Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

Entries Tagged as 'Kimberly'

What it eans to work in a stable

May 5th, 2010 · 1 Comment

Now for the nuts and bolts of being a stable-hand…it’s not easy, it’s slightly painful, but completely worthwhile. The typical day on the job begins at 630 with my alarm clock. I’m then picked up by Mr. Tibbles at 7 at the Earlham Road bus stop and then on my way to the yard. The trip is normally only 40 minutes, but its morning rush hour so it can take over up to an hour or so. And I must say, I do not like British traffic jams, mostly because every time I’ve been stuck in one I’ve also been in a roundabout. That’s just no fun at all and slightly scary. Once at the yard, the first task of day is feeding the horses. After that comes my least favorite part of the day-skipping out stalls. This means getting a wheelbarrow and pitchfork and scooping horse poop. There’s typically 10 or 11 horses at the yard which means on most days I would be responsible for skipping out anywhere from 5-8 stalls. Once the stall are cleaned, I would have to pull out the horses’ hay nets and refill them. This was somewhat tedious and not good for my allergies. After the stalls had been cleaned and hayed, it was time to exercise the horses. On an average day we would exercise ride 3 to 4 horses each out on the country lanes and then school one or two horses in the ring.
The riding portion of the day was by far the most physically demanding. Each exercise ride through various fields and lanes lasted roughly 40 to 60 minutes and covered roughly 3 to 5 miles. These rides typically started and ended on country lanes and in between consisted of various fields, woods, and streams. The riding in the ring was normally about 30 minutes per horse and dedicated either to jumping workouts or dressage practice. Normally the rides were broken up by lunch. After finishing the rides, I would be responsible for cleaning all the tack while Mr. Tibbles was giving lessons. Let’s just say cleaning anywhere from eight to eleven bridles, saddles and girths in one go is tiring. With the horses exercised and tack cleaned, the only things left are one last skip through the stalls, refilling the hay nets and sweeping up the main aisle.
That’s it for the responsibilities, but normally before we close up the yard there is a visit from the farrier for one or two horses to have their hooves trimmed and shoes fitted. This adds about an hour or two to each day, because Nick, the farrier, is quintessentially East Anglian. He loves a good bit of gossip and a cup or two of tea. Some days vary from the normal pattern and responsibilities such as with farrier visits. Other variations include going with Kelly, a fellow stable-hand, to other neighboring yards and exercising the horses there and at other times include going off the property to help with lessons. Overall, it’s rewarding work. It is tough, demanding and exhausting, but it provides me with the opportunity to keep riding and also to experience a part of East Anglia that not everybody gets to experience.

Tags: Kimberly

Agreeing to be Paid with Food and Horses

May 5th, 2010 · No Comments

For the experiential portion of my final project I worked at a stable on the outskirts of Bungay, Suffolk. This is a bit removed from what I am writing about in my final paper, the Norwich Strangers, but is personally the best way for me to experience East Anglia outside of our program. I am sure I’ve mentioned this to most everybody on the trip at one point or another, but I am an enthusiastic equestrienne. I have been riding for nearly 13 years and can really not imagine a life for myself without some part of it being dedicated to horses and riding. Luckily, I had a connection with a horse trainer here in Norwich. Mr. Tibbles has been to Carlisle before to give riding camps and workshops and I was taken to these by an old riding instructor for multiple years in high school. And last June, he was once again back in Carlisle giving lessons for a few weeks and I managed to attend a few and talk to him about riding in Norwich. He told me just to send him an email once I was settled at UEA and then we could arrange something.
So, I had made contact for riding in Norwich, but didn’t know what I had signed up for until September. Once I was here at UEA, I got in contact with Mr. Tibbles and set up a schedule for what days I would be able to ride. In the first semester, we agreed that I could ride on Mondays and Thursdays. Now though, the question was how would I get to the yard(that’s what the Brits call a stable)? See Bungay is a good 35 minute drive from Norwich with no real direct public transportation between them. So, if I would go out I would have to go out with Mr. Tibbles. This meant that every day I wanted to ride, I would be at the yard from 8 until anywhere from 5 to 8. So we quickly came to the conclusion that I would work as a stable-hand for Mr. Tibbles in exchange for lessons and lunch. Yes, I got paid with pretty ponies and good lunches.
When I realized I had agreed to work one to two days a week with up to 12 hour days, I thought I was little bit crazy, but I do love horses and riding and I would be experiencing the country life and people of East Anglia firsthand. So obviously I thought it would be a good experience of the country without the influence and safety net of my fellow Dickinsonians. And being out at this stable in an area with more country lanes than actual paved roads and where the only thing I could see for miles was fields with crops or animals broken up by only few farms and old farmhouses and the odd wood here and there, really placed me perfectly for getting to know the people who live off of the land and its animals in East Anglia. In my other blogs, I will detail the tasks and schedules of my days and some of the experiences that helped me to understand East Anglia and its people a bit better.

