Tag Archive | Bath

Orange is the New Red

We all know from our years of painting color wheels in elementary school art classes that when you mix red and yellow, you make orange. But however logically I knew that, it didn’t make the trick that light was playing with my eyes on Saturday any easier to reconcile. You just don’t expect the yellow lights of a gym to be so drastic that they cause you to see everything that should be red as orange, or pink ballroom dresses suddenly become an odd shade of salmon/coral. It really messed with my brain all day.

Of course, having given no background information as to what I was doing in a gym on Saturday, I need to go back to the beginning I suppose. Saturday was the infamous SUDC, or Southern Universities’ Dancesport Championships, basically the regionals to IVDA’s nationals. We’ve been pretty much training for these two competitions the entire time we have been dancing. Yes we had earlier competitions, but no matter what we did at them the ficus was always “At SUDC and IVDA”. These are the big ones, and yeah it was big.

The competition was held in Bath, thankfully only an hour and a half away so we had the luxurious pickup time of 6:45 am. Unfortunately I didn’t sleep a wink that night so I didn’t get the benefit of the later time. So I was absolutely exhausted the entire competition day, and Dan’s foot was still injured, making our dancing even more pride-inducing. Because beside to what my over exaggerating mind felt were all the odds against us, we danced more consistently and better than we ever have. Our ballroom coach agreed too! Our waltz and quickstep were smooth and we were able to solidly pull off the hardest moves in our routines while maneuvering around a crowd of 32 Beginner couples (the competition was extremely poorly organized, for some reason combining the two middle heats of 16 couples into one idiotically large one of 32). And it was so much fun dancing the whole time. I mean we always have fun, but this one just felt different. I’m not sure why. But the way dancing felt completely negating that we only semifinaled in the two ballroom dances. The scores ended up not being important anymore.

Like I said, the competition was poorly organized, so we ended up not starting Latin until two hours later than we were supposed to. Latin always seems to go by faster than Ballroom for some reason, but oh my goodness some of the dances were LONG. We had a 2:30 Jive round, even though regulation is 1:30. I’m pretty sure every Beginner collapsed in exhaustion after that one. We did really well in the end, being the only Oxford beginner couple to semifinal in Jive (that one I was sad about, first time we haven’t finaled in Jive) and then placing 3rd in Cha Cha! We’ve been working so hard in Cha that placing the highest we ever have was such a validation of all our hard work. And since none of the Beginners were competing in the team match at this comp, it was also our last dance of the night so our feet had a bit of a rest. Well, not entirely true. Dan and I did dance in the last waltz of the night, but that was a hilarious failure–you try dancing waltz in Uggs and sweatpants!

It was our most consistent, and we both feel best, showing at a competition yet, the perfect segue into IVDA in a few weekends.

Of course, in typical post-competition fashion, I pretty much slept all day yesterday. I think I’m fighting off some illness because I can’t seem to talk or stay awake for longer than a few hours at a time. I try really hard but then I just pass out in a dead sleep. So I wasn’t able to help Jordan, Janosz, and Kelsi with the brunch and dinner traditional cooking, other than doing some chopping prep work I was relegated to entertainment and sitting still duty. But I will say that the food was delicious and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz……………………………………..

Tripping over Cobblestones to Another Successful Trip

And for the moment you have all been waiting for…the reveal of yesterday’s trip location…suspenseful isn’t it? Okay, okay, I’ll tell you…or will I??  Yeah, I’ll be nice. We went to BATH!

And no, Dad, I can already hear the joke you are about to crack. We did not all take a bath, we went to a town called Bath, where we did not take baths either. I know you way to well and can already hear your signature giggle that you would prefer me call a snicker and can see that sneaky smile popping up. So I beat you to it ❤

Bath is a bit further away than our other excursions have been, so we had to be at the Oxford train station for a 7:45 am bus that took us to Didcot Rail Station. There we had a pot-luck picnic because, let’s be honest, we all wanted that extra 30 minutes of sleep instead of having to make breakfast before leaving. So Kelsi brought bread and smoked salmon, Jordan brought cream cheese and avocado and raspberries, and I brought cottage cheese and jam and we had an amazing breakfast sitting on the floor of the train station waiting for our next bus to Swindon. After a final train, and three hours later, we arrived in the city of Bath Spa!

