An Internal Library Monologue

(I spend far more time in the library than I’d anticipated before coming to university, but then again, I’m fairly sure a good 60% of that time is not spent productively. Instead, I’m usually either distracted, procrastinating or just completely losing my train of thought staring out the window. Below is an all too realistic account of where I my brain usually ends up when I’m meant to be getting on top of 500 word source analyses.)

• Right. Time for my 5 minute-ly ‘let’s stare out of the window’ break. Those last two sentences have earned me this much at least; I mean, I used the word ‘poignantly’ and ‘exacerbated’. Maybe if I prop my chin on my hand I’ll look thoughtful and philosophical as opposed to deathly bored.

• *Looks up potentially useful book in the library catalogue* 936.70?? You’re kidding, I’m not climbing two flights of stairs for that. I’ll do without.

• *Looks up other potentially useful book* Express collection? Lord no, I can Google that section of the book – I can’t deal with anymore stressful deadlines in my life right now…

• …Though, that being said, I could do with an AMT vanilla milkshake. Meh, I might as well – the walk will do me good.

• That is genuinely the third rainbow I have seen today – and it’s a double one. Wow. Better add it to the snap-chat story. I don’t want people to miss out on this.

• How can that be the time. Oh my goddd.

• Ok that’s it – lunch is being moved forward to 11:30am. I literally cannot survive until midday.

• I can hear that that guy is listening to Eminem through his headphones from 5 seats away. Maybe if I glare pointedly at the back of his head he’ll get the message and turn it down.

• Time for a ‘lets-fill-up-the-already-half-full-water-bottle’ break.

• Urgh, my back is killing me. You think with the sweeping Forum ceiling and fancy light fittings in DH1 the Uni could have at least invested in some ergonomic chairs. I wonder if anyone would think I’m weird if I did some yoga. That would be a productive use of my time.

• I want to check Facebook but I know that the people behind me can see my screen and will 100% judge me, so BBC news it is.

• Please don’t judge me fellow-library-goers, I am genuinely researching this essay on religious fundamentalism, not planning on joining ISIS.

• … How did I end up on YouTube watching babies eating lemons/vine compilations/cat videos? I literally have no idea how Googling the Temporary Relief Act of 1847 led me here.

• Sure, new neighbour, feel free to sit down in the seat right next to me so that I have to move my books despite the fact there are literally thousands of other seats free.

• *Spies surreptitiously on what the person next to me is doing* *sees equations* *recoils in horror* Am I ever grateful I’m not doing Economics. Yknow, this essay doesn’t look so bad anymore.

The Old Firehouse

I could write odes to The Old Firehouse pub. People probably already have. And I wouldn’t blame them in the slightest.

I first trekked down to the Firehouse in Freshers’ Week (with the Harry Potter society for their Welcome Banquet) and one step into the courtyard with it’s twinkling fairy lights, beer barrel stools, glowing candles and overwhelming smell of freshly cooked pizza, I was sold. When the society President told us – with an air of slight smugness – that the Firehouse was the unofficial inspiration for ex-Exeter student J.K Rowling’s Leaky Cauldron I could instantly see why. ‘This is my new favourite place’, I decided and a term later I’ve yet to be swayed on that.

Firehouse 2The Old Firehouse is an Exeter student staple and is the sort of place where if you go after 7pm, even in midweek, you’ll have a hard time finding a table. Every time I’ve been it’s been teeming with students and locals alike, and the constant buzz is probably part of its charm. It is what I’d consider a Proper English Pub, or, to be more accurate, a Proper Devon Pub. Plenty of beer, ale and West Country cider, with some lovely homemade fruit ciders (think pomegranate and raspberry as opposed to the standard stuff). The food menu is nothing to sniff at either, with your staple fish and chips, burgers and rustic sandwiches, alongside the more creative vegan and vegetarian options – butternut squash and three bean chilli. I’ve yet to go for the full Sunday roast, but it’s on the top of my to-do list for this term.