Tags: Kimberly

Looking Back on London

September 15th, 2009 · No Comments

As our time here in London comes to an end, I find myself needing to reflect on a few more aspects of London in my blogs. So this is my overview of London blog. It’s to touch upon the parts of London I either left out of previous blogs or the parts that I found to be my favorites. Also, I am hoping to cover assigned blog topics that I had not included in previous blogs.
To begin with I want to discuss the War Cabinet Rooms. I cannot believe I did not mention the War Cabinet Rooms in an earlier post. The presentation of the Cabinet Rooms was impeccable. I found myself very content to wander through the maze of the preserved Cabinet Rooms. Moreover, it guided the viewers through the rooms in such a way that it conveyed the detailed organization of the rooms and their role in World War II. I particularly enjoyed how there was emphasis placed on not only the role of the rooms in World War II London, but also how it was a representation of the determination of the British people. It provides a look into one of the most turbulent times in British and particularly London’s history. And it does not fail to reveal the main actors and issues of the time. For me, it achieved this through creating a museum based on the preserved and restored War Cabinet Rooms. The other museums of London were beneficial to walk through, but the only one where I felt there was respect not only behalf of the museum but on the behalf of the visitors was in the War Cabinet Rooms. Other museums I witnessed a horrifying lack of respect to the exhibits and artifacts. The worst incident o f disrespect happened in the British Museum. Visitors were touching the sculptures and taking vulgar tourist pictures with the mummies. It was embarrassing to witness.
Respect is something that I realize I find in the parts of London I liked the most. The theatre for instance inspires a great amount of respect, not only in the appearance of the actual theatres but through the performances. In all, excepting one, the performances we saw in London, I was inspired by the respect seen in the appearance of the theatres and in the sincerity of the actors’ performances. Each theatre I had the chance to enter was beautiful, even the Disney version of the Globe. All were inspiring to enter and be in for a performance. Luckily nearly all the performances I saw lived up to their settings, obviously I am excluding Blood Brothers from this. As I have said in earlier blogs, the respect the British have for theatre is remarkable. They have made it almost an innate part of their daily lives, at least here in London. This respect is something I have not had a chance to observe back home, at least not in such a widespread manner. Personally, the performance that was the best was Arcadia. It was a beautiful performance of an inspired script. And the Duke of York Theatre was a simple but beautiful setting for the performance. Also, I felt privileged to be in that audience, there was no instance of disrespect in the audience or even boredom. In comparison, Blood Brothers and its audience, myself included, was just awful. The musical was poorly performed and as such the audience was unable to settle in and enjoy. Fortunately though, one bad experience with London’s theatre did not put me off at all, instead it just makes me wish to ensure that the next performance I attend will be of better quality.
Another inspiring part of London are the churches. They are numerous and each uniquely beautiful. Initially, I had issues separating them in my mind; all were striking and imposing, especially St. Paul’s and Westminster. Over the weeks we have been here I have found myself differentiating between these churches and finding favorites. I must admit I have love for the grand architecture and history of the churches like Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral. It was an amazing opportunity to tour both of those churches and learn more of their histories. As I explored London on my own, I found that even the smallest churches here have long, intricate histories. I cannot say if I have a favorite church or even a preferred type of church in London. I guess I could answer more definitively if I had attended a service or two during our time here. Thus far though, I would say that my favorites have been ones where we have either toured or listened to concerts.
London as a whole has been a unique experience. It is one that ended too quickly now that I look back on it. Though, I look forward to the break from the city. This means I can return here in a few weeks or months and compare my experiences from now to the ones I will have in the future.

