Monday, 1 February 2016

Take Time

Living in the Manor these past few weeks has been almost as wonderful as all the British chocolate I have thus far consumed. Traipsing through the Gold Room, pretending to be a member of the aristocracy whilst gliding down the cedar staircase, learning how to play a billiards game called “snooker”, and walking through secret doors into rooms just as grand as the one you just left are all activities I have experienced thus far. These activities have given us students no shortage of memories or potential instagram posts. From formal ceremonies set to bagpipe music to buy one get one free Pizza King at 11:30 pm on a Tuesday, every minute here is as much a part of the Harlaxton experience as the next. While it’s been lovely to be able to practically live out my dream of joining the cast of Downton Abbey, there are certain challenges that come with living in this humble abode as well. For starters, bacon here is basically ham. So what do the British call what we think of as good old-fashioned bacon? They call it nothing. Because it doesn’t exist. Now before everyone starts crying, I’m going to move on. 

The Cedar Staircase in Harlaxton Manor

One of the biggest challenges that I have faced and that I’ve heard others mention as well has been the lack of alone time that’s available. We students can sometimes go days where alone time only comes in the form of sleep and other minute daily activities. As a self proclaimed extroverted introvert, I have to have a little while to myself each day to recharge. In addition to leisurely reading for this alone time, I’ve recently taken to running because 1) I’m on a study abroad program in England and there’s much to be explored and 2) all that British chocolate I eat has to go somewhere. I do admit, I’ve never been much of a runner. I’ve always preferred instead to watch The Office on my phone whilst cycling furiously in the comfort of the fitness center at my home university. 

A cat I found on a different Grantham excursion
that I just think is pretty cute and is exemplary of the
host of interesting things to be found in town.


However, I found myself pulling on my
running shoes one crisp afternoon and jogging down the mile long drive that leads from Harlaxton Manor to the front gates. Passing through the guardhouse and over the small river that interrupts the drive, I want to encourage all to take a look back at the manor in the distance. It truly is breathtaking (or maybe that’s just the jogging). Now, you may want to reach the front gates, turn around, run back up the drive, and call it a day with a 2 mile run. Please, don’t do that. Venture down into the village that’s right next to this grand estate and keep on joggin’. What you’ll see is a place so English looking and adorable that it could star in a Jane Austen novel. There’s brick walls lined with ivy, locals out walking their dogs, picturesque schools and children returning home from them (if you’re out at the right time), and a rich history that is waiting to be discovered by YOU. Since it seems to get dark here by about 1pm, I encourage all to make sure that you are out with plenty of light to spare and that you always know which direction the manor is so as to stay safe (and remember to always tell someone that you’re going out on a run or to take a buddy with you!). So, to get you all started I’m going to issue a little to-do list: 1) Lace up those tennis shoes 2) Remember your room keys! 3) Count your blessings that Spotify Premium exists 4) Start your adventure, you can thank me later.

Written by: Sarah Spalding

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