Sunday, 17 August 2008

It was the best of Bangor, it was the worst of Bangor

Whoa-ho, man, what a good night last night. I did not intend to go out at all because 1). Bangor is boring in the summer; 2). I'm trying to save money, and 3). it's the Contact the Elderly coffee group today (albeit not till 2.30 pm). But events conspired for a fun, cheap night with the other (non-octogenarian) people who will be attending the coffee group today, so who was I to say no?

I never realized just how cliquey our Masters students were this year. Somehow I managed to get myself smack dab into the middle of the biggest one, so of course I wouldn't have noticed. But last night Jo brought along some Irish girls off the course that I barely knew, and they told me that they always felt like the outgroup. Apparently one person in particular deliberately excluded them from things at the beginning of the year and then they felt like they couldn't approach anyone else. oooooops. Had I known this they would have been welcome at my place anytime (as they're fun and hilarious). However, will have to make up for lost time in this, the last month.

Anyway, they came over and told of a party at the Anglican chaplaincy (which is effectively a giant student residence, mostly for foreign or short-term students). We wandered along around midnight, which seemed perfectly reasonable to us. Called the girl who invited us, and she was in bed. oops. So I was designated to go find out if the party was worthwhile, or, in fact, happening at all. I was lurking around the giant oak door (the building is a huge stone couple-hundred-years-old one) and a guy came out, so I tried to push past him in my best party-crashing manner. Unfortunately security is drilled into them there, but once I produced the name of the girl who invited us he took me through a maze of passages to the "party". Which turned out to be 10 people sitting around and two people dancing salsa. I saw an open door to the garden and made a run for it.

Bangor is ridiculous in the summer and no bouncer will let you in ANYWHERE past 12.30 a.m. Anywhere except the Skerries, that is. The Skerries is a pub in Lower Bangor that is sort of of a locals pub (pubs here are divided into student pubs and locals pubs) except that they don't mind students. Rare, actually. Anyway, the Skerries stays open till the owner feels like shutting it. I've turned up at 11 and found it closed, and other times they've let me in at 1.30 a.m. This time they let us in no problem, and there turned out to be a local Welsh Beatles cover band (!) who were really, really good. After a while they started to pack up and the Irish girls were banging on the table for more, so they began to sing gorgeous a cappella versions of various '50s and Oasis songs (they were eclectic!) The harmonizing was incredible, and of course we were all singing along in full voice. By this point we were locked-in (but they were still serving!) and, as the Irish girls are really pretty, one of the band guys got out his guitar again and we all sat around a table in the back of the pub and jammed for another hour. Then we hung around talking to the owner and his friends (and I briefly learned the apparently common Welsh phrase for "a$%hole English people" but then immediately forgot it) until they finally kicked us out at 2.30 a.m. or so. It was the best night I've had in a while. The student venues all feel the same after a bit, but I don't think I've ever had a bad night at the Skerries. And last night sort of encapsulated the very best things about Bangor.

The worst thing about Bangor is that it won't stop raining. WON'T STOP. Argh. Luckily (?) I've been stuck in the lab all week anyway. I'm working as a research assistant for a project that is taking up a lot of time (29 hours last week), plus, erm, trying to finish up a thesis at some point. I was floundering with my data analysis (while my supervisor was in France for three weeks and out of email contact) and then had a bad moment when she returned and told me everything I had done up until that point was wrong. I was too depressed to even look at the thing for a week, as I had just re-written my introduction based on my preliminary results - so if they were wrong, those three weeks of work would have been for naught. Then she called me back in the next week, said she had been mistaken and the data were fine, and went through everything in detail with me so I now know exactly what to do. Which is brilliant news, of course, but I am still catching my breath from the rollercoaster!

So have been in the lab on weekdays, mostly, and doing fun stuff on weekends... but THAT is fodder for another post.

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