Tags: Kimberly

Identity and London

September 15th, 2009 · No Comments

Identity is a concept that has never been a favorite of mine. I find that it is used too often and inappropriately. I have heard identity used to encompass individuals, cities, cultures, even nations, but to me how can this one word and concept be that encompassing? For me it is not all-encompassing. It is something decided on an individual level. Qualities that compose one’s identity can be shared on various levels, such as city, culture, similar interests, et cetera. Trying to label a larger group as a single identity, in my opinion at least, is impossible. Similar characteristics in individual identities found in larger groups such as a religion or culture are labeled as an identity. Technically this is correct, that identity consists of characteristics A, B, and C, which are all found within members of the larger group. My issue with this is that there is more to their identities than this all encompassing group identity. This is where I feel as though identity changes from a useful individual concept into a misnomer.
Our time here in London has cemented my opinion concerning identity. The city is a vast collection of numerous people and as such thousands of identities. It is wrong to try and label the city or groups of individuals here under one identity. Especially when you consider how quickly identities can change and how quickly they can be reassigned or misconstrued. Appearance is one way that identities can be misconstrued or changed. If one dresses in a certain way than their identity is predetermined before they are even allowed to introduce themselves. Relying on identity of a group to understand the individuals of the group is not a sure way of actually understanding them. Identity is a way that we attempt to label individuals and groups. As we explored various parts of London including the Hindu Mandir and Sikh Gurdwara, I found that we discussed their cultures and ways of life instead of their identity in London. It was too hard to give them an identity, but we could discuss cultural differences, ways of life and attempts to transition into British society.
Identity is something that cannot be relied on to convey thoughts on London. It is nearly impossible to label one identity for an entire group. Identity is on an individual level. Exploring London has helped me further understand what used to be my confusion about identity.

Tags: Kimberly

Walking through the Sculptures

September 13th, 2009 · 4 Comments

My trip to the British Museum was determined by one goal, to see the Parthenon Gallery and then move onto the rest of the Ancient World exhibitions. This goal formed during my junior year of high school when I was taking an AP Art History course. When we began the section on Greek Art and Architecture a main point of our discussion sessions focused on the British Museum’s collections, particularly the Parthenon Collection. I remember vividly the heated debates we had concerning the right of the British Museum to keep the statues taken from the Parthenon. My teacher’s advice on the subject though was to withhold on our final judgment until we could actually view the Parthenon Gallery at the British Museum. So this had me more than just a bit excited to see this exhibition and what else the museum had to offer.
As I entered the Parthenon Gallery, I was struck by the beauty of the friezes, metopes and pediments. The way they are arranged is to show them as they would have appeared on the Parthenon. The metopes and friezes are organized into their appropriate sections and the pieces placed in their original order. It is a unique opportunity to see temple friezes, metopes and pediments from the ground as they were meant to be seen. Yet there is equal beauty in being able to walk along these elements of an ancient temple and being able to view their details at eye level. This exhibition is simple in how it presents the sculptures, but it is the most effective way for the viewers to appreciate the beauty of the Parthenon sculptures. I found myself very appreciative of the gallery and was able to look past the controversy concerning the rights of the British Museum to the ownership of the sculptures.
The question that the museum poses in the pamphlet it printed in response to the controversy is one of not ownership but one concerning the protection and display of the sculptures. It states that the Parthenon was being destroyed at the time when the sculptures were taken by Lord Elgin. It was for preservation of the sculptures that they remained with the British Museum. Moreover, they are part of a collection on the Ancient World, which Greece and the Parthenon were very much part of. So it seems to me, that these sculptures are preserved, protected and appropriately displayed within the British Museum. It is only this preservation, protection, and respectful presentation that persuades people to support the British Museum’s right to keep the statues. Also, there are sculptures from the Parthenon in Greece, at the new Acropolis Museum. If there were no sculptures left to preserve and present in Greece, then my opinion would be different, but since there is preservation and appropriate presentation of them here in London it seems better for them to remain.

