spam sandwich at Freshness Burger (popular local burger place near Nova)?

Nova teachers: Spam? You're kidding, right?

Japanese staff member: *confused* No.

Nova teachers: Spam is nasty stuff that calls itself meat and comes in a can. Did you all just pay 380 yen for a spam sandwich? (note - 380 yen is about $5.80 NZD)

Japanese staff member: *still confused* Yes

Nova Teachers: *universal expressions of disgust*

So there. Spam. Spam, spam, spam!

And you're nowhere near my total of amazing coincidences! *grin*

Peter   Oct 10, 2003 11:26:37 AM

Well, I did not solve the problem... not the real problem anyway ;) .

It's basically a resource that is being leaked over time due to a program bug. I just gave it a fresh batch of resources by restarting the server. But over time it'll run out again.

If I don't move my lazy a** and fix that stupid bug, that is ;)

Damon   Oct 10, 2003 11:28:36 AM

Right, when I get to Japan I want to find a Spamburger. Really.

Peter: no probs - I live in the moment, so if it's working for the moment, I'm happy.

Charlotte   Oct 10, 2003 11:39:05 AM

Oh, I have heaps of disgusting things lined up for you to try when you get here. How does (crunchy)dried squid sound? It's sold as a snack/treat and can be found alongside the chocolate section. If squid isn't your thing then there are other varieties of dried sea creature available.

Peter   Oct 10, 2003 11:50:26 AM

Ok, you keep living in the moment, and I try to keep future moments from being bad, by hunting down that bug...

Sounds good? ;)

Rimmers   Oct 10, 2003 2:22:57 PM

50 days and still´s about time for a little piccie overview, from what you have seen so far!

@Peter the cookie and author remembering stuff is no problem, as i´ve found out in the meantime. don´t ask me if it is because of microsoft workstation that saves personalized settings or whatever, but it works.

lian   Oct 10, 2003 4:51:15 PM

(no techie talk from me, don't worry)

Feeling any exhaustion yet? Home sickness ever came back? But I guess that hanging out with Ian and being bored together kind of recharges one's batteries ;P
Hey, I was just wondering if you two had ever met before. Not that I knew off. But then, I didn't know your very entertaining photo-love-st -- okay, photo documentation 'way to work' either. Oh dear, now I must go and look up 'serendipity'...*slouches* weren't you, like *shocked* to meet yourex-prof on the York streets??

Banjo   Oct 10, 2003 5:23:38 PM

See, and here I thought you meant you met a stripper salma hayek on the road. I got all excited for nothing! Gyp!

Morgan   Oct 11, 2003 4:14:03 AM


I'm not witty enough to add any thing of worth here ;) but glad to see you're having a great time. Mum and Dad say "Hi"

fraZ   Oct 11, 2003 10:25:51 AM

Well im witty look at this little gem i stumbled across
"Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Txes M&A Uinervtisy, it deosn't
mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny

iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in

the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can

sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn

mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as

a wlohe.

-Pat Hayes

Aggeis Don't Spel Goud?

[spelling and the brain]

". so damn funny

lian   Oct 11, 2003 2:05:22 PM

How scary. That's completely true. (And English isn't even my native language!)

Yeah, so I thought of Salma Hayek too ;P

But at least I now know what gregarious means. I thought it was something like an insult. Heh.

Damon   Oct 11, 2003 7:24:33 PM

@Peter: sounds good *happy-go-lucky grin*
@Rimms: difficult, for reasons mentioned previously
@Lian: if there's one thing Ian never is, it's boring. And I was completely shocked about meeting John Ross - sorry if I didn't adequately convey that in the report *chuckle*
@Banjo: 'Dogma', yes? Unless Hayak is overly fond of portraying a stripper in films. And I haven't seen her. Yet.
@Morgan: tell them (and it's very important to get this right, so read carefully) 'hi' from me.
@Fraz: hey, that's cool. Reminds me of another passage that tried to describe what it was like having a reading disorder, and xt wxs xll wrxttxn lxkx thxs, wxth thx vxwxls rxplxcxd by xs.