PizzaWhen it comes to food though, The Firehouse’s real claim to fame is its pizza. Presented in huge 14-inch square trays, at pretty darn good prices considering we’re in the South, Firehouse pizza is a true gem of Exeter. With plenty of toppings to choose from (I recommend the pulled pork), the pizza is also huge enough that one will comfortably fill 3 hungry students. I’ve been told numerous times of the ‘Firehouse Challenge’- to eat a whole pizza to yourself (and down it with a bottle of red wine, but that depends on who you’re getting your information from) and I’ve yet to meet someone who has managed it.

As well as being a constant location for Society socials and it’s own weekly Monday  night pub quiz, the Firehouse is also a showcase of Exeter University’s very own musical scene. From Jazz bands to Acapella performances, the Firehouse is the perfect atmospheric venue for a whole host of student music groups at it’s Sunday Night Extunes evenings. Alternatively, on Friday and Saturday evenings, expect to be audience to a variety of local and visiting bands, playing everything from indie acoustic to world music.

A great place to meet with friends, a great place to take visitors, and just generally an awesome place to be, the Firehouse was my favourite thing about the Exeter pub/eatery scene from the start and has yet to be shifted off the top spot. That being said, honourable mentions must go to:

1. The Imperial – the poshest Wetherspoons I have ever seen.
2. The Boston Tea Party – the only place for an amazing brunch.
3. The RAM Student Union Bar – for the legendary curly fries. And the convenience.

To see for yourself, check out: www.oldfirehouseexeter.co.uk

Camera around Campus

8 IMG_9873Term 1 while I was stuck in the middle of it felt like an age, but looking back now, arriving in Freshers’ Week feels so recent that I can hardly believe it’s Term 2 already. I’ve been reliably informed that second term is always easier than your first, but with the prospect of organising a house for second year (I am absolutely not old enough to be emailing estate agents), taking on another load of work/essays/reading, and revising for those dreaded summer exams, I’m finding that hard to imagine at the moment.

So, instead of doing a review of first term (I’m going to sit on that one for a while), or reporting on the quantity of work I managed over the 4 IMG_0227Christmas holidays (short answer: pretty pitiful), I’ve decided to do something different. Namely, post some pretty pictures.

Aside from eating too much and doing very, very little, Christmas was a great time for me to look through the truly impressive number of photos I took in the first term. While there’s a fair few impressive selfies of new-found ‘friends’ who enjoy using up my phone memory, there’s also a whole lot of generally around campus.

Because have I mentioned what a beautiful campus Exeter has? The greenery and sweeping Forum and sheer quantity of trees was in part 3 IMG_0209what sold the university to a country bumpkin like me in the first place, and I’m still not quite over it. My favourite unofficial fact about Exeter is that it allegedly has the highest tree-to-student ratio of any uni campus in the country, and regardless of it’s origins I would be impressed if that fact was proven wrong.

Trees literally are everywhere. Even inside the Forum itself (though as they’re fake I’m not sure they fully count). A stroll to pick up a prescription from the Medical Centre involves taking a meandering woodland path past Reed Hall. Detour on your way to Lafrowda and you’ll find yourself wandering up a path between wooded 6 IMG_0778ponds and a corn-field. My personal favourite is a loop walk up past the gym that brings you literally out next to a Nature Reserve, popular with local dog-walkers. My best friend visiting from Manchester University on another of my de-stress stroll routes said something along the lines of “it’s like you’re living in National Trust park” and I can’t help but agree.

Don’t get me wrong, this blog is not some part of an advertising scheme on behalf of the university. I volunteered to splurge my thoughts on a university linked site, with no promise of payment (oh, if only.) There are plenty of issues about the university that I’m sure I’ll get around 5 IMG_0377to, and every day is certainly not a walk in the park (hah), but on this topic I am absolute. When it comes to natural beauty, you can keep your dreaming spires and city lights – Exeter wins all the awards in my book.