Tags: Kimberly

The Myth of the English Pub

September 12th, 2009 · No Comments

Arriving in London almost a month ago now, one aspect of the city I was looking forward to experiencing was the pub. There was the obvious allure of being able to consume alcohol legally in a pub, but also I was intrigued by the mystique surrounding English pubs. Nearly everyone I had talked to about what to do with my time in London said that it was a necessity to spend numerous evenings in pubs. One family friend went as far to say that it just is not proper to go to England and not drink in various pubs. They also told me that I would be missing out on a vital part of English culture if I would not go to various different pubs for drinking and observing. Another friend who had lived here for a roughly two years said that she would let me experience the pubs firsthand before telling me her views on pubs and how they reflect on English culture. I thought it was more of an excuse so she wouldn’t have to discuss the cultural importance of pubs.
But now that I have spent nearly a month here in London during which I have been able to visit numerous pubs, I can see why she didn’t spoil the surprise. English pubs as we think of them back home are more mythological than real. They are not ideal places of social drinking that only exist in the misty setting of England. We have very similar places back home; with the defining difference being that pub-like places back home do not have the reputation that English pubs have here. Up until I was about ten, my dad was the manager of the Knights of Columbus Club and Restaurant. In this area there was a banqueting hall, dining room, and then a bar area with tables. The last area, the bar and eating area, was what I was immediately reminded of when I entered my first pub here, the Marlborough Arms. The atmospheres are very similar, as are the styles of service. The sense of familiarity in the pubs here was one I was used to seeing at the Knights of Columbus. There were the regulars and newcomers and a general sense of welcome to anyone who dropped by for a drink. It was a spot where people would gather for major sports events and celebrations. Pubs here were like taking step back into my childhood, but now I was able to be an active participant instead of a mere observer.
Not only did the pubs remind me of a place I regularly observed as a child, but it reminds me of other places back home. There are the pubs we try to have back home, like the Market Cross Pub in Carlisle. Even though I’ve only eaten there a few times, the atmosphere there is very reminiscent of the pubs here. Once again, you have the regulars, conversations flowing freely between tables, and the sense of the pub being a communal area for watching sports and other major events. Now, I cannot say if this is just an American style of mimicking something good created by the British, or if this is just a characteristic shared by the two cultures. What I do know though, is that I have thoroughly enjoyed my experiences in the pubs of London if not only for the cultural experience but also the chance to expand my knowledge of ales and ciders. From this, I do not find English pubs to be intimidating or even that mysterious. I have observed similar drinking and eating places back home and even though I did not know it at the time prepared me to have a better grasp of the English pub.