At first, all we could think about was how much Bath looked like Italy, or at least for me what I would picture Italy as looking like since I haven’t been yet. It makes perfect sense when you remember that Bath was originally a town revolving around a public bath at the edge of the Roman Empire. The Romans tried to make Bath into the Rome of England (not yet called England) so they replicated much of the architectural style and layout of the city. Most of the current buildings are in the Georgian style, but the layout of the city and some of the architecture still resembles the city’s origins.

Enough of the history and architecture lesson so I’m not boring you. Because then you won’t want to keep reading and that’s no fun!

We headed over all the way across the city to the Royal Crescent, a half circle of connected townhouses where really rich people used to live. I don’t know if they still do, but it’s an architectural feat to have built so many connected houses in a circle (oops, I promised I wasn’t going to talk architecture anymore, guess I lied). There isn’t much to do there except walk across it and move on unless you want to spend 6 pound to see four rooms of a Georgian house which we didn’t want to spend so we took a super long route, through the ghetto of Bath, to the Fashion Museum. Though on the way there we did stop into the Jane Austen Centre to make a reservation for tea that we later cancelled.

The Fashion Museum had some interesting displays–my favorite was the successive cases that showed the development of fashion through the 1800s–and some displays where we were literally like they got that totally wrong! such as the “fashion” from the 90s and the Aughts and now 2011. I’m sorry but I haven’t seen anybody dressed like that, and I just went shopping the day before! We attempted to try on some corsets, but oddly enough, we were all too small for them! And they didn’t have any children’s sizes so we had to settle for imagining what it would have been like for a corset to actually fit us.

Then we did our tradition walk around the entire town before settling on somewhere to eat lunch. It always pays off though because we get to see a lot of the area and we have really good taste in where to eat. Kelsi found this shop that carried a bunch of different balsamic vinegars and liquors, so I bought some apple balsamic vinegar and convinced her to buy pomegranate. She won’t be disappointed.

After lunch we went to the Roman Bath ruins, which is the whole point of going to the city in the first place. I can’t really describe it well because it’s one of those awe inspiring places that you have to see to understand, but it really was incredible. And it made us all want to go to a spa.

Next we walked through Bath Abbey, which sits on the same spot as the original church where the first King of England, King Edgar, was crowned in 973 AD. It was smaller than the big cathedrals obviously, but just as elegant and stunning. As it was daylight, it was light and airy inside and the glass windows shone with so many colors. I lit a candle as I always feel compelled to do in a church, and then we headed off to tea.

The Quest for the Best Cream Tea Continues….

At Sally Lunn House, open for over 350 years and a favorite spot of notable figures such as Charles Dickens. It also stands on the spot of a formerly dissolved monastery from the era of Henry VIII (yay for Tudor connections!!!).

The cream tea was traditional: scone (they gave us two each, something that hasn’t happened since Blenheim Palace), Cornish clotted cream, strawberry jam, and Earl Grey tea. The scones were the best we have had yet, light and airy and not overly sweet, plain with no raisins. The clotted cream tasted like the clotted cream we all keep hoping for, though it still had the thicker butter consistency. The strawberry jam was a bit too sweet for us, but at least the scones balanced that out. Kelsi and I over brewed our tea 😦

Overall verdict: smiley faces for the scones, the cream, and the ambiance (which was like a sitting room turned into a restaurant in a small former home); blank faces for the jam and service; sad faces for the mistake of over brewing our tea.

We bought cinnamon butter from the store downstairs instead of lemon curd this time haha

We decided to call it a day at that and came home, luckily catching every connection in perfect timing and making it back to Oxford within 2 hours.

Next week will have to be our last outing for the term as I have ballroom competitions at Nottingham and Warwick the final two weekends.