I have arrived safely in Oxford, where I'm staying with Tamsyn (who has posted here, almost uniquely under her own name *grin*). Have already checked out the Ashmolean, which was most funky.

lian   Oct 11, 2003 11:00:04 PM

*nervously looks around* I never once thought that Ian might be boring. It was just my pure envy of the congenial light-headed camaraderie obvious in your posts that made me write something so lamely ironic. Yeah. You have yet to catch me with a post that is inteded to be completely serious. And you wouldn't be able to tell the difference if I didn't mark it on top of the post ;)

Anyway. How's Oxford? Is it as pretty as I imagine it to be? (I guess it's just a city, but I also envision those grand old English parks with colourful leaves in fall and stuff. Oh yeah.) And I be it's misty in the morning.

Captain Roberto T. Fruitbat   Oct 12, 2003 12:36:04 AM

@Damon: an email about the item has been sent

@Lian: it´s not Danish cookies :)

lian   Oct 12, 2003 12:58:44 AM

ohh... torture. Now my imagination is running wild. As if it were any of my business ^_^x Did you know that I always vaguely thought you were male? Sorry. But true greatness knows know gender. (Must've been that Harvey name.)
What -- you mean I should stop spamming paradmon's comment page? pah...

Charlotte   Oct 12, 2003 1:45:36 AM

Pffft! Original!

@lian - there's a plate of spam sandwichs set out on a table up at the front of the room. Just help yourself - plenty more spam where that came from and it doesn't cost Damon (pffft! Original! I bet that's not even your real name) a thing! *grin*

Peter   Oct 12, 2003 4:47:03 PM

Spam away lian, the server isn't screaming for mercy yet.
Don't know about damon, but I'm sure he'll let us know ;)

(In the next article, no one would notice in this mess that is the comments section...)

fraZ   Oct 13, 2003 5:34:36 AM

DAMON you have to phone Garth, i sent you his phone number , so do it.

sis   Oct 13, 2003 10:12:09 AM

I am also not witty
*waves hi*
@ Damon I'm sorry I'm not home when you phone
I miss you
@ all brothers- you are all WEIRDOS! (ah la Sam the American Bald Eagle)
plz xcuse m'spllng I stpd Dong engaleach afeter 2 eares of my dgree (wow that was some BAD spelling, wordup)

sis   Oct 13, 2003 10:13:37 AM

*mental note- do not post this far past my bed time*

Harlequina   Oct 13, 2003 7:26:16 PM

Interesting. I'm logged in as 'Damon'. Hmm...

Maladroit   Oct 13, 2003 8:28:03 PM

Oh no, *they've merged*. I shall be in the bomb shelter if anyone needs me.

lian   Oct 13, 2003 8:40:51 PM

Thank God both of you have such a unique writing style. So we can tell you apart even if you start posting under the other's name ;)

Which also applies to Bandee, complement to the infernal duo.

Tamsyn   Oct 13, 2003 9:11:39 PM

I'm posting this sneakily, as Damon has run away to Stonehenge for the day. I evicted him at 6.20 am this morning, poor thing, as I only have one key and I had to leave the house at this ungodly hour in order to row. (Probably not going to win the Damon Tour Hostess of the Year award... ah well...)

Anyway, just wanted to say that I'm doing my bit for the Fatten Damon Up Cause by feeding him roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, and roast potatoes twice in one day... I trust that some good, stodgy German cuisine will finish the job.

Harlequina   Oct 14, 2003 12:11:47 AM

Fatten him up? He weighs more than me!

fraZ   Oct 14, 2003 10:05:36 AM

Garth, Reach out & touch someone

Sahi   Oct 14, 2003 11:10:09 AM

@fraz: the word important pointed out to me that it sure becomes more difficult with long words. But other than that it was totally true.

Damon   Oct 14, 2003 11:30:57 AM

@Sis: I'll catch you eventually. In the meantime, the 'net is a good substitute. And I know you have access!

@Fraz: I was going to this morning, but for reasons beyond my control I left it too late, so I shall try later. The trick is to catch him at home...

New report coming soon.

Claudia   Oct 15, 2003 11:21:00 PM

Re meeting up with people from home in the oddest places. When my husband, then boyfriend came over from England, we spent 3 months backpacking round the South Island of NZ. We were sitting in a pub in Alexandra, and someone he'd gone to school with in UK walked in the door!

Sounds like you're having a marvellous time. Hows Ian?

Damon   Oct 16, 2003 8:50:28 PM

He was fine as far as I could tell, but he can probably confirm or deny himself *grin*

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