Tags: Kimberly

A Ride through the Park

September 11th, 2009 · No Comments

This past Monday I had the opportunity to go horseback riding in Hyde Park. And honestly, this experience was a lifesaver to me. Back home I hardly go three days without at least spending some time in a barn or riding my horse. Those hours spent on and around the horses are a source of stress relief. So these past weeks here without opportunities to go riding or spend an hour or two in a barn, have been hard. It’s caused me to find new ways to relieve stress. Museums are new form of stress relief as well as aimless walks through the parks of London. Yet, when Monday came around and I found myself with the chance to go riding, I was ecstatic. It was an amazing feeling being back on horse, even if it was only for an hour. This ride though, was even more special than I expected it to be. It was actually a learning experience about the park and riding in England.
In respect to the ride as a learning experience, it provided a new way to look at the park for me. I had been in Hyde Park numerous times before that doing research for my walking tour. But Hyde Park from the back of horse is completely different and as such it was eye opening. From the back of a horse, Hyde Park becomes completely removed from the city. Even walking by the road while riding, it felt as though I was in the middle of woodland and not London. For me, it felt as though I had the opportunity to experience Hyde Park as it was meant to be experienced by earlier generations. It was a way to return to the past of Hyde Park. This feeling helped me better understand the origins of Hyde Park and it even helped me with understanding my research on the early history of the park. Moreover, this experience was also a chance to experience riding in another country. I have been riding for over ten years and therefore am pretty knowledgeable about riding in the States. Also, I have had opportunities to train with English trainers, but had never ridden outside of the country before. I was not expecting there to be many differences since I had ridden in the English style, which is obviously the style used here. Yet again though, I was surprised by this country. There is a difference in the vocabulary used in respect to both riding style, riding equipment and even with the horse. It was humbling in one way. It showed me that I can always learn, even if it is something that I feel very confident in concerning my knowledge and experience. Even though, it was humbling and different the fact that I could connect with another rider from England through our shared love of riding was an amazing experience. It proved to me that it doesn’t matter what your culture is, if you share a love for something it helps you overcome different vocabularies and viewpoints.
I feel that this is the one experience that will stay with me the longest from London. Firstly due to my great love for horses and riding, but also because it was the first moment that I truly connected with a Londoner over something we both loved. It was a moment that I shared with a fellow rider, without considering our different nationalities. It was something more than exploring the city with fellow Americans and that made it a very unique moment of connection.


Tags: Kimberly · Uncategorized

Dress Rehearsal after a Play

September 11th, 2009 · No Comments

Pitmen Painters proved not only to be an enjoyable play, but another opportunity to enjoy Watch this Space at the National Theatre. From previous experiences at Watch This Space, I had come to expect music, dance and acting from the performances I had seen. Last night though, it was a complete surprise what they had performing in the green area. This weekend’s performance is La Roué de la Mort: La Trilogie du Temps. As the website states, “For Thames Festival weekend, we have one of the most jaw-dropping spectacles we’ve ever seen. On a remarkable structure of a counterweighted cylindrical wheel which pivots around a 10m wide central axis, a trilogy of narratives weave a dramatic episodic spectacle through time.” It is a three part presentation on time and how it can affect humanity. How it’s presented is through amazing acrobatics and gymnastics. When we exited the theatre we found ourselves gaping at this large spinning wheel. We actually described as an overly large, unusually constructed hamster wheel. As to what it would be used for, we had no idea. Then we understood as the performers came up to the wheel and began spinning it and doing crazy gymnastics on and through it. We were all amazed to the point of being incapable of speech. It wasn’t something we would expect from an area sponsored by the National Theatre.
To me, it was another example of how the performing arts here receive more support from the state. And I find myself jealous of the opportunities that it provides for British citizens. They have the ability to find free performances of groups that we would have to pay dearly for back home. This is the one aspect of London and Britain as an entity that I have come to admire and even envy. Even though, I do not participate in the arts anymore, it is still something I love. There is nothing better than seeing a good play, concert, opera, et cetera. But back home, it costs money to enjoy this. Here, there are numerous opportunities for free concerts, plays, and other types of performing arts. Not only are they free, but they are guaranteed to happen. They aren’t scheduled and then canceled due to a lack of interest. There is an interest here for them. That is something that I envy. It also speaks wonderfully of how the British view and support the arts. They don’t limit performances to only music or drama, but include other forms such as the one being featured this weekend or the one for next weekend, which is called “Spin Cycle” and includes the washing of dirty linen and bicycle dances. I can honestly say that Watch This Space and London’s appreciation of the performing arts is the one aspect I will miss the most when we leave for Norwich.


Tags: Kimberly · Uncategorized

So Soane So Soon

September 4th, 2009 · 1 Comment

After stepping off the Holborn tube stop, we followed the signs to the Sir John Museum and almost passed it on the street. It fits in so well with its neighboring houses that we nearly passed it. The only difference between the museum and the neighboring homes were two signs, one by the door and one on the gate. It’s set in a picturesque neighborhood across from Lincoln Inn Fields. The museum is a monument to Sir John, a premier British architect, from Sir John, a premier British architect. Sir John decided that instead of leaving his home and belongings to his children, he would create a museum that would house his eclectic collection of sculptures, paintings, and tchockes. While interesting and brief, the museum was almost confusing in layout and design of exhibitions. We understand that the layout is based on the three houses that he combined to create his home, but the exhibitions seemed to be crammed into whatever corner they might fit. Example, large stone sculptures over two stories tall in a hole in the ground floor to the basement. It was just a bit confusing trying to understand the collections left by Sir John, while at the same time being surprised by how the exhibitions were presented. Many times, we found ourselves considering how the exhibition fit into a particular room instead of how that part of the collection reflected on Sir John. Also the museum wasn’t so much a reflection on Sir John’s work rather than a convenient way to showcase his eccentricities in the form of artifacts from places other than Britain. The collections themselves were not very well presented and there was very little in the way of an explanation. The only guide was a 2 quid pamphlet offered at the main door; unfortunately we are cheap college students, so we went without the pamphlet to find our own path. Normally forging your own path in a museum is enjoyable, but within such a small and poorly laid out museum it was more of a hardship than a joy. We enjoyed the architecture of the house and that a piece of such beautiful architecture and love is so well maintained and that it was so beautifully repaired after sustaining enemy fire in 1941. However, except for its brevity, it just wasn’t the museum for us.

Tags: Kimberly · Mara · Uncategorized

Unexpected but much appreciated

September 1st, 2009 · 1 Comment

It has been awhile since I have actually stepped back and appreciated how much work and effort goes into a theatrical production. My last personal experience with a theatrical production was playing in the pit orchestra in a high school production of “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying” during my sophomore year. The last time I had performed in a play or helped with costumes and set was in fifth grade. Needless to say, I had allowed myself to forget the hard work and dedication required to put on a successful theatrical production. Obviously I have attended numerous plays, musicals and operas since then, but I only viewed it as an audience member paying attention to the final product. I had forgotten to appreciate the intricacies of sets, costumes, rehearsals, props, and production staff. This held true even up until last night when we saw Arcadia. I loved the play and found the script to be beautifully written in order to convey a powerful message concerning time and how it passes. Yet the details of the lighting, set, props and backstage work escaped me.

It was not until this morning’s discussion with Rick Fisher that I began to understand the intricacies of lighting, sets, and other backstage work. I wish we could have talked with him before seeing Arcadia. Looking back, I can understand the importance of lighting beyond the obvious cues it provides. Truly, it made me more appreciative of the lighting design we experienced with Arcadia. It was simple but artistic in that it successfully conveyed not only the time of day but the difference in the time periods. At that time I had decided to appreciate the lighting and other backstage works of the plays we would be seeing in the rest of our time in London. I thought that would be the end of it. Yet, I found that our backstage tour at the National Theatre really drove home that point. Not only did it further my newfound appreciation for the collaborative effort required to produce a theatrical even, but it also revitalized my excitement for the theater. A few years had passed since I had been truly excited to see, experience and appreciate a theatrical production. But, with this new appreciation and insight about the production of a play I find myself with a new found passion for the theater. This is something I did not expect from our time in London. I thought I would find myself discovering passions for the city, its architecture, parks, museums, et cetera; not for theater. It is a wonderful discovery and one that will be far too easy to indulge in while we are here and in Norwich. Hopefully, I can take this with me when we return in June but for now I am more than content to take this new knowledge and explore the theaters and plays of London and Norwich.

Tags: Kimberly · Uncategorized